Quote of the night from NOI minister Mouchettee Muhammad: “It took a Miracle (meaning murdered 6 month old Miracle Murray) to bring Negro’s together!” …….and we were together. NAACP, Nation of Islam, New Garvey Movement, MOMC, Thou Shalt not Kill, New ERA Detroit, Black Family Developnent, Flip the Script, Crime Stoppers, It Takes a Village Ya’ll, LIP, CAC, National Action Network, DPD, the Mayor’s office, Detroit 300, warriors on Wheel, Detrout Parent Network, College Park Neighborhood Association, Cease-Fire Detroit, The Hip-Hop Caucus, Trick-Trick…..I mean err body! Politician, Poet Preacher, Police, Activist, Judges…..Err Body! Mama Clementine Barfield would have been sooo proud….”
“The Interrupters,” the acclaimed documentary about the Chicago-based anti-violence group CeaseFire, caught Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attention.
Worried about the city’s rising tide of bloodshed, Emanuel was impressed with CeaseFire’s strategy of sending ex-felons into the streets to mediate gang conflicts and stop shootings.
The mayor decided to put his police superintendent, Garry McCarthy, and CeaseFire founder Gary Slutkin in the same room a few months ago to discuss a possible partnership, according to City Hall sources.
The negotiations were anything but smooth.
Behind the scenes, McCarthy complained about having to deal with an organization full of ex-felons that refuses to share information with the police department about brewing conflicts. And CeaseFire initially balked at demands the police department placed on the group before they could become partners.
But on Tuesday, police officials and CeaseFire announced they had forged a deal. CeaseFire will receive $1 million in city money to put 20 workers each in the Grand-Crossing District on the South Side and the Ogden District on the West Side, both of which have seen recent spikes in gang-related killings. The pilot program will begin July 13.
In return, CeaseFire agreed to attend weekly evaluations that police commanders are already subjected to under the department’s CompStat system masterminded last year by McCarthy.
On Tuesday, First Deputy Police Supt. Alfonza Wyzinger said any rifts between the police and CeaseFire are history.
“With the amount of bodies from the homicides and shootings that are continuing to add up and make the city seem as though it is unsafe, if there were differences in the past — and I’m not saying there were — for the sake of the common good, those things have to go out the window,” Wyzinger said.
CeaseFire has received state and county funding over the past dozen years, but no money directly from the city until now. The funding for the partnership is coming from a plan to have the state siphon outstanding city debts from the state income tax refunds of deadbeats.
Originally, CeaseFire was supposed to get $1.5 million but that was under earlier plans that were to include three police districts.
McCarthy first revealed the police department was considering an alliance with CeaseFire following the bloody Memorial Day weekend. He said it was one of several crime-fighting strategies.
Over that weekend, 10 people were shot to death and the number of homicides in the city reached 200 for the year — a nearly 50 percent increase over the same period of 2011. Through June 17, murders were up 38 percent compared to the same period last year.
CeaseFire officials said they believe their pilot program will drive down the murder rate.
They point to statistics in several police districts where homicides fell while CeaseFire workers — many of them convicted felons — mediated conflicts to prevent shootings there.
For example, there was a 44 percent drop in homicides in the three police beats where CeaseFire workers were operating in the Harrison District on the West Side, according to the group.
“This is the new method for reducing violence,” said Slutkin, adding that CeaseFire programs have been successful in 15 cities and other countries.
But some police officials are skeptical of CeaseFire’s violence-reduction claims.
That is why they demanded the group undergo weekly police evaluations, a requirement included in a memorandum of understanding between the city Department of Public Health and CeaseFire.
The agreement does not require CeaseFire to notify the police of conflicts that might lead to violence. Police had asked for the requirement, sources said.
“We are not going to be informants or snitches for nobody,” CeaseFire Illinois director Tio Hardiman said Tuesday.
McCarthy has publicly and privately expressed his discomfort at working with CeaseFire.
At a June 12 forum, McCarthy said he was not a “big fan” of CeaseFire’s stance that it will not tip off the police about conflicts.
“When an event occurs and people are trying to deal with gang members and somebody comes in and tries to interrupt that particular dynamic, and they tell people, ‘Well, don’t talk to the police. We understand you can’t trust the police, but look at us, you can trust us’ — they’re undercutting that legitimacy that we’re trying to create in the community,” McCarthy said.
He repeated his concerns at a violence reduction meeting with federal and local officials last week, sources said.
