Newark Violence!!!

Family friend Cathy Rainey holds up a 2006 photo of victims Iofemi Hightower, 20, and Terrance Aeriel, 18.

Now I’m not sure how many of you have been following this story out of Newark, NJ, but I felt compelled to say a few words about what’s going on.  For those that don’t know what’s going on, in a seemingly endless wave of violence that plagues this NJ city, yet again more young people were gunned down in what appears to be gang related.  Now I posted a link to this story yesterday and even today, a lot of people are fed up with what’s going on and Newark and there were protests.  What sucks the most about this is that the three victims were not in a gang or anything like that and it just goes to show what can happen when people continually look the other way in hopes that problems will go away.

My connection to the story is thus:  Most may or may not know but I am a New Jersey native.  I was born and raised in Jersey City, NJ which is the very next city to Newark going toward the Hudson River.  I spent a lot of time in Newark, have family in Newark, and just left Newark visiting two weeks ago.  So it pains me to know my hometown has such problems that appear to be getting worse.  Two years ago, I lost two cousins to gang violence in the same month of October.  One was killed in Newark and the other in Jersey City, so I know what pain the people are obviously going through.

This isn’t a new problem by any stretch of the imagination it’s just that it happens to have made National News this time.  There was hope several years ago when Minister Farrakhan got the crips and blood to agree to a truce, but it seems that it’s been broken.  In fact, Minister Farrakhan and the NOI have been working a lot to help quell the violence, if one was to do a search about “Newark” on The Final Call website, they would see countless articles and speeches from Minister Farrakhan against this violence.

At the same time it’s not up to the NOI to stop the violence it’s up to the individual citizens in Newark to stop it.  There has to come a time when enough is enough.  Street by Street, Block by Block, citizens need to police their own neighborhoods and parents need to be parents.

The police have said that they have a suspect and his fingerprint was found in a criminal database.  The accused is only 15 years old!  We need to re-evaluate ourselves and look in the mirror.  A 15 year old child is accused on 3 counts of murder….how did this happen?  What was the situation that led to a point where a boy who should be a freshman in high school is A: drinking (i.e. fingerprint on beer bottle) and B: killing people indiscriminately.  These are the issues that must be dealt with as peace to a city to which none has been known for quite some time attempts to come to fruition.

It really hurts and this hit’s close to home, I just pray that we become more active in fixing these problems.  I pray that an arrest, prosecution, etc. isn’t the end of the line but the beginning of the real work that must be done.  I close with some excerpts from a speech Minister Farrakhan delivered in Newark to the gangs:

“….I am honored to be in the presence of my young brothers, the Bloods and the Crips. I am very grateful to the leadership and those who follow that leadership who have tried their best to produce peace in the streets of Newark, New Jersey. There are too many mothers and grandmothers grieving because, in the natural sequence of things, parents should die before their children, having built a platform for them to stand on.

But circumstances in America and the world are such that children are dying before their mothers and grandmothers. Seeing a mother in a funeral parlor, grieving over her son who was shot down through the violence in the streets, feeling the pain of these mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, gives way to great joy, knowing that you are making the effort to bring peace to the streets that you now control, to a degree.

Some of you were stopped by police on your way here, harassed for nothing but the fact that you are organized. An unwritten law among the slave masters of our fathers and among the children of the slave masters today is that Black people must never be allowed to organize. That frightens the government. Whenever there are Bloods, Crips, Black Gangster Disciples, El Rukns, or the Nation of Islam, the Black Panther Party or anybody that sees the value of coming together as an organized unit, you become dangerous.

Brothers, the best greeting that we could give is “peace.” I offer you peace and you offered me peace in return, meaning that from my lips and hands, you have nothing to fear, because peace is what I have in my heart for you, and I hope you have peace in your heart for me. So, we offer each other peace.

Although you made a peace treaty, you need to understand the depth of what peace means. Peace means that I love for you what I love for myself. Peace means that I’ll never go behind your back and talk about you, but if there’s something in me that I want to say to you, I will talk directly to you, brother to brother, man to man, sister to sister. Backbiting breaks peace; slander breaks peace; gossip and rumors break peace.

