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Riding for peace in Los Angeles

By Sandra Muhammad | Last updated: Oct 26, 2012 - 10:53:13 AM

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Different bike clubs rolled out on October 14 at the 1st Annual United in Peace Festival ride throughout Black and Latino neighborhoods in Los Angeles, California.

LOS ANGELES ( - When some people think of motorcycle clubs, they visualize intimidating riders who pass time with bar fights, drinking alcohol, and breaking the law. But on Saturday, Oct. 14, that image was shattered when more than 250 bikers conducted the 1st Annual United in Peace Festival Ride.

Members from 15 different bike clubs started the Peace Ride at the Magic Johnson Park in South Los Angeles. They rode through the predominantly Black/Latino neighborhoods of Watts, Lynwood, Compton, and Carson.

As the biker clubs trickled in, a sense of awe struck with the sound of the roaring bikes, the different colors of the motorcycles and diversity of the jackets worn. There was unity among the riders who came from California cities including Fresno, El Monte, Long Beach, Inglewood, West Los Angeles and Culver City. There was also unity among Harley Davidson cyclists and Sports bike riders, who had never ridden together before, according to the clubs.

Student Minister Tony Muhammad (with outstretched hand), radio host Big Boy (wearing shorts) and Rev. Alfreddie Johnson (wearing helmet) of the World Literacy Crusade, prepare for peace ride.
They distributed brochures of Minister Louis Farrakhan’s historic Million Man March Pledge and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s “The Way to Happiness” guides to better living. The next Peace Ride is scheduled for Nov. 4, and each month afterward.

Children rushed out of houses and apartments to see the cyclists. The youngsters were enthralled, according to the bikers. Bikers get a bad rap, with stereotypes that they are negative or criminals, but bikers are doctors, lawyers, husbands, and wives, said Omar of the Street Heat motorcycle club.

“The ride was a success. The Harleys and the Sports bikes uniting together. ... You can’t bring nothing better to the table. This has never been done before,” Omar told The Final Call.

“We are for it! Anything we can do to help. The bike set is big. You call one, you call all,” said Lil Moe, president of the Street Heat.

The 22-member club has been together for six years and he’s been president for two. He loves the Peace Ride because it offers an opportunity to do more to help people.

“This didn’t just come in a vacuum but is in conjunction with what the F.O.I. is doing. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan sparked this flame and now other people are joining on to this whole peace movement and are going into the streets to promote love and peace among our gang members,” said Student Minister Tony Muhammad, Nation of Islam Western region representative.

He co-hosted the Peace Ride with Big Boy, Power 106 FM/KPWR’s morning drive time DJ and Reverend Alfreddie Johnson of the World Literacy Crusade. They and other grassroots community leaders are also hosting the United in Peace Festival (UpFest), slated for some time in 2013. The UpFest is an Awards and Peace Unity Rally, designed to bring peace to the streets of Los Angeles through literacy and gang prevention, Student Minister Muhammad said.

Organizers hope to help create a strong awareness and movement of peace, similar to those witnessed in the 1960s and 70s, he continued.

According to Mr. Muhammad, the event will bring activists, clergy members, and the community together in a celebration of music, peace and unity. The Peace Ride is just one way UpFest participants work to educate youth and their parents about the historical causes and effects Gang Intervention of the violence plaguing the inner city.

The UpFest grew out of the desire of Big Boy and others to help charities that work to keep peace in the streets by reducing gang violence, Min. Muhammad explained. “I am not here to show off and it is not about me. I’ll be riding slow because it (peace) takes time,” Big Boy declared.

“I feel very, very positive! Incredible experience, very, very spiritual for me to see the unity of Black, Brown, female, police officers. The effect that we had on the community, the children, the young people, it’s a beautiful experience,” said Rev. Johnson. It was his first ride but he still kept up.

(Alfred Muhammad contributed to this article.)