Ballenger Highway

The Peacekeepers urge Flint to 'Squash the Beef Before the Grief'

FLINT, Michigan — “When you have happiness in you, you bring happiness with you,”
says Captain Dennis Muhammad, founder of The Peacekeepers Global Initiative. The Peacekeepers is a collective of fearless men and women who go into communities and stand between whatever vices and strongholds are notoriously present — this includes conflict or 'beef.'

They are present to help resolve and mediate to bring about peace and prevent violence from commencing.

Four years ago, Jalil X reached out to Muhammad for something outside The Peacekeepers and asked him to come to Flint. From then on, Jalil X became the spokesperson and director of the Flint chapter.

“There are thirty-three chapters [of The Peacekeepers]. Thirty-one in the United States, one in Europe, and one in the Caribbean,” says Jalil X.

Across cities nationwide, as many citizens often find themselves misinformed, Muhammad encourages people to go out to historically troubled neighborhoods and see what’s going on for themselves — to see if the streets of the community are truly as dangerous as the person who doesn’t reside there broadcasted it to be. 

For nearly four decades, Muhammad has given police departments sensitivity training, cultural diversity training, de-escalation training, and racial profiling training. Throughout the years, he learned that law enforcement alone cannot solve crime and violence. This discovery also contributed to the inception of the ‘One Hour of Power’ when for one hour every other Saturday, The Peacekeepers go into the community.

Members of The Peacekeepers.
The ‘One Hour of Power’ takes place across different communities in Flint, usually from 3 to 4 p.m. Being close to two decades old, The Peacekeepers get asked an extraordinary question: “Why?” 

Muhammad states, “Why is an exceptional question because it demands an answer and it doesn’t matter the tone or the person asking it. I’m participating in bringing a change to my community and after ‘One Hour of Power,’ I feel good. I can go home and sleep at night knowing [that] I did something, and that’s the beauty of The Peacekeepers.”

A recent initiative from The Peacekeepers is ‘Squash the Beef Before the Grief.’ It is a hotline for people to call and receive properly trained mediation as an intervention for possible violence that may occur as a result of a conflict. The initiative celebrated the unveiling of a billboard on Ballenger Highway in the Save-A-Lot grocery store parking lot on May 31, 2024.
Spokesperson and Director of the Flint chapter of the Peacekeepers, Jalil X, poses with a raised fist on June 5, 2024.
City officials, law enforcement officers, politicians, clergy, members of The Peacekeepers, and Flint residents came together for the unveiling. The two phone numbers listed on the billboard are: 810-293-0107 and 810-391-3911.

“We know that it’s going to be difficult to get people in the city of Flint to look up at a billboard, have a conflict, and then dial and call the number to try to solve it,” says Jalil X. “Our number one hope is that they see it and, on their own, decide not to get into it today. But the availability is there for them to make the call.”

Seeing how people took time out of their day and made it their mission to be there meant a great deal to Muhammad. He states, “That billboard makes me happy. It’s a billboard of unity and [shows people that] in a world that is so desensitized, somebody cares.”

“It was a momentous occasion and something that I was told never occurred in this fashion in Flint,” said Jalil X when asked how he felt about the billboard. “It marked the beginning of the hope to bring Flint to a better quality of life in the community.”

Jalil X has been working tirelessly to bring peace to the city as peace is the motivating factor among The Peacekeepers. They make it a point to not talk about religion, politics, and sports. They have members from various walks of life banding together to be present for peace.

“Christians, Muslims, and atheists all want peace,” says Muhammad. “These creeds are implemented to allow nothing to stand in the way of any human being who wants to become a peacekeeper. We deal with you as a human being, not because you’re white, Black, gay, Republican, or whatever.”

To learn more about The Peacekeepers or to become a member, visit their website, Dennis Muhammad’s Facebook page, or Jalil X’s Facebook page. You may also dial the phone hotline number and a representative will connect you with an administrator who can inform you of upcoming meetings or details of the next ‘One Hour of Power’ destination.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.