April 11, 2013
By Kathy Williamson
LAWT Contributing Writer
A group of serious young adults from Nookoping, Sweden raised money through multiple fundraisers to travel to Los Angeles for the purpose of learning skills that would aid them in their ground level quest to stop violence in their communities.
Nookoping has a population of about 130,000 compared to Los Angeles’ (city) population of over 3.8 million. Burgeoning violence in recent years prompted the group (“Back Up”) to seek techniques from Aquil Basheer and PCITI (Professional Community Intervention Training Institute).
On Thursday, March 28, Back Up observed the 16th PCITI certification class during demonstrations of situational scenarios and mediation roleplaying.
“If you don’t build collaborative networks to do the process then you do yourself a disservice because it only works in your neighborhood or comfort zone. The process has to be replicated… it’s like speaking the same language in different venues,” explained Basheer.
“This group from Nookoping visited us in 2009 to learn some skillsets and operational structure to get ahead of the surge of violence in their communities. They have now returned to get some advance training to bring back to Sweden.”
Michelle Miller, a Los Angeles transplant, social worker and trip coordinator for Back Up said, “The problems are not all at the same levels that they are in Los Angeles…there is drug abuse… and different areas of town that are fighting each other. Most of the ‘gang violence’ is people trying to copy gangs here in the United States.”
Miller also described culture clashes between groups that have immigrated to Sweden to escape problems in Iraq and the Middle East; and Swedish youth against Asian youth, etc.
“Violence is so universal,” said Basheer. “At the request of organizations and governments, PCITI has traveled to China, Argentina, Israel, El Salvador, Africa, Canada and multiple areas of the United States to share proven, structured training and protocol.”
Miller said that Back Up is looking forward to continued collaboration with PCITI and using the skills that the group has learned to advance peace in their communities.
PCITI can be reached at www.MaximumForceEnterprises.org or (800) 926-2155.