Local organization seeks to help end violence in the city

Submitted photo Members of the 10KFearless clean up trash in the community.

Local organization seeks to help end violence in the city
June 23
14:15 2021

For the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the nation of Islam (NOI), called for an action agenda which included 10,000 men to go into the community to stand between the guns, the gangs and the violence by setting up conflict resolution centers to mediate issues before they resulted in some sort of negative action.

Effrainguan Muhammad, representative of Farrakhan for the Winston-Salem Local Organizing Committee, has led this action named 10KFearless and they have been putting in the necessary work to affect change in the city over the last few years. They have been trained not only in conflict resolution, but also with de-escalation techniques, physical conditioning, basic self-defense, and first aid. They offer these training programs to the community as well.

“Minister Farrakhan called for an action agenda and one of the things he called for is 10,000 fearless men who would be willing to come back into the community to set up conflict resolution centers, so we could mediate some of the beefs before they result in violence and bloodshed,” said Muhammad. “Sometimes we have actually broken up fights and violent engagements in the community in real time.”

Earlier this month, the 10KFearless initiated a national day of service in the same spirit to encourage the brothers to go back to the communities, especially since there has been an uptick in gun violence in Winston-Salem and other cities around the country. This was a relaunch to the initiative that was halted due to the pandemic.

Also included in the relaunch was a Keep the Peace hotline that individuals in the community can call and the 10KFearless will send out their mediation team to help resolve whatever the issue is. The hotline is confidential and has no police involvement.  Nothing is discussed over the phone and a meeting is set up to discuss the threat level.

“Once we get a call, we reach out to the parties involved to see if we can have a sit-down in order to discuss the situation to see if we can mediate it,” Muhammad said about the hotline. “In the past, we had individuals call the hotline and we were able to mediate at least 15 situations in the last two years. 

“As we recently revamped the hotline and launched this weekend, once we put up the flyer, I actually got calls and inboxes from members of the community providing information about certain beefs and areas in the community that need attention.”

Muhammad stated that as he and members of the 10KFearless went out into the community recently, the reception from the community members was encouraging. They spoke with some of the young men who have “street affiliations” and Muhammad stated they would prefer to resolve issues peacefully rather than with violence. They received two calls to the hotline within 24 hours of the relaunch.

Muhammad has long been a proponent of peace in the city for several years. He was actively involved with the cease-fire between two Hispanic gangs last year that not only resulted in weeks of peace, but also employment opportunities. 

The Keep the Peace hotline can be a good way to have situations resolved without police intervention, Muhammad said. He feels that the members of the 10KFearless have built a positive reputation in the community over the years, which has made the community members feel comfortable reaching out to them.

“We’ve built up a certain level of trust in the community over the years and our efforts are not a policing effort, but rather a preventative effort,” he said. “We pray that our efforts are making an impact and when we were out in the community yesterday, everyone we talked to agreed to it and said this is something that is needed.

“We got a lot of responses in real time, talking with individuals in the community who shared with us a lot of information about what is going on and that is information that they probably would not have shared with law enforcement.”

The 10KFearless will also partner with several agencies that will provide behavioral health services for the community, because many members have had to deal with those issues due to the violence.

“Many of the members of the community have been traumatized by the violence,” he continued. “Many of the children who have witnessed the violence, we are finding out no one is giving these children any significant attention.”

Muhammad says he has trouble sleeping at night because it bothers him that people can’t sit on their porches or have to sleep on the floor at night due to the threat of violence in certain communities, so each life they save is like they are saving the world.

“This activity that we are doing was inspired by Minister Farrakhan and his love of our people and wanting to see us unite and stop the killing,” he said. “We are always looking for more individuals who want to join to get the training.”

To reach the Keep the Peace hotline, please call 336-754-9685.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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