What Cost Peace? The D.C. government has given Ronald Moten's Peaceoholics $10 million to quash street beefs. What has it gotten?

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Police cars and yellow caution tape line the intersection of Alabama Avenue and Congress Street SE on a Monday night in August. A young man named Stephon Hooks has been shot in the leg and is on his way to Washington Hospital Center. D.C. police are milling around, a few taking notes or looking for shell casings. The shooting is one of more than 60 that took place in August.

Ronald Moten has already visited the crime scene. He’s now a few blocks away, driving his Yukon Denali and monitoring the situation via BlackBerry. Moten isn’t a police officer; he’s not even a city employee. He’s a co-founder of the nonprofit youth services group Peaceoholics. When someone in D.C. is shot, he’s often the first to hear about it.

Moments after hearing about the shooting, the 39-year-old Moten and two of his employees, ex-felons tasked with violence intervention and youth outreach, have started an investigation. They want to find the shooter, or at least the person who everyone thinks pulled the trigger. Because if there’s one thing Moten knows, it’s that one shooting begets another. Stopping that scenario from playing out is the core of Moten’s mission as leader of Peaceoholics, a name they define as people “addicted to peace.”

If you’re not familiar with Moten and his group, you’re not familiar with crime in the District. When asked who’s in charge of the scene at Alabama and Congress, an officer replies, “Probably that dude from Peaceoholics; he’s the big boss around here.” Standing nearby, a police lieutenant says she has no idea what Moten is doing. “He didn’t speak to me or any of my officers,” she says.

That’s because Moten is wired at the upper echelons of the city bureaucracy. He bypasses mid-level law enforcement and handles his business at street level, where his word is his bond. And with 50 or so ex-felons on his payroll, who he can dispatch at any hour of the day or night to quash a beef between rival crews or stop a school shooting, Moten has tentacles into communities that distrust the government and the police. Founded on the idea that no one can talk to misguided youth like a “returned citizen,” as the group refers to ex-felons, Peaceoholics display an evangelical zeal not commonly found in the grass-roots nonprofit sector. Their mantra is: “It’s not a job; it’s a ministry.”

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Moten is one minister who doesn’t wait for permission from above before acting. Asked if the city has abdicated public safety and social services responsibilities to Peaceoholics, he puts it like this: “They don’t abdicate nothing to us. When we first went into the schools [to quell violence] they didn’t ask us to come in; we went in. The police or the mayor, they don’t tell us what to do; God tells us what to do. We don’t work for the government; the government works for us.”

That’s certainly how a Peaceoholics detractor would frame the situation. Since 2005, Peaceoholics has received more than $10 million in grants and loans from the D.C. government and agencies that work closely with the city on youth social services. Most of that money, about $500,000 per month, goes toward salaries, expenses and rent for the group’s office in Southeast D.C.

Proving expert at wringing cash out of the public sector, Moten is getting Peaceoholics into real estate. In May, the group snared a $5 million loan on bargain terms from the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development. The idea is to renovate three multi-unit buildings in low-income areas into affordable housing for youths transitioning out of detention. If all goes according to plan, public dollars ordinarily spent on individual kids for a variety of social services will end up in Peaceoholics’ coffers as they serve those same kids in a privately owned local setting.

Yet just what Peaceoholics does with its grants has surfaced as a public issue twice in 2009. In March, the administration of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty decided to donate a fire engine and ambulance to the Dominican Republic without the approval of the D.C. Council. A crony of the mayor enlisted Moten to get Peaceoholics to act as a conduit for the donation, which has taken on the look of a mini-scandal involving Caribbean junkets for allies of the Fenty administration. The whole affair is now under investigation by the D.C. Inspector General’s Office. “I know for a fact that nothing was done wrong,” says Moten.

And just last month, Peaceoholics mentor Barry Harrison was convicted of five counts of enticing a minor and sexual assault in connection with his work at Spingarn High School. Harrison, it turns out, had been convicted of murder in the 1980s and was released from prison in 2006. Moten claimed a police background check went back only 10 years. Moten has vowed to push for appeal of the conviction.

There’s a reason, though, why Harrison was roaming Spingarn without supervision and why Peaceoholics is getting sweetheart loan terms from DHCD, why city agencies simply throw money at the group.

It’s because D.C. can’t handle its young. The list of D.C. agencies in charge of ministering to kids—Child and Family Services Agency, Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, D.C. Public Schools—is also a list of some of the city’s famously dysfunctional bureaucracies—fumbling, often corrupt entities that have repeatedly failed their “customers.”