The moment you made peace, some people were not happy. The people who should have been happy about your peace were very disturbed about it. Why should people in government become disturbed that you made peace in the street? The police should have been the first to say, “This is good. It makes our job easier.” Instead of certain members of the police and city administration becoming happy about your peace, they immediately tried to break the peace.

We have become tribes and clans. Crip is a tribe. Blood is a tribe. Baptist is a tribe. Methodist is a tribe. Catholic is a tribe. Sunni Muslim is a tribe. Ahmadiya Muslim is a tribe. Nation of Islam is a tribe. As long as we think like tribes, the enemy—who put Shoshani against Navajo, against Hopi, against Cree—can keep you fighting each other, until a leader comes along who makes you able to see each other as one people and not a tribe. Whoever has the wisdom to break down the barriers that separate us from each other becomes the most dangerous individual to the aim of White people, which is to dominate the people of color of our planet.

When we practice peace, there has to be certain laws that we follow in order to bring peace. I cannot steal from you, yet offer you peace. I cannot come in your house, after your sister and desecrate your family, yet offer you peace. I cannot know that you are married and want your wife, yet offer you peace. I cannot sell drugs to destroy your household, yet offer you peace. If we mean peace—because there is too much hypocrisy around the word “peace”—then what supports our peace has to be the principle, “I treat you like I want you to treat me.” This is a code of righteous conduct. Peace with a righteous code supporting it produces love.

The Crips and the Bloods, if you do not love each other, then you will not feel the pain of your Brother when he is hurt. When you hear that a Crip was shot, or a Blood was shot, why does it send shockwaves through all the Bloods of that group or set, or all the Crips of that set? You tell yourself, “We must take revenge because we feel the pain of the hurt of one of our members.” But instead of Bloods feeling the pain of only Bloods, or Crips feeling the pain of only Crips, suppose Crips feel the pain of Bloods and Bloods feel the pain of Crips. Then, you would know that we are becoming a family now—a real family.

It is similar to our bodies. If someone steps on your toe, your toe does not speak, it is your mouth that opens in pain, because there is a connection between your mouth and your toe through a nervous system. The enemy does not want a replication of a nervous system developed among us, as a people, that when one of us aches, all of us feel that pain. When we are connected like that, we will stop the enemy’s evil treatment of us all over the country. You will not have to ask him to stop police brutality, we will stop it ourselves when we feel each others’ pain.

But now, if somebody can kill our Christian family and we, as Muslims, do not feel their pain, then we are disconnected. If somebody can hang one of our Brothers in Georgia and we read about it in Newark, but do not feel the pain, then we are not tied to each other. In the ’60s, we could not watch television in Newark and see dogs and firehoses aimed at Black people in Alabama and Mississippi, and not feel the pain. That’s why when Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot down, 100 cities were set on fire because of rioting in the streets……”



  1. To wonder how and why a fiften year old ends up being a murdered is not only a good point, but it is our duty to ask ourselves questions. However, I feel like the social crisis is so complicated and has reached such dramatic proportion that it is hard to pin point the cause of it. I personally think that, to fix the proble you need to find the root cause of it. You diagnose the disease and then you prescribe the appropriate medecine. So what is the cause of our social crisis? The collapse of strong families and moral values,Lack of religious principles and corruption of the soul,the laws of this country , racial divide, poverty, Education and health system? I don’t know, the more i think about it, the more confused I get. I am not the brighest person, maybe that’s why I just can’t see a solution to this problem. It is so complicated that I feel like it is a lost cause, just like the economic crisis and the poverty back in Africa. But anyways, I hope other people wonder why society is so messed up and I hope they have a solution for it too.


  2. Pardon my spelling mistake, I meant fifteen year old and ai meant murderer….I had surgery today and still high on the drugs… 🙂


  3. As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    These problems are not restricted to New Jersey or indeed the USA. There have been several shootings and stabbings of teenagers (mostly black and male, but not all) in England, particularly London, this year – not all in ghettoes either, as one of them was in Beckenham and one in Croydon. It’s a global problem, it seems.


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