gun violence

Grassroots Groups Working to Curb Gun Violence in Miami-Dade

The Peacemaker program reaches about 1,500 people per month with anti-violence messaging or direct services. 

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Anthony Scott goes door-to-door in areas with recent gun violence and offers supplies like diapers, food and PPE to those in need. 

“Talk to the citizens ask them what can we do to help them,” Scott said.

Scott is one of about 10 full-time Peacemakers with the nonprofit Circle of Brotherhood. The program, which started two years ago in Miami-Dade County, aims to curb violence by going into neighborhoods right after a shooting to help.

“Our community has been lost for so long,” Scott said. “It is our job as Black men, strong men now to come back into our communities and save it. A lot of them need pampers, a lot of them need food.”

This time, they’re canvassing Lincoln Fields apartments in Liberty City, where on Feb. 5, two people were killed in a drive-by shooting. One victim was shot while holding her infant daughter.

Brother Lyle Muhammad, executive director of the nonprofit, says in the past six months, the Peacemakers have responded to about 140 shootings in the county.

Muhammad says the violence caused the program to expand its reach. 

“We’re down in Goulds,” Muhammad said. “We’re down in Naranja. We’re down in those areas where you see a majority of the violence that’s taking place now.”

The Peacemaker program started off in areas in North Miami-Dade, including Liberty City, Brownsville and Little River. In December, it launched into South Dade in Homestead, Goulds and Leisure City.

“Crime doesn’t take a vacation from street to street, from jurisdiction to jurisdiction,” Muhammad said. “So these dedicated men and women, we have to work in these other jurisdictions as Peacemakers if we’re going to truly play a role in curbing the violence.”

Officials in Miami-Dade addressed the "gun violence epidemic" going on in the county right now. NBC 6's Steve Litz reports

So far, the program has made a difference for 19-year-old Gabriel Johnson, a rapper who goes by the name G Dot Savage.

These days, Johnson raps about starting a career and making positive choices after being mentored by a Peacemaker. He got involved in the program in 2019 after going to jail for a gun charge.

“I was in the streets a lot and got locked up,” Johnson said.

He’s now working on getting his GED and has helped organize youth football games and has spoken with kids in foster care.

“They taught me how to better myself as a young man, how to move better,” Johnson said.

Muhammad says although expansion is the first step, his goal is for every neighborhood to have a Peacemaker program.

“When you hear about the turnarounds and the changes and transformations, we know that it works,” he said.

The Peacemaker program reaches about 1,500 people per month with anti-violence messaging or direct services. 

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