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UNITED IN PEACE and the Up Fest Peace Rides is a growing multi-ethnic, multi-faith popular movement that is successfully uniting the diverse peoples of Los Angeles County to work together in bringing peace to our inner cities. The goal is to reduce the negativity of violence in our communities by concentrating more of our peoples attention and energy on creating the positivity of peace.

“In the name of the 25,000 who have been murdered in Los Angeles,” [1] Minister Tony Muhammad began in prayer, speaking to an inter-faith and multi-ethnic gathering in Leimert Park in August 2014, “help us to stop the murdering that we are doing at our own hand. And let us come together in unity, having no doubt that we can stop the killing of us by us. Enough is enough. Amen.” Muhammad, who leads the Western Region of the Nation of Islam, founded the United in Peace Foundation in 2012 with the goal of bringing together faiths and ethnicities toward the immediate goal of creating a “cease-fire” to curb inner-city gang violence in Los Angeles, particularly among African Americans. The ultimate goal, however, is the creation of a nationwide movement to promote unity and peace among all ethnic and religious groups.

The Foundation holds an annual Unity and Peace Festival (“UPFest”) and additionally sponsors monthly Peace Walks and Peace Rides to promote unity in Los Angeles inner city neighborhoods. [2] “Minister Tony,” as he is known, targets neighborhoods that have recently experienced the trauma of a murder, and then advertises on the radio and in churches to solicit participants. Over a dozen rides have taken place across Los Angeles, Long Beach, Compton, Carson, and Inglewood since 2012. [3] The rides started with motorcycles and expanded to include low-riders, Corvettes, and mini-bikes. Prior to the Peace Rides, Muhammad did not ride, but quickly learned how to ride both sports bikes and Harley Davidson models. Though founded and largely staffed by members of the Nation of Islam, Muhammad has enlisted the assistance of members of other religious traditions, including Scientologists and Christians, particularly African American Baptists and Evangelicals. In many ways, the Peace Rides build on pre-existing relationships within these communities as Scientologists have collaborated with African American-affiliated churches and mosques for years, especially in the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.

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