5.18.2012

What Happened to Gang Peace? A look at 20 years since the historic truce between Crips & Bloods in Los Angeles



LOS ANGELES (FinalCall.com) - It's been 20 years since the historic gang truce between the Crips and Bloods in Los Angeles sparked peace work and inspired a national movement to quell urban violence in America's streets and save lives.


Gang members from four major housing projects in the Watts section of Los Angeles, Imperial Courts, Jordan Downs, Nickerson Gardens and Hacienda Village, established a peace treaty on April 28, 1992 but had been working on ways to bring about peace since the 1980s, say anti-violence activists.


“One of the primary reasons there was a need to come together because 1987-88 was the height of the gang war in L.A. We were experiencing about 1,000 to 1,100 murders a year and nobody was really winning the war that we were waging against each other,” explained Aqeela Sherrills, director of Resources for Human Development California, a gang intervention organization.

The activist, a former Crips gang member from Jordan Downs, spearheaded the 20th Anniversary Reunion Celebration of the Los Angeles “Peace Treaty” in Watts late last month. According to Mr. Sherrills, people rallied for peace after LAPD offi cers killed unarmed resident Henry Peco at the Imperial Courts Housing Projects without provocation. Mr. Peco’s nephew, Dwayne Holmes, and others organized a committee for justice and talks between a few people from the various housing projects increased.

Parents of some gang members had also been Muslims prior to 1975 but with the departure of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, their children were involved in street life. However, their affi nity for the Muslim movement was not destroyed. “Being that we all grew up in the Nation of Islam, we were tied into Minister Farrakhan and the Stop the Killing Movement that was happening all across the country,” Mr. Sherrills said.

Beginning in 1980s, Min. Farrakhan spent some 10 years doing a series of Stop the Killing lectures, appealing to youth to stop fratricidal violence, warning of government and law enforcement fear and deadly government crackdowns that the violence would justify. The nascent neighborhood peace activists sent about 25 young men to hear Min. Farrakhan’s 1989 message at the L.A. Sports Arena. They were invited to attend peace talks at NFL Hall of Famer/actor Jim Brown’s home and about four or five subsequent meetings. [Read Full Article]