Enter Moten, a tireless, charismatic and sometimes aggressive whirlwind of a man who has established a rapport with D.C. youth. This very mismatch—the city’s ineffectiveness and Moten’s skillfulness—has provided a great market opportunity for Peaceoholics. As city agencies avoided street-level intervention, Moten’s 70-employee group soaked up millions of public dollars.

Richard Norman, an advisory board member of the Salvation Army, says, “When there’s something good, Ron goes for it. He doesn’t always do extensive due diligence. But I tell him, when you have good intentions, and you make a mistake, then all is forgiven. I have a lot of admiration for him. He’s got 20 cakes baking in the oven as we speak—and you don’t know about 19 of them.”

Moten puts the matter in simpler terms. “We on the ground with the people,” he says shortly after the Congress Street shooting. “We know what’s going on; we in the trenches. There’s nobody else in the city doing this to the degree we are. No-body.”

And on this night, Moten and his cohorts are looking to back up those words. In fact, they’ve already figured out where to find the prime suspect.

 

Two decades ago, 20-year-old Ronald Moten was making a good name for himself as a workaday guy. He had a job in the special events department at Georgetown University Hospital. According to his boss at the time, Alanis E. Thomas, Moten showed “honesty, diligence, and job integrity” as he rose from temp worker to full-time events manager.

Moten was making a different kind of name for himself around Petworth, where he lived with his grandmother. Police were following him around on the suspicion that he was supplying large amounts of crack cocaine to various street dealers. Moten had prior arrests as a juvenile and was on probation from a conspiracy conviction in New Jersey.

One day in 1991, after he made a drug sale, agents came onto his grandmother’s porch, where Moten was standing with his brother and father. Moten bolted inside, onto the roof, across the roofs of several row houses and broke into one of them, where he was arrested. In 1992, he was sentenced to four years in federal prison. He was 21.

Though Moten’s path to incarceration was typical for a young black man in D.C., he has long since broken the stereotype of what comes after prison. No slipups, no legal setbacks, no scores to settle. In 2004, an informant who was working with federal agents tried to sell him large quantities of marijuana to distribute. Moten didn’t bite—not because he was suspicious, he says, but because he wasn’t interested. “In my heart I knew I was never gonna sell drugs again,” Moten says. “If I had done or said anything wrong, I’d have gone to jail.”

Peaceoholics formed in 2005, but by then, Moten says, he had spent a decade working in communities for free. After prison, where he educated himself about the civil rights movement and the philosophy of non-violence, Moten worked with Peaceoholics co-founder Jauhar Abraham at a group called Cease Fire: Don’t Smoke the Brothers. He and Abraham also were frequent visitors to the chambers of the D.C. Council, where they spoke out on everything from schools to gun laws.

After they left Cease Fire, their work continued with little pay. “I was heating water in the microwave so I could take a bath,” Moten says of the lean years, before his salary grew to $90,000 a year. “I told Jauhar, ‘I can’t do this for free no more.’”

As it turned out, he didn’t have to. His growing reputation as a street-level problem solver was attractive to politicians and civil servants who had no concept of how to deal with youth violence. This set the stage for a unique contractual relationship: The city gives money to Peaceoholics and crosses its fingers that the group does some good.

The first grant came in July 2005 from the D.C. Department of Human Services. The grant was for $9,420 for Peaceoholics to mentor gang members at Oak Hill Youth Center. In September 2005, the group received $99,995 to assist low-income families and at-risk youth in Wards 7 and 8 and to intervene in crises in “hot spot” neighborhoods—an assignment that would net Peaceoholics an additional $246,000 through 2007.

DHS could not produce any contract to spell out the details of Peaceoholics’ work. Robert Warren, an assistant attorney general in charge of FOIA requests for DHS, tells Washington City Paper, “I didn’t know DHS had a contract with Peaceoholics. When I asked around the department, all I got was blank stares.”

Instead, DHS released a two-page, unsigned, undated agreement titled “Expert Consultant in Support of the Department of Youth Rehabilitative Services.” The agreement calls for a monthly financial report and a 75 percent reduction in violent events at Oak Hill, plus a 75 percent reduction in violent acts and homicides involving Oak Hill alumni within 60 days of release. No documentation was provided to show these goals were met.

