BY RAFIKA MUHAMMAD (The Final Call)

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y.—Student Minister Abdul Hafeez Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 7 and the New York Representative of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has called for an end to the violence in the Black community, echoing Minister Farrakhan’s call for 10,000 Fearless to end Black fratricide.

Minister Hafeez Muhammad organized the “Peace in the Streets” initiative to help make the Village of Hempstead and those like Hempstead decent and safe places to live.  A rally took place at Campbell Park Aug. 13 in honor of a slain Hempstead resident, 23-year-old LaDaniel McCloud. As keynote speaker Minister Hafeez Muhammad delivered a message of inspiration and guidance dealing with four key principals of unity, discipline, character and love. 

He spoke about the call for 10,000 Fearless men and woman and invited rally-goers to sign up for conflict resolution training. Many answered the call.

“We called this initiative what Minister Farrakhan called it in 2012 when he took the mighty Fruit of Islam into the streets of Chicago, then in that same year he came into the streets of New York and we walked together he called it Peace in the Streets,” said Minister Hafeez Muhammad.  

“We need 10,000 Fearless trained in conflict resolution to help stop the beefs in our community,” he said.  “We Must stop the killing of us by us” and set up conflict resolution centers, as Minister Farrakhan has instructed, said Minister Hafeez Muhammad.

He shared words from Minister Farrakhan saying, “our unity will solve 95 percent of our problems. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that when you see us being brutalized, or you see us harming ourselves, we don’t need to throw a molotov cocktail. We don’t need to talk bad about someone. We just need the power of our unity. The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad said our unity is a weapon more powerful than nuclear bombs.”

Minister Hafeez Muhammad warned the crowd not to get too comfortable just because they attended a rally. That does not mean we are in unity, he said. The crowd followed him with a call and response repeating, “Stop the killing on us by us. We must make our community a decent and safe place to live but we can’t do it if we remain fragmented in Hempstead.”

“We should come together and unify. When we are a unified community no one can abuse us, not even ourselves. But when we remain fragmented, when we remain divided from one another then and only, then can an enemy creep in and destroy us.”

“When the police kill us, we respond to that, but when we kill us there is no response to that,” he quoted the Minister as saying.

Minister Hafeez Muhammad heard about the murder of LaDaniel McCloud through a local TV news report. He knew he needed to connect with the family of the slain young man. Minister Hafeez Muhammad and the Fruit of Islam went into the streets of Hempstead and met with the family during their Monday evening peace in the streets outreach. At the family’s request, Minister Hafeez Muhammad officiated over the funeral for LaDaniel McCloud and ministered to the family.  Hempsted, N.Y., is located in the borough of Long Island, about 38 miles from New York City and about 29 minutes away via cab.

Minister Hafeez Muhammad said, “I am happy that we are listening to the voice of God which is coming from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to come out into the wilderness and lead a charge under the banner of making our community a decent and safe place to live and stop the killing of us by us.”  Minister Farrakhan teaches that “our work is in the streets.”

Co-coordinators of the Peace in the Streets rally were James T. Muhammad and Marcus Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 7 Study Group in Long Island, N.Y., and Hempstead resident and community activist Reverend Reginald Benjamin, executive director of Able Body Believer’s Alliance (ABBA) Leadership Center. 

Mayor Wayne Hall Sr. of the Village of Hempstead partnered with the Peace in the Streets initiative. The event was strongly supported by Parks Commissioner Jeffery Spencer.  

Messages of support and unity was delivered by Acting Executive Director of Minority Affairs of Nassau County Shelley Brazely; Marcellus Morris of the Community Coalition Against Youth Violence and Council of Thoughts and Action,  Outreach Supervisor Ta-Isha Gist of SNUG—Guns Spelled Backwards, Deputy Speaker of the Democratic Party of the State of New York Earlene Hooper and Pastor Lynwood Deans of the Bethlehem of Judea Baptist Church where Minister Hafeez Muhammad conducted two pre-event community leadership meetings. Nassau County Legislator Seila Bynoe was in attendance.

