The ambush shooting of three area deputies, leading to one death, underscores the need to end street violence in Houston. As part of the Scott Street Peace Initiative, Dr. Abdul (Robert) Muhammad and United in Peace are hosting ‘Community Roundtable 4’ this Saturday from noon to 3pm at Scott’s Community Care (4815 Reed Rd., 77033) to offer solutions.
GENESIS OF ROUNDTABLES
MUHAMMAD: The Scott Street Peace Initiative (SSPI) comes from the fact that Scott Street (from I-45 North to South Park) had been designated by law enforcement and media as containing some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in not only Houston, but in America. There was much street organization (gang) activities actually committing crimes against one another in terms of homicides and aggravated assaults. Our goal was, first of all, starting off and touring the schools. It wasn’t just the Nation of Islam, but it was a collaborative effort which we called ‘One Houston, One Hood’ (HISD trustee candidate Gary Monroe, the South Park Coalition of rappers K-Rino and Cl’Che’, the NOI, Reginald OG1 Gordon and others)
SCOTT STREET INITIATIVE
MUHAMMAD: This Scott Street Initiative, though I wrote it up, was indeed a collaborative effort of grassroots organizations doing our community part in the prevention of violence and crime. Our premise is that you cannot solve violent crime through the criminal justice system alone. Until we rebuild family and community life, there is no solution to the criminal justice system. The SSPI Strategic Plan has a $900,000 budget. Our goal over four-year period was to reduce violent crime, gun violence in particular, by 75%. We submitted it to everybody, but nobody wanted to fund it. That is the dilemma. So, what we’ve decided to do is have these series of community roundtables to publicize the plan, to seek funding for the plan or to create funding for the plan and implement it as a template for stopping violence and crime across the city.
SUPPORT & ROADBLOCKS
MUHAMMAD: We have Texas Southern University’s Center for Justice Research, the University of Houston Graduate School of Social Work to adopt the plan. We wrote up a grant proposal for the CDC at that time under the Trump administration. But you know how dysfunctional that was at that time. And it was endorsed by every political leader in this city, in law enforcement and up and down the corridor. So, nobody’s got any excuse, like they don’t know. They do know, but the question is, are there entrenched stakeholders or people who benefit from status quo, things that they are? Why not give the community resources to help? We just lost a deputy constable, two others wounded, in an ambush-style killing people. Hey, this is real.
MUHAMMAD: It is to publicize the plan so more people know about it. That it’s not hopeless. They don’t have to wring their hands. They don’t have to look at the news in the morning and say, “There’s nothing we can do.” It’s to empower the people, to show them that there is something that they can do and participate in. And two, to get the funding to implement it. We feel that since we’ve appealed to the higher-ups and they’re not doing anything, we’re going to appeal to the people and then they will, in turn, help us to get the higher ups to understand that it’s necessary to make sure that you make investments in the community organizations and groups that are already doing the work. All are invited and all are welcomed. It’s a community roundtable.