During the same period, Peaceoholics was gaining traction at DYRS. The only D.C. agency to come up with any compliance documentation, DYRS reports that Peaceoholics received a $9,420 grant in 2005 to do the exact same thing the group was doing for DHS at the time: serve as expert consultants and gang interventionists at Oak Hill. By the end of 2006, the group also received $700,000 to counsel youths and families, reduce violent crime and gang activity, and conduct a community re-entry program for youths. Peaceoholics received $988,000 in 2007 and 2008 for its community re-entry work.

Unlike the DHS grants, DYRS executed a contract with Peaceoholics, which called for 75 percent of the community re-entry program’s participants—up to 25 youths at one time—to not get re-arrested. The contract also called for one-on-one and emergency group counseling sessions and attempts to re-enroll youths in school. Modifications to the agreement in 2008 cut down the number of youths required to be served by as much as 50 percent.

Though DYRS specified numerous compliance requirements and goals for Peaceoholics, the only documentation provided consisted of checklists. Peaceoholics largely complied with requirements that they communicate with young men coming out of juvenile detention through group and individual counseling sessions—benchmarks that are fuzzy and resistant to quantification.

However, one area that lent itself to quantification was the requirement that 65 percent of youths in the community re-entry program were to avoid a criminal offense in the first year after release, and 75 percent were to be engaged in work, school, or mentoring. That was marked “Non-compliant.”

DYRS Director Vincent Schiraldi declined repeated interview requests. “We’re going to have to decline comment right now,” says department spokesperson Reginald Sanders, referring questions to the mayor’s office.

“I don’t know why DYRS sent you to me,” replies Fenty’s communications director Mafara Hobson. “We don’t have anyone in our office that works directly with Peaceoholics.”

Other government officials are mum about Peaceoholics. In 2007, the deputy mayor for planning and economic development gave Peaceoholics $15,000 for “community development consulting,” but there’s no contract or work plan, much less a report on what the group did. “We don’t have any reporting documents in our files,” Sean Madigan, communications director for the deputy mayor, wrote in an e-mail in May. In July he added, “Our office has really had limited relationship with this group. They work primarily with the D.C. schools and the police department.”

The D.C. Police Department, however, took six weeks following a FOIA request to produce a two-page purchase order in the amount of $199,433 to Peaceoholics for “youth care services,” in 2007. Police Chief Cathy Lanier declined to answer any questions. “She won’t be doing any interviews about Peaceoholics,” says a spokesperson for Lanier. “We’re gonna let what we disclosed stand on its own.”

 

The first high-profile mission Peaceoholics undertook was to intervene in a conflict surrounding Ballou High School in early 2004, when a rash of violence was terrorizing the community. Police and school officials did not fully appreciate that neighborhood conflict was being brought into school, and vice versa, Moten says. Someone needed to reach out to local shot callers to stem the violence.

Moten says the Ballou effort came, as always, from the heart. “These are our children, our babies. We had to do something about it.” And no rent-a-cop was going to bar Moten & Co. from the school’s hallways. “No one asked us to come in,” says Moten. “We forced our way in.”

Around the time of the Ballou troubles, several other DCPS outposts also were struggling with schoolhouse violence. And the hot spots just happened to overlap with neighborhoods where Moten and Peaceoholics had contacts and influence.

Yet schools Superintendent Dr. Clifford Janey wasn’t about to throw open the doors for Peaceoholics. There were policies, after all, that had to be followed. According to DCPS documents, the school system had a zero tolerance policy and did not grant waivers to those who have a violent criminal past or history of drug use. Federal mandates also required criminal background checks.

In 2005, Ward 4 Councilmember Adrian M. Fenty introduced emergency legislation requiring a stringent background check policy for employees and volunteers of agencies that worked with children. The policy weakened, however, once Fenty became mayor, took over the school system, fired Janey, and tapped former teacher and nonprofit honcho Michelle Rhee to serve as its chancellor.

From her very first days in office, Rhee was hell on red tape. Excessive forms and permissions and procedures, Rhee declared, were part of the reason that the city’s public schools had failed its children.

So the new boss loosened barriers for Peaceoholics operatives. The standard moved from zero tolerance to case-by-case review: DCPS worked with Peaceoholics and other groups to vet intervention workers whose backgrounds contained drug convictions. Access ensued. From September 2007 until April this year, Peaceoholics were able to work in some of the city’s roughest high schools, as Rhee tried to stem violence and advance her reform agenda.