Privately, other Chicago police officials said they also worry that CeaseFire staffers have not given up crime. The Chicago Sun-Times reported last month that six of them have been charged with crimes over the past five years while on the CeaseFire payroll.
Hardiman has responded that he fires staffers when he learns they engaged in criminal activity. He described the six former CeaseFire workers mentioned in the story as “bad apples,” saying every organization including the police department has them.
These Sisters and Brothers have been doing some wonderful work in Boston. We solicited their help with helping us to establish our Street Worker and Clergy Night Walk Initiatives. Attached is a link about the organization and little background:
The Boston TenPoint Coalition (BTPC) is an ecumenical group of Christian clergy and lay leaders working to mobilize the community around issues affecting Black and Latino youth.
The Boston TenPoint Coalition’s programs are unique because they:
- Focus on some of our communities “troubled youth,” youth that other agencies most frequently are unable to serve. We work with high-risk youth as their shattered lives and dreams are reflected in their violent and oftentimes callous and/or self-destructive behaviors.
- Operate in collaboration with other community-based, governmental, and private sector institutions that are also committed to the revitalization of the families and communities in which our youth are raised. By working with other institutions, we reduce duplication of effort.
The Boston TenPoint Coalition is faith-based because faith breeds a sense of hope and provides the nurturing yet structured principles and environment that many youth lack. We are a coalition that collectively aspires to make the “Boston Miracle” continue to work.
Locking arms in a west side neighborhood, the Detroit 300 praised, then patrolled. They marched to the alley in the area off Pacific near Tireman where a 13-year-old girl was recently raped on her way to school between 7:00 and 8:00 in the morning. Police say the girl was pulled into the bushes.
Detroit 300 went door-to-door showing the police composite picture of the suspect.
During their patrol, the 300 asked Fox 2 to listen in on some information they believe is new. A woman told the group of another rape to a teenager. The woman supplying the information asked us not to disclose her identity.
“Another 13-year-old, she was around 13, 14, she was raped Sunday morning on the Pacific bridge, early in the morning. He jumped from the side of the bridge with a pistol and pulled
her back down and raped her and then let her go.”
“We just learn that there may have been a rape just on Sunday of another teenage girl that may not have been reported,” said Angelo Henderson with the Detroit 300. “So we learn this kind of information when we’re out talking to people. They share. And so that’s what we’re trying to do, to be the bridge when it comes to information.”
We asked the Detroit 300 what would they do if they had somebody who pointed out the rapist? They said they would call their contact with Detroit Police.
Meanwhile, if you have any information, you are asked to call Detroit Police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.
DETROIT (WXYZ) – The crime and violence in Detroit, the carjackings, shootings and break-ins, have sparked a new initiative called “Night Walks” and they will be happening week after week.
Bishops, pastors, parishioners and others will be walking through different neighborhoods to let people know someone cares and something is being done.
Friday night was the first walk and 7 Action News went along. There were instructions and prayers, then walking and singing. It’s all intended to send a very serious message.
They are tired of the crime and they want a better city for all the people who live here. They walked several blocks and even stopped cars to spread the word.
They are calling themselves soldiers and say they won’t stop the walks until the crime rate goes down and even then they may continue.
After their first training and “Night Walk,” on Friday on at Solomon’s Temple on Detroit’s east side , the Detroit Clergy Team organizing Detroit Night Walks are calling for anyone of good will to join them in prayer and set a new tone in the City. On Saturday May 26 at 2pm, thousands are expected to gather at five churches for a “313 Prayer Rally” to end the violence.
Here are the participating churches: Second Ebenezer Church, 14601 Dequindre, Lighthouse Community Church, 15820 Wyoming, Third New Hope , 5439 West Warren, Citadel of Faith Covenant Church, 1419 W. Warren Ave. and Grace In Action, 7725 West Vernor, Fellowship Chapel, 7707 West Outer Drive
We will catch this lame! The streets are screaming information on this one!
The Detroit 300, a community activist group, announced Thursday that it will begin weekly patrols in the city’s most violent areas in response to the recent murder of a 9-month-old boy.
“We’re going to send a message to these guys that it’s no longer allowed to victimize children, to victimize women,” said Che Daniels, secretary for Detroit 300. “We have individuals that are running around and choose to shoot recklessly into a home … but don’t feel enough remorse and sorrow to turn themselves in.
“We’re going to come looking for you.”
