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New push to curb street violence in Buffalo

Posted at 6:31 PM, Aug 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-28 09:57:46-04

Just days after an 8-year-old boy was shot in the head on the city's east side, Buffalo residents are looking for a new approach to ending gun violence in the city.

Members of the Peacekeepers Global Initiative met with residents and community leaders Saturday afternoon. The organization is a national network of community groups trying to prevent street violence in cities across the country.

The group calls its local chapters "10,000 Fearless" and is planning to make its newest one in Buffalo.

"10,000 fearless men and women who are not afraid to go into these streets and get between the young people shooting and become peacemakers," Dennis Muhammad said.  He leads a branch in Columbus, Ohio and helps train new peacemakers.

Muhammad said the current community groups working to end violence in Buffalo do an excellent job.  His organization hopes to bring them all closer together to create a united push against violence in the city.

One distinction Muhammad makes between many community peacekeeping groups around the country and the 10,000 Fearless groups is the level of training.  Volunteers for 10,000 Fearless go through training sessions over the course of six weeks.

Those sessions cover conflict resolution and mediation, non-violent crisis intervention, effective communication, building self-esteem, self-defense and CPR and first aid training.

Muhammad says the extensive training helps keep everybody safe on the street.  It also helps the peacekeepers feel "confident and comfortable" stepping into potentially violent situations in their neighborhoods.