One of the people who made it into the system was Barry Harrison, a Peaceoholic who was detailed to Spingarn High School. Released from prison after 20 years in 2006, convicted of cocaine possession in 2008, Harrison joined Peaceoholics in late February. After a two-week training period in March he was working as a mentor at Spingarn, responsible for keeping the school’s hallways safe. A mere two weeks into his assignment, however, Harrison allegedly took an inappropriate liking to some of the female students he was supposed to be helping. According to court records, Harrison said the following to one: “I want more than a mentor relationship, I want a ‘friends with benefits’ relationship.” Harrison, 50, was accused in April of pursuing sexual relationships with several teenage girls and molesting one in the basement stairwell of Spingarn. The trial pitted four girls who painted Harrison as a predator against a pair of teenagers who said the girls concocted their stories and were out to get Harrison. Aided by surveillance photos, circumstantial witnesses, and Harrison’s admission that he had been alone in the stairwell with a 15-year-old girl, the jury found Harrison guilty on Sept. 4.

Dressed in sharp suits and different designer glasses each day, Moten, Jauhar Abraham, and dozens of Peaceoholics employees made a strong showing of support for Harrison. Moten testified on his behalf, digressing into a lengthy discourse from the witness box about Peaceoholics’ righteous cause. His speechmaking prompted D.C. Superior Court Judge Michael Rankin to protest at one point: “You have every right to be proud of your accomplishments. But this is not United States v. Peaceoholics.”

In the hallway during court breaks, Abraham and Moten claimed there were key discrepancies in the girls’ testimonies. “I know they lyin’,” Moten said. “I know these girls from the street.” The two top Peaceoholics also contended that a detective lied about reviewing a text message from the alleged victim that did not exist. They concluded there is a conspiracy against them and ex-offenders.

“You gotta see the whole picture,” Abraham said. “At some levels the police and the schools don’t want us involved to the extent we are. Some police have a problem with us being in schools and hiring ex-offenders and finding out about what happens before they do. We don’t necessarily tell them what we know. But we lookin’ out for public safety.”

Harrison’s conviction could send him back to prison for 40 years. “It’s a setback for a comeback,” Moten says of the verdict. “It’s not about [Harrison], it’s about me and Jauhar. We know what we gotta do.”

The case forced DCPS to cease turning to Peaceoholics to maintain order in the city’s most troubled high schools, and it also exposed a shortcoming in Peaceoholics’ regimen: as redeemed and well-meaning as they are, Peaceoholics are not formally trained to work with children. “Regardless of whether Peaceoholics are doing God’s work, they do not have adequate policies in place to supervise the people they hire,” argued Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward O’Connell at trial.

Moten points to voluminous statistics that Peaceoholics keeps that show violence prevented, beefs mediated, grade point averages raised, and school enrollment increased. “We’ve never received money without being held accountable,” he protests. “Some people write pretty proposals and reports and can’t do any work. Some things you can’t put on paper. Only God knows. You don’t know because you not in the street.”

The Harrison ordeal raises a key question about Rhee’s management of DCPS. Did she recklessly cut through established procedures and leave students dangerously exposed to ex-cons?

City records show Peaceoholics working from September 2007 to April 2009 at Ballou, Dunbar, Cardozo, and Anacostia Senior High Schools. A $1 million earmark from Fenty’s 2008 budget went for violence intervention in schools, trips and activities to engage students, tracking down truant youth, and providing classroom and hallway support.

When asked, DCPS provided no evidence of compliance with its own application and background check policy for the workers, despite records of 19 Peaceoholics working unsupervised in the four high schools—many of them ex-offenders.

Rhee declined to be interviewed for this story. In an e-mail, communications director Jennifer Calloway offers, “While Peaceoholics’ relationship with DCPS predates our tenure, the organization is part of a District-wide focus on proactively addressing school climate. We strongly believe that to make a meaningful impact inside a school building it has to be a collective effort.”

No doubt. But an administration initiative appears to reflect a consensus within the Fenty–Rhee regime that they really screwed up with respect to Peaceoholics: Spokesperson Mafara Hobson recently released a written policy and application that would preclude many Peaceoholics from working with youth in an unsupervised setting. Hobson didn’t answer questions about exceptions to the policy or how the case-by-case vetting process worked.

In D.C.’s fractured bureaucracy, Rhee and company are not the only gatekeepers monitoring who can walk the halls of the public schools. The D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation (CYITC), a public-private entity, oversees government-funded programs inside the schools. CYITC has specific policies in place—but that doesn’t mean they applied to Peaceoholics.

