By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
The name stems from the nine months it takes for a baby to be born and the grounds where they are living are where the 1980 Miami Riots started.
Nine strong Black men have spent the last 12 days living off nothing but water and sleeping on cots, living inside rough-and-ready tents at the corner of 62nd Street and 12th Avenue in the heart of Liberty City on the grounds where the Miami riots of 1980 started. Two times a day medics check on their health status.
“Our group is made of some of the men who have come from the streets of this city and who realize that some of them may have contributed to the current violence and want to change it. We can try to correct it,” said Ed Haynes, a member and one of the spokesman for the group.
Their goal: to end gun violence where they live, work and play. The length of the hunger strike has not been determined.
“This wasn’t born out of an event or an incident. Everywhere you go people have priorities. Some people’s priorities are to build a wall. Our priority is to stop the killings in our community,” said Lyle Muhammad, the Brotherhood’s executive director and spokesman.
On the grounds of the makeshift tents is a tee-shirt garden. In the garden hangs tee-shirts of those who have been killed by gun violence.
There is a tee-shirt of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old Miami Gardens teen who was killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman at his father’s Central Florida home as Martin was returning from buying some Skittles at a local convenience store. Muhammad said Martin’s parents had visited the site.
Another tee-shirt was for Isaiah Balbona, an 18-year-old highlighted in a Miami Herald series on gun violence and youths, who was shot dead when he was ambushed in a car in Opa-locka last December as his sister sat beside him.
“The Circle of Brotherhood is more than a group of men protesting gun violence. “We are about making a difference in the lives of those who live here,” Haynes said.
Seven days into the strike there had not been any deaths as it related to guns.
Then on Saturday, a 6-year-old child in his Miami Gardens home found a gun and accidentally took his own life. A few blocks away from the protest on Sunday, a 15-year-old boy was shot in the legs. There was no report on how he was doing or the reasons for his shooting.
The Circle of Brotherhood goes into the hardest areas to make a difference.
Ed Haynes in speaking for the group stated that the beliefs of the group are tied into the history before this. “We believe that we can make a difference because we helped to create this mess and we can help to clean it up.”