LOVE AND RESPECT INSPIRES DETROIT NATIVE TO LAUNCH CONFLICT RESOLUTION CENTER
The Detroit Peacemakers celebrated the launch of its conflict resolution center and “Stop the Beef Hotline” with a community meeting and peace march at Don Bosco Hall, located at 7375 Woodward Avenue in Detroit. Thirty individuals graduated from a six-week intensive course in conflict resolution and mediation, CPR, and self-defense. The individuals received certificates cementing their dedication to working toward a more peaceful Detroit. Following the meeting, organizers and attendees walked around Don Bosco Hall, handing out crisis cards and introducing the hotline to those in the neighborhood.
“This program is welcomed by the community because the police can’t be everywhere. If we can mediate an issue without the issue resulting in violence, and the groups involved agreeing to mediate and resolve the conflict without, then we are an additional help to the community,” said Victor Muhammad, a conflict resolution specialist who spoke to those in attendance.
Mahalieka Muhammad, a Detroit native said that the Black community is fighting a war on two fronts.
“We have to address issues like police brutality and unjust incarceration of males and females. We also have to deal with the harsh reality of us killing us,” said Muhammad, who was inspired by the instruction of Minister Louis Farrakhan to establish a conflict resolution center in the city.
Last year, Farrakhan went on a three-city tour in preparation for the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington, D.C.
Minister Farrakhan’s message during the tour encouraged his followers to not only deal with the challenges African Americans face from society, but also the problems within the Black community. He charged those attending the talks to establish conflict resolution centers across the country. Mahalieka Muhammad and Victor Muhammad took this instruction and ran with it.
The new conflict resolution center will serve several purposes, but its primary focus is to train individuals to mediate problems in the community and to teach everyday people how to communicate through their issues rather than resorting to violence.
Mahalieka Muhammad is the director of “Your Community Events, LLC,” and “From Girl II Goddess,” two organizations that are an extension of her passion for strengthening communities and families throughout Detroit. Muhammad’s experience growing up in Detroit and understanding the nature of the people and crime around her has driven her passion for the city.
“I’ve always had a great love and respect for Detroit,” she said.
The launch of the conflict resolution center is timely considering recent violence in the city. Last week, three individuals were charged in the death of 13-year-old Deontae Mitchell, who was killed after picking up $70 that a man dropped in a parking lot. In a press conference with Mayor Mike Duggan earlier in the month, Detroit Police Chief James Craig mentioned the ongoing need for better methods of settling conflict in the community.
As a part of Minister Farrakhan’s “10,000 Fearless Men of Detroit” initiative, her efforts are free of police intervention.
“In Detroit, our first initiative in the conflict resolution center is the conflict resolution component because of the Deontae Mitchells, the Ashley Holloways, the Jordans that are killed senselessly all because of something, usually an argument, that leads to violence,” said Muhammad.
While the Detroit Police Department reports that crime in the city has gone down, violent crime rates still remain high with 295 reported homicides and over a thousand non-fatal shootings last year.
Muhammad added: “Just imagine how differently those situations could have gone if they had the hotline to call.”
Detroit residents can reach the free and confidential “Stop the Beef Hotline” at 313-769-8232.
Sidnee King is a 2016 NNPA “Discover The Unexpected” (DTU) journalism fellow at the Michigan Chronicle. The DTU journalism fellowship program is sponsored by Chevrolet. Check out more stories by the fellows by following the hashtag #DiscoverTheUnexpected on Twitter and Instagram. Learn more about the program at nnpa.org/dtu.
Fellow, Michigan ChronicleSidnee King is a junior broadcast journalism major, from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Sidnee has written for several publications, including the “Michigan Chronicle,” “BLAC Detroit,” and she has worked at WHBC 96.3, the student-run radio station at Howard University. Sidnee strives to inform and educate the global community about the importance of diversity and social issues that stem from a lack of understanding. As a journalist, Sidnee hopes to use the art of storytelling—via print, audio and visual platforms — to open her audience up to understanding the complexities and intricacies of groups that, traditionally, haven’t had a voice in mainstream media.