A number of community activists, celebrities, clergy, and civic leaders will be participating in a 10,000-Man March for Peace to combat gun and gang violence in the Southland.
The participants include Minister Tony Muhammad and the Nation of Islam; musician Stevie Wonder; actor Lou Gossett; Tony Wafford, west coast director of the National Action Network; the Cease Fire Committee; Project Cry No More; Pastor Logan of Bethel AME Church; Bishop Edward Turner of the Power of Love Church; Bishop Kenneth Ulmer of Faithful Central Bible Church; and a host of other clergy, civic, and community leaders who will be joining forces to rid their communities of violence.
Other personalities who have signed up to support the March for Peace are rappers The Game and Snoop Dog. Comedian and radio personality Steve Harvey will also be participating.
Muhammad said the 10,000-Man March for Peace, which will officially be launched on October 16, the anniversary of the Million Man March, is modeled on the Million Man Movement in Philadelphia, where over 6,o00 men joined forces to rid their communities of violence and patrol their inner-city communities on a daily basis.
“All we’re doing is fulfilling the promise of the Million Man March,” Muhammad maintained.
“We want to get men, no matter what their color or occupation, to stand up and help us reclaim our communities,” said Muhammad. “We are calling on businessmen, blue-collar workers, brothers in corporate America, firemen, bus drivers, and even former gang members to sign up to participate,” he said. “We will be recruiting 10,000 men in 10 cities to stand up to help their communities.”
Muhammad said that one of the purposes of the march will be to urge gang members to put down their weapons. “This is a call to end all gang violence, whether it’s gang banging, fist fighting, or killing. We want to stop gang violence of all sorts. This is a call for all of us who are dissatisfied with the violence plaguing our streets.”
Muhammad said that the March will target at least 10 cities in the Southland that have experienced the worst violence including Inglewood, Compton, Long Beach, Pasadena, Venice, Watts, Hawthorne, Gardena, Carson, and cities in the Inland Empire.
With gun violence claiming innocent lives on a daily basis, Muhammad declared that it was time for the community to “step up” and to stop waiting for a “savior” to arrive and stop the violence. “We need to stop putting pressure on the government to solve the problem. As a community, we need to get involved and stop the problem ourselves,” he said.
Muhammad said that the March will target Southland schools that have recently been plagued with violence.
“One of the things we want to do is organize a safe zone around some of the worst schools in each city where violence is being reported,” said Muhammad. “We will have men patrolling the nearby streets before and after school,” said the Nation of Islam spokesman, who said that organizers are urging men to volunteer to patrol the schools for an hour-and-a-half in the morning and an hour-and-a-half in the afternoon.
“We also want to have a clearing house called the Dream Center to help brothers find work,” said Muhammad. “Ex-gang members are looking for help, too. We hope that they will participate so that we can show them there is another way to live rather than getting involved in gang violence and drug use. We plan to petition corporate America to hire our brothers and give them jobs.”
Muhammad said that plans are also underway to set up a school on Saturdays to assist at-risk youth. “There may be some men who want to mentor young people and maybe help them with homework. We also want to introduce the youth to successful black and brown men,” said Muhammad.
Muhammad said although the March is still in the planning stages, it has already generated widespread interest.
“We will be promoting the March with radio spots on Power 106. Big Boi is one of our supporters, and Stevie Wonder has assured us that his radio station, KJLH, will be publicizing this movement continually until we reach our goal. There also will be television spots promoting the March.”
Muhammad said that street teams will be organized to promote the March for Peace and there will also be banners promoting the March in all of the cities targeted.
“We’re also going to ask men to donate $1 to $100 a month to help us with the overhead and to help us organize the men. We have secured an office where men can come and report and get trained,” said Muhammad, who said that an office will be located at 5350 Crenshaw Blvd. in Los Angeles.
Muhammad said that a press conference will be held in two weeks in Leimert Park to officially announce the launch of the 10,000-Man March for Peace. “We are inviting Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, LAPD Chief William Bratton, and the mayors of all of the participating cities to announce their involvement,” said Muhammad.
“On Oct. 16, the anniversary of the Million Man March, we hope to call all of the participants of the 10,000-Man March for Peace to the Los Angeles Coliseum,” said Muhammad.
To find out more about the 10,000-Man March for Peace, call (310) 671-1585.