Millicent Williams, president and CEO of CYITC, which provides $3 million in grants to Peaceoholics in addition to the city funding it oversees, says CYITC’s policy is to screen out applicants with felony drug charges within the last seven years. Yet City Paper identified at least three Peaceoholics who had served federal prison time for drug dealing within seven years of working at three of the four high schools where CYITC oversaw funds earmarked by the city.

One of those employees is Eric “Bo-Jack” Butcher. In 2006, Butcher pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin, crack, and PCP, in a case that included federal RICO charges. He was sentenced to five years in federal prison. Butcher, a confidant of the leader of the conspiracy (who is serving life in prison), admitted to the sale, preparation and transportation of drugs to D.C. from as far away as Phoenix. Butcher is perhaps best known as a conga player in legendary D.C. go-go band Rare Essence.

With time served and a shortened sentence, Butcher was released from federal prison on July 11, 2008. DCPS records obtained by City Paper show that Butcher was employed at Ballou within 30 days of his release to mediate and intervene in youth conflict, facilitate student trips and activities, and provide classroom and hallway support. “He’s one of my best employees,” insists Moten.

CYITC is listed as the monitor of the grant that funded Peaceoholics’ services at Ballou from August 2008 to March of this year. Williams could not explain how Butcher and others slipped through CYITC’s screening policy. Asked about DCPS’ policy on ex-offenders, Williams replies, “I wish I knew.”

Peaceoholics’ brushes with the school system underscore a broader problem for Moten. On any given day Moten must rely on mentors who work without supervision at odd hours. Peaceoholics often go out in the middle of the night to find out about a shooting or stop another one from occurring. Moten insists that all employees undergo FBI background checks to prevent them from running afoul of the law. “We also do street background checks that are better than anything FBI can do,” he boasts.

But Moten can’t be everywhere and know everything. For example, despite Peaceoholics’ zero-tolerance drug policy, his top mentor at Spingarn, Tracy Fells, who was sentenced in 1989 to 20 years for running a $4,000 a week cocaine ring, tested positive for THC in February, then again on May 6, after which he denied drug use, according to federal court records. Fells failed three more drug tests—June 11, June 25, and July 9—before facing possible probation violations.

Moten says Fells has since tested clean, and that he has faith the situation in federal court will be resolved.

Moten’s faith in character extends to his topmost advisors. At that level, he must rely on a different set of attributes than street credibility and instincts. He must rely on the competence and fiscal integrity of lawyers and business people.

According to documents filed with DHCD, Peaceoholics retains the legal services of Maryland attorney Sharon Styles-Anderson. In 2007, Anderson was slapped with a $25,000 judgment for money she owed to the State Department Federal Credit Union, a nonprofit financial cooperative. Anderson also is general counsel, community development coordinator, and minister with Johenning Temple of Praise in Southeast. A year earlier, in 2006, her husband, Willie Charles Anderson Jr., also a minister with Temple of Praise, was hit for a $26,000 judgment related to the same credit union. Styles-Anderson declined to comment for this story.

Willie Anderson, a Peaceoholics employee involved in youth re-entry programs and real estate development, has a colorful past. Arrested for murder in 1972, convicted of manslaughter in 1977 and heroin distribution in 1985, Anderson, at age 61, is hardly a danger to anyone these days. In addition to his ministry at Temple of Faith, he is a worldly alcohol awareness adviser.

Anderson’s vocation is a perfect fit for Peaceoholics. Moten insists the group has had such success in D.C. with its youth programs that it is constantly in demand in cities in California and Washington State and Caribbean islands such as St. Maarten, where Moten recently traveled after a family vacation in Florida.

Anderson has found his services in need abroad as well. In addition to trips to Africa, he has traveled to St. Lucia to do outreach work as a substance abuse counselor and pastor, court records state.

But his portfolio of services also led him astray in 2005, when he was caught taking cash in exchange for court-ordered alcohol abuse education certificates required by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. Convicted of accepting bribes as a public official—his company, American Recovery Management Strategies was a state contractor—Anderson received a slap on the wrist: three years unsupervised probation.

Soon thereafter, he joined Peaceoholics. “He’s a smart man, and I’ve learned a great deal from him,” Moten says of his lawyer’s husband. “We all make mistakes. I’m confident he’s put his past behind him.”

