Stop the Killing: Building a Village of Unity and Peace

Future NFL Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson Joins Forces with No More Bloodshed Movement to Address Senseless Gun Violence

Oftentimes, professional athletes and entertainers get a bad rap; regularly being accused of not getting involved in societal issues, or of not using their high-profile platforms to bring awareness to critical issues impacting various communities in American society.

While the nation has been enamored with the back-and-forth discussions of whether a professional athlete (Colin Kaepernick) should use their high-profile platform to kneel or protest, another professional athlete recently used his platform to bring awareness to another important issue affecting the Black community – senseless gun violence.

This past Saturday, June 2, current NFL free agent running back and future Hall of Famer, Adrian Peterson, joined forces with Houston community activists Deric Muhammad and Pastor E.A. Deckard to hold a No More Bloodshed “Peace Walk” in southeast Houston.

The trio connected with many other families of victims, concerned individuals and community residents to march down the streets of Sunnyside, pushing a message of peace and speaking out against the senseless gun violence that is seriously impacting the Black community and taking lives, especially Black youth.

Since 2015, the Forward Times has been reporting about the importance of the No More Bloodshed Movement and the impact of their “Peace Walk” that serves an opportunity for the community to take to the streets and raise their collective voices against the unprecedented internal conflict that is destroying their future.

Dealing with this epidemic of senseless gun violence is not only an important one to NFL star Adrian Peterson – it is a personal one.

Back in 2007, while Peterson was away participating in the NFL combine, his 20-year-old brother Chris was murdered in a car-jacking in Sunnyside after he gave a man a ride. To date, there have been no arrests for the murder of Peterson’s brother and the case remains unsolved.

The memory of his brother’s death, as well as other recent events involving Black youth, led Peterson to want to do something in the neighborhood his brother was killed in.

“It is our job to give back to people in need,” said Peterson. “I only hope to inspire young people, as the positive influences did in my life. Let’s spread love, not hate.”

According to national ratings (NeighborhoodScout.com) Houston’s Sunnyside is considered the second most dangerous neighborhood in America. The “Peace Walk” was a timely initiative, because many members of the Black community are still reeling over two Black youth that were shot by senseless random gunfire in Houston over the past several months in southeast Houston.

The Forward Times reported back in April about the death of young Tristian Hutchins, who was shot in the head on March 1 in front of a nail salon in Houston’s Third Ward community. Tristian’s five-year-old sister, Kheristian Hutchins, who was sitting next to him in the vehicle, was also shot in the leg, but survived. Another young passenger, 11, was also in the car, but was unharmed. Then on May 15, four-year-old Sir Romeo Milam was shot with a random bullet in Kings Row Apartments during an exchange of gunfire between two rival groups. The bullet hit a vein in his abdomen as well as the bottom of his spine, while he and his sister were in the living room of their apartment watching a TV show. Sir Romeo has undergone six surgeries at Texas Children’s Hospital, and the shooters are still on the loose.

Because of Peterson’s passion to want to address the issue of senseless gun violence in the inner city, he reached out to Muhammad and met with him to discuss how they could work together to address the issue. Upon meeting, they decided they would organize a “Peace Walk” in Sunnyside, including Peterson’s family and other suffering families of murder victims, as well.

“There are families out here that feel the same pain I feel, and obviously my (other) brother and mother,” said Peterson. “You always have that void to deal with.”

There was so much unity and encouragement displayed at the “Peace Walk” and many families came out to tell their story. Those grieving families met other grieving families who assured them they were not alone.

There was great excitement to see Peterson, a high-profile celebrity and NFL star, in the community, who was able to touch the youth and spread a message of hope in the midst of so much hopelessness.

The group met at the Sunnyside Multi-Service Center and marched to Cullen Park Apartments where they gave away over a hundred bags of groceries to dozens of families. They had a police and motorcycle escort that shut down the entire street on Saturday afternoon.

Amongst those who participated in the march was Ola Tucker, who lost two sons in one month to senseless gun violence; Loriann Milam, whose 4-year-old grandson Sir Romeo was shot in Kings Row Apartments; as well as the mother and aunt of Peterson’s brother Chris.

“Much respect to Adrian and his team for joining forces with us as we attempt to save precious lives from senseless gun violence,” said Muhammad. “We advocated for stronger families, more community programs, ‘each one teach one’ mentorship and conflict resolution among warring factions in our community. We marched with dozens of families who are still in pain. We must stand for the grieving mothers and fathers, family members and friends. Yesterday we took one more step toward turning that pain into purpose.”

Pastor E.A. Deckard of Green House International Church and co-founder of the No More Bloodshed Movement, joined in with Peterson and Muhammad to push that same message of peace at the “Peace Walk” they coordinated this past Saturday.

“The No More Bloodshed movement partnered with NFL Future Hall of Fame football player Adrian Peterson as just another example of our dedication to serve our community,” said Pastor Deckard. “I was pleased with the diversity of the Peace Walkers, and the positive energy they brought left a mark on the community that can’t be erased. I’m looking forward to the next one coming soon to the Northside of Houston.”

According to Deckard and Muhammad, the objectives of the “Peace Walks” are to:

  • Galvanize the community to speak out against gun violence;
  • Show support for families of victims of violence and murder;
  • Promote a recently established “conflict resolution hotline” (citizens may call for intervention when they see conflict escalating in their community) and;
  • Encourage men to stand up to make their own communities a safe place to live.

As far as the No More Bloodshed Movement is concerned, they have a mission to:

  • Be an advocate of peace in our streets.
  • Build a strong village of concerned and dedicated families in the community with the goal of bringing an end to the senseless murders of members of our society.
  • Create strong partnerships within our communities to increase unity and peace.
  • Facilitate “Peace Walks” in our communities and embrace the diversity within our communities.
  • Promote peaceful conflict resolution through the Beef Hotline.
  • Educate our communities on the danger of honoring the no snitch rule.
  • Encourage our communities to bring an end to senseless gun violence.

“Escalating gun violence in our community has become a source of oppression for our people,” said Muhammad. “In the fifties and sixties our grandparents marched with a clear understanding of who the enemy was. Nowadays our people are more concerned about being murdered by one of their own; not a Ku Klux Klan night rider. Brothers killing brothers is something I refuse to get used to.”

For more information on the No More Bloodshed Movement call 281.209.9339, visit the Facebook page entitled “No More Bloodshed” or visit the website at www.nomorebs.org.