The senseless murder of Nipsey Hussle on March 31 birthed something unexpected, something the rapper’s good friend, Shamond Bennett, described as “beautiful.”
Over 100 people representing 30 gangs reportedly linked up for peace talks at a local community center in Los Angeles, all with a fresh perspective on the violence that has been commonplace in the streets of L.A. for generations.
The groundbreaking meeting was the idea of Nipsey’s longtime friend and fellow Rollin 60s gang member Shamond Bennett, and LaTanya Ward aka Big Fuck Off, a member of a Bloods gang called Black P Stones.
Ward and Bennett made calls to bring groups together and just four days after Hussle’s death, a group of about 15 people with various gang affiliations met to sit and talk. The group called another meeting for the following day, and this time more than 100 people from 30 different gangs attended.
According to the Guardian, a man associated with the Rollin’ 60s posted an invitation on Instagram for anyone involved with LA street gangs to attend, with rival gang members getting “safe passage” to pay their respects. Among the hundreds that attended were members of 8 Trey Gangster Crips, a gang that has been at war with the Rollin’ 60s for decades and
“They welcomed me with open arms,” said Bennett. “That first handshake, and then them hugs, it’s like it’s real now. It was amazing. It was beautiful.”
“This is history, because they got to stand on the same square, not incarcerated, but on the streets, coming together,” added Edward Scott, a former gang member.
Minister Muhammad, another vigil attendee, said the “community was just crying, because we had never seen it before.” Muhammad said he once believed the Rollin 60s and the 8 Trey Gangster Crips feud to be the most “unsolvable” gang rivalry in all of Los Angeles.
This is a huge step, but the coming months will be a big test to see if the peace gesture sticks, as gang violence spikes during summer months.
But for now, Shamond Bennett, the brainchild of the peace meeting, feels “on top of the world.”
“It was one of the best feelings of my whole life, it really was,” he said.
[h/t The Guardian]