Pastor Deans offered an opening prayer petitioning for unity, peace in the streets and healing for the McCloud family. Reverend Benjamin followed with words of encouragement. “Peace in the Streets is an initiative that I am very encouraged to work with and I fully support Minister Hafeez. I think it’s going to bring a dramatic and drastic change in our community because it’s going to the streets where the people are.”

He continued, “We have so many great leaders out there but they won’t come out of the church or come outside of the building nor will they meet the people at the point of their needs. I think the Peace in the Streets initiative will meet the people at the point of their needs, at the street corners, in the alleys, in those backyards and those building where so-called proper folks are intimidated to go into.” 

Mayor Wayne Hall Sr. offered a solution for the Hempstead community and expressed his commitment to supporting Minister Hafeez Muhammad. Mayor Hall is a proponent of early intervention. “We need some kind of conflict resolution for our young people and it should start in school at the third grade level,” said Mayor Hall.

Jeffery Spencer, Hempstead Village Parks Commissioner and a co-coordinator of Peace in the Streets, said, “When Minister Hafeez came to me, he came with such a positive aura about him and a positive message of Peace in the Streets. When you got two positives, you can’t go wrong; so we made it happen. I think today was a huge success. I think the right people heard the right message and we’re going to hold everybody who made a claim that they are going do something, accountable because they have made a commitment and they don’t even know it.”

Deputy Speaker of the Democratic Party of the State of New York Erleene Hooper encouraged the community to come together and stop the violence. “This was one of the stops I had to make today. It was important that I show my support for Minister Hafeez,” she said. Ms. Hooper expressed her appreciation for Minister Hafeez Muhammad and the Fruit of Islam. “I want to thank Minister Hafeez and thank the brothers who have come here to be role models. They always bring a message of peace.”

Acting Executive Director of Minority Affairs of Nassau County Shelley Brazely, a Hempstead resident, also committed to working with Minister Hafeez Muhammad and his Peace in the Streets initiative. Her words echoed many of the speakers who spoke of the value of Peace in the Streets. “It is up to us to make Hempstead what it should be. We must learn to love ourselves again. We must support our own businesses. We are the change that we seek,” Ms. Brazeley said.

Joy Small, cousin to LaDaniel McCloud who introduced Minister Hafeez Muhammad, spoke of  unity and the killings in her community. “We lose someone, we are sad and we say RIP. We put them on a T-shirt and everybody goes on about their day. There is no change because there is no change in the neighborhood,” she said. Ms. Small commented on the value of the Peace in the Streets initiative, “It’s going to do a lot of good. The community needs to be taught how to resolve conflict. I fully support what Minister Hafeez is trying to do because I think it is needed and valuable for us.” Trying to cope with the death of her beloved cousin has been difficult for her as well as her family. “I talk to the man upstairs. I ask him for guidance and self-healing and to pray over my family but also for the victim,” Ms. Small said. 

Terrell 3X commented on the Peace in the Streets initiative. “Today’s message was strong. Minister Hafeez touched the crowd. We had both Christians and Muslims listening. The message touched people who haven’t heard of Peace in the Streets before. It’s only with unity we can stop the conditioned destruction of our people and bring peace and safety to our communities.”

The Peace in the Streets rally was held in honor of LaDaniel McCloud who was shot five times in the back near his home in Hempstead, Long Island. The shooter was a 17-year-old young man who, according to LaDaniel’s father Larry McCloud, was no stranger to the family. Larry McCloud said, “When my son grew out of clothes, I used to bring them to the school and give them to the people that did not have clothes. The gentleman who killed my son was one of the people who I gave clothes to.”

Minister Hafeez Muhammad ministered to Larry McCloud and helped him calm down. It was through the words and guidance of Minister Hafeez Muhammad that the elder McCloud changed his thinking. “I don’t think he know what he did. He stopped something that was going to be bad for a lot of people,” the hurting father added.

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