CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.—On October 15, 2015, in Washington, D.C., at the 20th anniversary of the historic Million Man March, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan asked those in attendance and those listening via webcast to make our communities a safe and decent place to live. He asked for 10,000 Fearless men and women to come between the guns and the gangs. He desired that we have conflict resolution centers all over America to help squash the beef. He also stated that we, the Nation of Islam (N.O.I.), would have to train the 10,000 willing participants.
In an effort to make his word bond to Minister Farrakhan, Student Minister Kevin Muhammad of the N.O.I. Chattanooga Study Group in Tennessee hosted a conflict resolution training. He invited Student Minister Willie Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 46 in New Orleans, Louisiana, to conduct the training session.
Also present were Nation of Islam Southern Regional Student Minister Abdul Sharrieff Muhammad, Sister Zurifah Muhammad, the study group coordinator of the Athens Study Group in Georgia, Student Minister Mikal Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 93 in Columbus, Georgia, and Student Minister Desmond Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 15B in College Park, Ga.
“We wanted to bring the best that we have in our Nation into the city in order to set up what the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan instructed us to do—set up conflict resolution centers in all of our cities in order to squash the beef before the grief. So, that’s why we brought Brother Willie in, for the same reason we brought Student Minister Abdul Sharrieff Muhammad in, because we’re duplicating the efforts they’re doing in Atlanta,” Student Minister Kevin Muhammad said.
Student Minister Abdul Sharrieff Muhammad not only attended the training session, but he sat attentively and took copious notes. When asked to say a few words, he stated that he was “here to learn.”
Members of the Nation of Islam traveled from cities such as Atlanta and Columbus to attend the event. Local politicians, including Councilwoman Marvene Noel of District 8 in Chattanooga, Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod of District 9 and State Representative Yusuf Abdul Hakeem of District 28, were also present. They listened, learned and shared their thoughts on the training session.
“To me, it was common sense that we don’t look at. We look for the deep reasoning about things. But it’s just common sense, what is being proposed, to listen to people and make them feel that they are part of the process. And getting beyond the so-called beef, when it maybe in reality nothing,” State Representative Hakeem said.
“My thoughts on the presentation, that it was absolutely very informative. Good talking points, good directions to be able to resolve conflict. Absolutely amazing! I learned a lot. I will definitely take some of these talking points into my mediations,” Councilwoman Noel said.
Student Minister Willie Muhammad used videos, handouts and interactive activities to train the attendees. Sessions included how to gather facts from both sides of the conflict. He reminded participants to never be judgmental. In addition, the training outlined that perceived threats, whether real or not, may escalate into violence and loss of life.
Student Minister Willie Muhammad emphasized that mediators should never minimize a threat or perceived threat. The trainees were taught the history of the conflict resolution program, program objectives and operational philosophy, what conflict is, the intervention process, conflict mediation steps, roles of the mediator, and much more.
Student Minister Willie Muhammad also shared conflict resolution case studies, the importance of a “beef” hotline and the importance of engaging the community at large. He emphasized that “the goal is to continue to help cities establish the conflict-resolution initiative as instructed by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.”
“The organizing and work is still continuing, post the Justice or Else gathering in Washington D.C. (10.10.2015). Over 1,500 people have been trained, and the number is continuing to grow. I am excited about the work that is taking place in the Southern Region under the leadership of Brother Abdul Sharrieff Muhammad. Brother Kevin and the believers here in Chattanooga are doing some great work. Their accomplishments are something to witness, and I believe it would bring a smile to the face of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan,” Student Minister Willie Muhammad said.
—Submitted by Student Minister Desmond Muhammad of College Park, Georgia