 

It’s a time-honored tradition of big-city politics, an inevitable progression: Local man does good deeds for a troubled community, gets big contracts from the city to expand his operations, and turns his attention to…real estate.

In May, Peaceoholics purchased three multi-unit buildings slated for affordable housing re-development. The buildings are located on Meigs Place NE, in Trinidad, on Oklahoma Avenue NE, across from RFK Stadium, and on Congress Street SE, in Congress Park. The total purchase price for the three properties was $3.1 million.

In buying the properties, Moten didn’t go on the Internet and comparison-shop for mortgages. He received $5 million in loans from DHCD, in connection with the city’s Strategic Housing Intervention Program.

According to Najuma Thorpe, spokeswoman for DHCD, the program will provide up to 50 units of housing for at-risk youths who are either living without parents or coming out of foster care or the judicial system. DHCD is working with DYRS and the D.C Child and Family Services Agency to ensure Peaceoholics provides affordable housing as a means to reduce crime and help youths become more independent. Moten says eventually the youths will have the opportunity to own their first apartment.

The loans come with favorable terms: principle and 3 percent interest payments are deferred for 18 months on $4.4 million of the loans; the remaining $600,000 comes with a .5 percent interest rate that accrues while principle payments are deferred for 12 months. The loans were made in July and December of last year—before Peaceoholics became embroiled in the fire engine scandal. “The city makes these kinds of loans all the time,” Moten insists.

As is the case with most of its grants, Peaceoholics was awarded the loans without bidding competitively. The group is prevented from selling the properties for 40 years and must use them exclusively for youth housing. According to Abraham, that does not prevent the group from borrowing against the properties. To repay the loans, he says the group will tap social services dollars on a per-child basis, on the principle that the District already pays to relocate dozens of wayward youth each year. Peaceoholics keeps any funds in excess of its loan obligations, Abraham says, to expand or run its programs.

The way Moten and Abraham describe it, the two entrepreneurs simply thought up the housing plan, took it to the city, and made it happen: “Some people might be jealous or say that we never done housing before,” Moten says, “but if you have the imagination and passion for helping kids, and if you can get the resources, why not?”

 

One day in August, Moten calls a young woman into his tiny, glass-enclosed office at 606 Raleigh Place SE, just off Martin Luther King Avenue. Her name is Erica B. (Though Erica is 18, City Paper agreed not to publish her last name.) Erica is due to be sentenced in D.C. Superior Court in connection with a carjacking. Her mother is sick and her father is locked up. She’s part of the Peaceoholics family now.

Erica is tall but does not exude confidence. She looks down as she talks about the carjacking. She was just hanging around the wrong people, she says. She’s never been in trouble before and doesn’t use drugs, she says. “We gonna have five or six people at her sentencing,” Moten says, noting that after Erica gets a GED—through Peaceoholics—she will help kids like herself. “We don’t do that for everybody, but it’s important to give people a chance.”

Erica might be understating her level of involvement in the street life. While Moten is out of the room senior program manager Keith “Wali” Johnson is asked about Erica, and where her life is headed. “That’s a trip right there,” he says. “You might not know it by looking at her, but she can hot-wire a car in five minutes.”

On Aug. 20, before Judge Robert Richter of D.C. Superior Court, Erica’s record is exposed. Turns out she has violated terms of her supervised release numerous times since pleading guilty in June to the carjacking.

“You pleaded guilty to a crime that the city council has said should get you not less than 15 years,” Judge Richter says, noting that Peaceoholics have submitted letters on Erica’s behalf asking for leniency. “The government gave you a good plea bargain. Now you’re gonna ask for a bigger break by asking not to be punished at all. I don’t know why you should get the benefit of the doubt,” the judge says, before continuing Erica’s sentencing to October, so she can “demonstrate an ability to change.”

After the hearing, Maia Shanklin-Roberts, a Stanford University graduate and a program coordinator with Peaceoholics, says to Erica, “We need to keep you in the house girl, have some sleepovers. And we need to find you a full time job.” Erica, who is in the 11th grade at Spingarn and enjoys art, would like to graduate someday. “I wanna walk across that stage,” she says.

For the next few weeks, Peaceoholics will not let Erica out of their sight. Such vigilance has led to 100 kids making it to college, according to Moten, who cites the group’s “Triangle in One Method,” which involves wraparound youth service in communities, schools, and the juvenile and adult justice systems.

