LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — An overflow crowd has gathered Sunday at a community center in south Los Angeles for an anti-gang summit organized by the rapper The Game.
The Game called the town hall-style meeting with Los Angeles-area gang members to discuss ways to curb violence. He put the word out last week on social media, inviting leaders of the Crips, Bloods and other street gangs to come together for “Time To Unite: United Hoods + Gangs Nation.”
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and performer Will.i.am along with anti-gang activists and gang members were inside the center. Outside, the crowd was peaceful and water was being handed out to help battle the heat.
Before going inside, Beck chatted with the crowd outside, but it was unclear whether he would speak during the meeting. Beck shook hands with The Game and the two hugged.
Beck said the meeting was a step in the right direction toward peace, especially considering the police shootings Sunday morning in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Beck said LAPD would double air for officers on the ground who respond to calls.
“We’re making sure that there’s no one-person cars responding to emergency calls,” Beck said, adding that beginning Monday, all officers would be in uniform.
However, there wasn’t a big police presence at the summit, where a few hundred people had gathered.
The Game, who grew up as Jayceon Terrell Taylor in nearby Compton, said he wants men to have a “much-needed conversation” about their influence on young people and how to serve as better role models.
“Because the sad truth that no one wants to face is, before we can get our lives to matter to anyone else… We have to show that our lives matter to us,” he wrote on Instagram July 14.
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Good morning world. I hope everyone slept well….. Los Angeles, on behalf of myself @SnoopDogg, & the honorable @louisfarrakhan I want to extend the invitation to all CRIPS, BLOODS, ESE's & all other gang members, major figures & GANG LEADERS from every hood in our city as well as the surrounding cities to our meeting 11am this morning, July 17th at 8039 S. Vermont Ave Los Angeles, California 90044 to have the much needed conversation amongst ourselves about our influence on the youth in our respective neighborhoods & how we can serve as better role models to them & the brothers we stand beside daily…. Because the sad truth that no one wants to face is, before we can get OUR LIVES TO MATTER to anyone else… We have to show that OUR LIVES MATTER to US !!!! WE have been responsible for more of the KILLING of ourselves than anyone else by a long shot & the percentages in which BLACK on BLACK, BLACK on BROWN, BROWN on BLACK, BROWN on BROWN murders are so fucking high verses any other killing of us that it is disgusting & this needs to be addressed & laid to rest !!!!! Don't think we can't change it & better ourselves, lead by example & make our city a safer place for our children…. Because together, WE CAN !!!! I'm asking everyone who will attend: DO NOT bring any weapons or anything illegal. Do not come high or belligerent.. We don't need any HOT HEADS or anyone there for the wrong reasons or you will respectfully dealt with & REMOVED from the building… We will stand as we are, UNIFIED. I'm calling ALL GANGS, of ALL RACES, ALL GROWN MEN affiliated or not & WE WILL STAND UNIFIED SUNDAY !!!! Our numbers are all the weapons we need !!! We do not need to be dumb, retarded or uncivilized Sunday… ALL WE NEED IS EACH OTHER… I will not lead any of you into a trap !!!!! LET'S do the opposite of what we've been doing & show the world that we are MORE than the problem… Thank you – Game
Snoop Dogg and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan also were expected to attend.
Earlier this month, The Game and Snoop Dogg led a peaceful march to Los Angeles police headquarters, where they met with the mayor and police chief and urged improved relations between authorities and minority communities.
The rappers are among many activists and celebrities calling for change following the police-related killings of black men nationwide and the shooting deaths of five police officers in Dallas by a lone gunman motivated by racial hatred.
CBS2’s Greg Mills attended the gang summit, also a plea for people to stop killing each other.
Many in the crowd had their thoughts on Baton Rouge — the recent killing of a black man and an ambush on officers Sunday.
“Terrible. Horrible it’s the kind of thing that should not happen,” said Danny Bakewell with Brotherhood Crusade.
Mayor Garcetti was also quick to condemn the violence against police.
“We condemn all the acts of violence in the strongest terms. Three more officers whose families won’t see them tonight,” Garcetti said.
One of the event’s guest speakers, from the Nation of Islam, also condemned the violence.
Tony Muhammad quoted scripture.
“As you have done so shall it be done unto you. No one should have to die. No one should be killed but it has to be justice.”
Other residents called for the community to put down their guns.
“We have to first stop the killing in our own community of each other before we can then go out to others,” said Bakewell. “You can only suppress and oppress any people for so long without there being a turning point and a boiling point.”
The Game told Mills he organized today’s event because he’s a parent.
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