Police don’t have any suspects in the death of Delric Miller IV, who was shot around 4:20 a.m. Monday when his west-side house was sprayed with about 40 bullets.
Detroit police are working with the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department on the case.
Detroit Police Sgt. Eren Stephens said Wednesday that any help from citizens is appreciated.
Angelo Henderson, vice president and co-founder of Detroit 300 and local radio talk show host, said the plan is to knock on doors and look for clues that can lead to an arrest in the case.
The initiative is called “One Hour of Power.”
“I don’t believe heavy gang bangers believe a 9-month-old should be killed,” Henderson said.
“We’re going to try to appeal to their hearts.”
Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown said he applauds the efforts because there needs to be a culture shift in the city to put an end to the violence.
“It’s going to take the community to be outraged, to get involved and to make sure that everyone understands that this is not normal … and it won’t be tolerated,” said Brown, a former police deputy chief.
This a wonderful brother who has exhibited a model of genuine transformation and redemption. He has dedicated his life to the liberation and education of Afrikan people, especially our children. It’s a privilege to be able to soldier and labor with our good brother as he helps to rebuild and restore our community. Check this article out!
Shaka Senghor was on a bad road traveling fast when the knock came at his door.
At 18, he was selling drugs for a living and had been shot about a year earlier on a corner in Detroit’s Brightmoor neighborhood, so Senghor was carrying a gun when a friend came by with two strangers.
“I refused to sell them drugs,” Senghor recalled. “I got into an argument and told them to get off the block. We made threats back and forth … I shot several times and tragically caused his death.”
He tragically caused a death. That’s how Senghor describes it now. But in 1991, he killed a guy. Was charged with second-degree murder. Got sentenced to 17-40 years. A month after his 19th birthday. His girlfriend was three months pregnant.
Senghor is the kind of guy that used to be written off. But everybody gets second chances. His came eight years later in a letter from his son.
“He just really was talking to me about why I was incarcerated,” Senghor said. “It was a moment of epiphany. I realized that, although I was incarcerated, I had a responsibility to set an example for him. I made up my mind that if I was released, I would have some type of positive impact on his life and the lives of young people in the city of Detroit.”
Senghor found a way with his Live in Peace Digital and Literary Arts Project, which he founded in 2010 after his release from prison.
“They come from a place where violence has been normalized,” Senghor, now 39, said of his young charges. “So I said if we write about it and talk about it, we can come up with how to deal with conflict when it happens.”
Senghor wants his students to “take control of their own destinies through literature.”
Live in Peace was among 10 programs that recently won Black Male Experience Leadership Awards from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in partnership with the Open Society Foundations’ Campaign for Black Male Achievement. The awards honor black men who act to improve their communities.
Senghor and his fiancée, Ebony Roberts, began the program at Tri County Educational Center in Southfield, an alternative school that is part of the Berkley district. Its student body includes Detroit teens.
“I’m thrilled about the program,” said Tri County’s dean, Mindy Nathan. “Shaka has a way of connecting with kids that is a hundred percent authentic, and it’s almost instantaneous what he can do for them. He barely has to tell his story. He just uses their language, and it’s incredible how the kids open up.”
Nathan said one of the biggest obstacles to graduation for some kids is having parents, guardians or loved ones in prison — “a source of shame and confusion,” for them, she said. But Senghor’s program helps them deal with the separation and grief.
“My goal has been to find ways to humanize these losses,” Senghor said, “because they’re not even statistics because people don’t even talk about them. You go to the funeral. You wear the shirt. But what did that life mean and what kind of potential was lost?”
Senghor plans to use his $25,000 award to do the program a second time at Tri-County and to start one at Cody High School in Detroit. He wanted to kick the program into high gear after a family tragedy last summer.
“My nephew got shot and his childhood friend murdered,” Senghor said. “We were at the hospital with him and all these young people had “Rest in Peace” T-shirts on for different guys who had gotten killed. I wanted to counter the culture of ‘Rest in Peace’ with something positive so maybe we could empower them to understand that peace doesn’t mean weakness. … I changed the name to ‘Live in Peace.’ ”
Senghor still does speaking engagements and encourages kids to write about and videotape their feelings.
He also plans to publish something of his own: the journals he kept and the letters he and his son wrote to each other while Senghor was in prison.
His son, the 8-year-old who helped his father choose a different path, is 20 and was starting down the same path his father took. But he now is interested in becoming a carpenter.
“He’s definitely moving in the right direction,” Senghor said.
For information about the program, go to www.lipeace.com.