A promising display of how youth respond to the Peaceoholics’ system occurs the Sunday before Labor Day, at a graduation ceremony at the group’s headquarters for a dozen or so girls who have come through the “Saving our Sisters” program. Moten presides proudly over what he refers to as “the next generation of Peaceoholics.”

Pink and blue balloons hang from the ceiling and trays of barbecued chicken, desserts, and gift bags are lined up on tables in the meeting room, as the girls take their turns at the microphone. Erica, considered a “high-risk teenager” who has come through the program, which consists of workshops, mentoring and life-skills training, makes her speech short and sweet: “I’m not the same girl I was three months ago,” she says, practically mumbling into the mic. “Now I realize that being a gangster, or whatever, is not who I am.”

After the girls speak, Moten, dressed casually in a T-shirt, chinos, and sandals, gives one of his patented motivational speeches that usually build to a fiery crescendo. “You all look nice, like good looking young ladies,” he says to the girls. “You know I always be telling you, if you dress like a prostitute people gonna treat you like a prostitute.”

He thanks a group of boys who are there for coming to support the girls. Then he touches on the highs and lows of his own story: About how he was heating water in a microwave so he could bathe, back when he was broke but engaged in the community. About how he never used drugs even as he sold drugs. About how it’s a sin to father children out of wedlock—even though he’s fathered four, by four different women.

“I’m not always right. I don’t win every battle. But I operate on principle,” he says. “And it’s important to walk with your head up even through tough times. My purpose is with you children.”

Then Moten offers his favorite jewel of wisdom: “If you don’t stand up for yourself, if you out in the street sellin’ drugs or killin’ your brothers, you ain’t bein’ a gangster. Ain’t no gangsters no more. Real gangsters wear suits. They the ones who decide how much money people get.”

That statement is perhaps a bit of foreshadowing for both Moten and Abraham. As he wraps up the speech Moten tells the kids that he and Abraham are planning to resign from Peaceoholics in November. “We going to ground,” he says later, explaining his decision to pursue community activism, business ventures, and consulting opportunities in other cities. (Moten gets $500 an hour when he travels to consult with other cities on their youth gang problems, he says.)

The departure comes at a rough time for Peaceoholics: the group is no longer allowed to work in schools as a result of the Barry Harrison incident; their budget is going from $3.5 million in 2008–09 to a projected $500,000 in 2010; and recently they had to lay off 20 workers. Their ranks now number 47, with more cuts likely if the group can’t tap into some new grants or stimulus dollars.

Moten and Abraham are not worried for the group, which will press on with the housing initiative and other Peaceoholics programs. The two co-founders will be available for advice and counseling, and they believe in the strength of future generations. “You do good work, the right outcomes will produce incomes,” Abraham says.

 

The night of the Congress Street shooting, Moten and his two employees work quickly to locate 18-year-old Tayvon Williams, a member of the One Deuce crew who is the prime suspect in the shooting of Stephon Hooks, which Hooks survived. The shooting is believed to be tied to a feud between One Deuce and the Congress Park crew. The next 48 hours are crucial to ensure that Williams stays off the street and deals with an inevitable visit from the police.

By the time police locate Williams, Peaceoholics already have arranged to get him out of school so he can’t be targeted. Two days after the shooting Williams turns himself in, after meeting with Peaceoholics while police meet with his mother. He is charged with assault with a deadly weapon—not the first time he has been charged with a violent crime. “He knows we here for him whether he found guilty or not,” Moten says. “Now how you gonna put a value on that?”

But the intervention by Peaceoholics is just beginning, as the beef between One Deuce and Congress Park will roil for months.

Just last week, a younger brother of Williams was jumped and badly beaten. An honor student who attends Ballou and performs in a choir and dance troupe, the brother wants to stand tall with the other boys engaged in the beef with Congress Park, Moten says. But he has more to lose, and he may not be cut out for the street. Last Friday Moten and Peaceoholics intervened and made inroads with One Deuce, he says. Now they are trying to bring Congress Park into the discussion to quash the beef, before anyone else is shot or beaten.

Of Tayvon Williams’ little brother, Moten says, “Now there’s an honor student potentially mixed up in all this mess. This stuff happens every day in our community. Most of the time no one captures it on film or puts it on YouTube, so no one pays attention.”

