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Black love is the antidote to stopping violence in our community

Picture of Dayvon Love

Dayvon Love

Director of Public Policy
Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle

It continues to be astounding how absent mainstream media is in spaces where Black people are coming together to address the violence in our communities. It seems that the White dominated mainstream media, particularly Sinclair Broadcasting, is only interested in narratives that project Black people as inherently prone to violence and criminality.

There was an amazing gathering of Black men on the night of May 2, at Empowerment Temple in Northwest Baltimore. It was an event convened by We Our Us, a group of local grassroot organizations that are working to address violence in our communities. They put out a call for 1,000 Black men to come to Empowerment Temple and support the ongoing work that has been the most responsible for the significant decline of violence in Baltimore.

Too often when Black people are portrayed in the media, we are a problem to be fixed. This convening of Black people gathered not as a problem, but as a solution to our challenges.

One of the most important contributions of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam (NOI) is the importance and power of self-knowledge and self-love as an antidote to the self-destructive behaviors of Black people. The core tenets of the doctrine of the NOI has been effective in facilitating transformations of Black people that very few interventions can credibly claim.

Tenets like “the Black man is the original man” and “the Black man is God” are transformational concepts that can crack through the psychological prison of White supremacy and colonialism that has been cemented within our collective consciousness by the societal propaganda of anti-Blackness.

The core doctrine of Elijah Muhammad and the NOI was on display at Empowerment Temple on May 2. The pastor, Dr. Robert Turner, who is a major figure in the movement for reparations for Black people, hosted the event. Iman Earl El-Amin from the Muslim Community Cultural Center of Baltimore and brother Isiah Muhammad offered opening prayers. Mayor Brandon M. Scott gave remarks in support of the work of We Our Us.

There were many brothers and sisters who made very important remarks, but I am going to focus on one in particular. Captain Andrew Muhammad, of Muhammad Mosque No. 6 spoke about the danger that he and his comrades subject themselves to in order to stop violent conflicts from escalating out of control.

Andrew Muhammad and his team are on the front line engaging with people who are in the midst of dangerous situations. For someone to put themselves in that kind of danger, they must love their people deeply. I would argue that it is that level of love that is necessary to address violence in our communities. Many of the people and commentators who opine about addressing the violence in Baltimore typically don’t possess the kind of love that requires risking your own life, that is needed to truly have a meaningful impact. Captain Andrew practices that love every day.

There are many competing explanations for the significant decline of violence in Baltimore. What seems clear is that an essential ingredient is the power of Black people being exposed to self-love and self-knowledge. This is important to combat the internalization of the worthlessness that this society projects onto our people which animates much of our self-destructive behavior. The May 2 call to action by We Our Us at Empowerment Temple was a testament to that power.

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