Thursday, December 1, 2022
Peace in the Streets
By Shannen Hill – Contributing Writer
Published September 3, 2015

Danny Sr Speaks.Still002

“Cease fire, cease fire,” reigned through the streets of Crenshaw as community leaders from the Safe Communities Initiatives Rally came together for a press conference on ways to promote peace in front of the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper building on Sept 2.

The conference was led by leaders of communities stretching from Crenshaw to Watts to East Los Angeles who work with youth involved with gangs, gun violence and drugs. Many of the leaders were part of the same lifestyle when they were younger, but are now trying to guide the youth in a different direction.


“You brought back the originals, the people who have the right and the license to operate” said Dr. Cynthia Mendenhall one of the founders of the Watts Gang Task Force. “The problem is that the community left the community. We have to come back, the moms the pops the grandparents, we have to come back.”

During the time of #BlackLivesMatter spreading through the internet, there was also a #100days100nights happening in Los Angeles where gang members set out to kill 100 people in 100 days. Community leaders say that there needs to be an end to the killing within our communities and community members need to be the ones to make that change.

“When people start setting a goal of 100 deaths in 100 days, that’s senseless because they’re killing themselves, they’re killing our children, they’re killing our mothers our fathers, they’re killing our future,” said Danny Bakewell, Sr., executive publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel and L.A. Watts Times. “We have to intervene and do something to change the tide, and nobody can do that but us. If Black lives matter, Black lives must matter to Black people first.”

Within the next eight weeks, thousands will march through gang-related parks, including Jim Gilliam, St. Andrews, Athens, South, Jesse Owens, Magic Johnson, Manchester and Ted Watkins. The Nation of Islam, Gangsters for Christ, Front Line Soldiers, along with many more, will all be a part of the 2015 March and Rally for Peace in the Streets.

“We want to go to hottest communities and talk with our young people, eyeball to eyeball,” said Khalid Shah, one of the directors of the 2015 March and Rally for Peace in the Streets. “We want to make sure that they understand that their own brothers, their own cousins, their own fathers do not like what’s going on.”

The press conference was about unity. It was about getting people who think that they are separate to realize that they are in the same battle. Without unity, community leaders say that the cycle will only continue.


“We have to stop acting like the Ku Klux Klan,” said Brother G during the conference. “We have to take off these blue and red flags and stop acting like we hate each other.”

The conversation also centered on creating resources within the community. One mother was given hundreds of dollars on the spot to help burry her child. Danny Bakewell, Sr. also donated $10,000 to the Safe Communities Initiatives Rally. Community leaders understand that there is much work to be done, but they also understand that it must start within the community.

“This is a holistic approach to ending community violence,” said Alicia Thompson, staff member of the Professional Community Intervention Training Institute. “This is a unified structure, a unified front and a unified body of professional peace-keepers convening for the goal of stopping the violence and protecting our youth.”

To get involved, call (323) 777 – 4893



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