BY SHAWNETTE WILSON | PUBLISHED APRIL 7, 2022 11:31PM | UPDATED APRIL 8, 2022 10:33AM | PHILADELPHIA FOX 29
Philadelphia anti-violence activist begins program to keep teens safeHouse of Umoja founder starting anti-violence after-school program for teens, to help them cope with the rising cycle of violence.
WEST PHILADELPHIA - With so much violence in Philadelphia involving teenagers and targeting children, how can adults keep them from getting swept up in the epidemic?
"We have, over the years, only developed more methods and easier ways to kill each other. That’s not progress," Falaka Fattah stated.
Fattah says she’s up for the challenge of keeping children safe. She’s developed a program she hopes will help lessen murders in Philadelphia, a decades-long epidemic.
"In 1969, Philadelphia was known as the year of the gun. We were distinguished by having the most killings in the country," Fattah said.
Known as Queen Mother, Fattah is the President and CEO of the House of Umoja, located at 56th and Master, in West Philadelphia.
Umoja in Swahili means unity.
For 40 years, she ran a residential program for at-risk males. Her new program will focus on 15 to 18-year-olds. "They are the ones doing the most dying."
Fattah says they have trained professionals coming in who will teach things like coping and forgiveness.
"Social media has now become the parent. I noticed that this is a drug society and that whatever is wrong, you just take a pill. We have to begin with you think before you act and so how does the brain operate? How do you go from saying that you have a right to kill somebody to understanding that nobody has that right?" Fattah questioned.
So, the Value of Human Life after-school program was born.
"Hurt people, hurt people and we, as a people, in our DNA, are very hurt people. Over 400 years and we’ve experienced a great deal of hurt. So, we’re going to begin with trying to deal with what do you do with that hurt? How do you handle it?" Fattah commented.
Fattah and her team are also looking at a different approach to teaching compassion by bringing in a professional dog trainer, for example, in the way that it’s helped veterans and people with disabilities cope.
"When you have a pet, you know you have to take care of that pet. It must be fed, he has to have exercise. So, you’re learning how to care. If you care, you don’t kill," Fattah remarked.
She says gun violence will never be eradicated, but we can’t stop working on solutions.
"I don’t know too many families in Philadelphia where they don’t know somebody who has been shot at or someone who has been killed," Fattah added. "I’m very hopeful. I’m optimistic."
More information on the program can be found here.
HOUSE OF UMOJA’S VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE INFLUENCER LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE: THE UMOJA YOUTH PEACE CORPS TO LAUNCH ON 19 APRIL 2022
“A child that is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.” -African Proverb-
PHILADELPHIA, PA (USA) -- 26 March 2022 - The House of Umoja, Inc. (www.houseofumoja.net) will launch its Youth Peace Corps, a component of the Fattah Peace Academy and the UMOJA INTENTIONAL COMMUNITY on Tuesday, 19 April 2022. The Umoja Youth Peace Corps is an influencer leadership initiative centered around peace, the family of community, culture, healing and an African Proverb which warns: "A child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.”
An after school program, the Youth Peace Corps will nurture youths, ages 15 through 18, by providing them with a well-round array of training ranging from communications, mental and physical wellness, Blockchain Basics entrepreneurship, dog training, and art therapy. Each day begins with a meal and Adella with Queen Mother Falaka Fattah. Adella is a Swahili word that means “just” or “fair” and is formed around the value of the extended family, creating a safe space, and a tool for conflict resolution. Adella became the order within a home of fifteen (15) boys when Queen Mother in 1969 invited the gang members of her son's gang to live in her home. d Adella is a proven model that has worked in West African societies from ancient times and throughout the House of Umoja, Inc.’s existence as a residential home, safe haven, and peacemaker in the streets.
“We are in a season of Sankofa. Sankofa is a principle created by the Akan Tribe of Ghana which reminds us that remembering the past is the pathway to making positive progress in the future. This wise principle is based on an Akan proverb translated from the Akan language which states, ‘It is not taboo to fetch what you forgot’. The current set of challenges that engulf our community reminds each of us that if we intend to resolve the challenges besieging our community, we must first know who we truly are, our heritage, our history, and the world around us we have collectively forgotten. Until we do, we will not make positive progress and it will be very difficult for us to better ourselves and our community and effectively teach and support our community’s Next Generation of Leaders – our youth. As The House of Umoja, Inc. retrieves past violence reduction strategies, we realize we have always moved in partnership with our youth and kinship community. Our youth have an integral role in crafting, applying, and evaluating violence reduction strategies that are relevant in today’s society. It is our responsibility to develop a generation of effective leaders. We can begin by teaching our youth how to solve problems and the principles of effective leadership and supporting their vision for the future,” remarked Queen Mother Falaka Fattah, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the House of Umoja, Inc. (www.houseofumoja.net).
Cognizant of the dire need to move a new generation of souls to commit to nonviolence, the House of Umoja partnered with the SCI Phoenix LIFERS Inc. (www.palifersinc.org), a nationally acclaimed “inside-out” Criminal Justice Reform, Reentry, and Restorative Justice Think Tank in research driven solutions-based modeling to help bring healing and peace to the City of Philadelphia. The Umoja Intentional Community, born from this initiative, is a structured alignment and an acknowledgement of the strengths, intent, and actions of the House of Umoja's actual community.
“This is what we call the UMOJA INTENTIONAL COMMUNITY. Umoja leverages its fifty-three years of experience with violence reduction, conflict resolution, peace treaties, safe corridors, non-violence advocacy, community-school programming, and Black male, youth, and family development to strategically employ a pilot model program built on the foundation of violence-free zones, Carroll Park is the initial defined violence-free zone. Our youth, the most impacted by the violence, are directly involved in helping create the peace through the Umoja Intentional Community Youth Peace Corps and trained through the Fattah Peace Academy. Eleventh and twelfth grade students from Carroll Park high schools will make up the fifteen member cohorts. Each cohort is twelve weeks and meets weekly from three o’clock through five o’clock on Tuesday afternoons through Friday afternoons. Programming includes anger and stress management, conflict resolution, music, art and gardening therapy, the power of thought and language, forgiveness and intention, WalkNWellness™, neighborhood history, financial literacy, how to find and apply for scholarships, career development, entrepreneurship, self-expression, and the Rap Council which will facilitate a multigenerational conversation through rap where students learn to use their lyrical talents to speak life, not death,” explained Queen Mother Falaka Fattah.
Established in 1968, the House of Umoja, Inc. is an internationally acclaimed institution that has, for five decades, designed and implemented timeless Global Models for eradicating violence, fostering community development, creating economic sustainability, and addressing many of the key challenges that prevent boys and adolescent males from reaching their full potential and maturing into productive and successful adults. Its successful track record of positively transforming the lives of approximately 3,000 male adolescents and reducing gang violence, moved universities and institutions to seek the House of Umoja, Inc.’s expertise. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Prevention and the Center for Disease Control were among the institutions that sought the House of Umoja, Inc.’s expertise on gang violence reduction, youth programming, and community organizing. Former United States Presidents The Honorable James Earl Carter, Jr. and the late Honorable Ronald Wilson Reagan recognized the House of Umoja, Inc. for its pioneering work that has been documented in published articles such as “A Summons To Life,” by Robert Woodson of the American Enterprise Institute (www.aei.org) in 1981 and “The Violent Juvenile Offender,” by Paul DeMuro and Richard Allison of the National Council On Crime and Delinquency (www.nccdglobal.org), in 1984.
For further information about the UMOJA Intentional Community, the UMOJA Youth Peace Corps, and the House of Umoja, Inc., visit the organization’s website at www.houseofumoja.net or call (215) 473-5893 or send an e-mail to: email@example.com.