 

Additional reporting by Jason Cherkis, Mike DeBonis, and Ruth Samuelson

 

Jeffrey Anderson can be reached at jeffrey_anderson@mindspring.com

Our Readers Say

Thank you for this article. It is about time someone asked questions about these guys. I can't believe the city has been paying them millions!!!!!!! No wonder they wear different designer sunglasses every day, for God's sake. Apparently I, as a District resident, paid for them. I wish their funding had been cut to zero. They can say all they want that they're the only ones who can turn things around, but last time I checked, Anacostia is not any safer than it was 10 years ago. Any money for "peace" ought to be spent elsewhere, not on this group.
So when the table is balanced forcing the peacaholics to compete for local funds like all other local and small businesses, Moton and his fellow ex-felon business partner decide to pack up and run. How noble.

Those under the radar rendezvous at the Ritz with you know who must have run their course. The jig is up and the public well is dry.

What else is a ex-con to do, exit, stage left. Sad.
I find myself becoming more and more cynical everyday. Shakes head.
Upper NW type people (Most of you) will never understand the value of a group like the Peaceoholics... They reach people who are so disillusioned with the "system" that they don’t trust anyone outside their culture and would never be reached by MPD or any government entity. Maybe the Peaceoholics’ methods can be questioned and the group has been called crooks and criminals but nothing worse has ever been said about City Council members, government officials, ANC members, and other community leaders. I will take a reformed drug dealer over a crooked law maker any day…. The “they need to bid” people have no idea how business is really done in this city… Ask your next taxi driver…. He will tell you…
LEE - Please explain why anyone should blindly trust in the effectiveness of this group, when the areas they serve are just as broken and dangerous as ever? It's lovely that people trust them who don't trust police, blah blah blah, but where is the proof that any of that matters? Perhaps if we spent those millions on more police resources for those areas, and actually locked up the criminals instead of giving light sentences as requested by Peaceaholics, the good people who live there would be safer.
Nicole I agree with you wholeheartedly... so glad to see this.
As a DC taxpayer i'd rather not see any of my money going to them - ANY of it... I have a daughter in DCPS and I wish like hell they would even going anywhere near her. Ron is a bully, the city, mayor, and police needs to stop allowing him to just do what he wants to do. He still has that thug mentality - And the fact that he considers himself a "minister" is just blasphemy.... i'm dying laughing at that!!! What these kids need are better parents. If you or your group intend to be mentors you would still do it even if there was no cost associated with it. Beef? You create the beefs so that you can continue to justify your need for funding. For your bigger house, another car, more jewelry etc...
My layman's take on this is as follows. The "real gansters wear suits" quote hits the nail on the head. This type of contract is as lucrative as any mafia service contract that has happened in other cities over the past several decades. They bill themselves as a much needed service cleaning up trash with city contracts that amount to several thousands of dollars per piece of garbage swept from the street.
Housing for troubled youths with grant money is noble indeed. Still, we must stop the babies out of wedlock,drop-out rates from school and society before any group can calim success...no matter the funded monies involved.
Mo you gotta look at that B. Harrison character with a different lense to setroe my street cred with you or forget all your 'Mo 'Joe Blow.
The story of two gangsters who merged.. Sounds more like a hostile acquisition of Moten by Abraham.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OrBy082r7o
The more light is shown on Peaceaholics the more problems that right-thinking, educated Washingtonians have with this group. I have been complaining to the Council about them for two years now and everything I've ever found out about them has been negative.

Lee, no one cares what people who are disillusioned with the System thinks. The African American community has a president and a mayor who look like they do. The old days of racism are over, period, over. I am old enough to remember when there were barely any Black police, now when the police come, whose community are they a member of? Upper NW or SE? SE. So these stories of "the man" being separate and keeping people down are just BS stories which should be shot down and corrected.

Read up on Peaceaholics, educate yourself, and you'll know who and what they are.
SEBlackDaddy, I agree with you comment.

Also, Ron Moten is trash and a thug. He need to put on a suit and learn to speak English and look for a real job.

Ward 4 Voter
Lee. All they need to do is compete and show their benefit. There are groups in Ward 8 and outside of upper NW that can do that. 10 million is a lot of money.
I keep hearing about this rendezvous at the Ritz. Can someone please enlighted me on this?
How do we know the communities this group serves are just as dangerous as they would be without them? I don't think we will know this for certain until next year when their funding is cut. I do believe they have garnered the trust of those who would be hesitant to talk to the police, and further, if they have saved the life of just one young person--just one--I say the 10 mil was well spent.
Let's see every high-school that had Peaceaholics incorporated into their school last year...the principals were replaced e.g, Anacostia, Dunbar and Spingarn. They were to bring peace and it resulted in chaos...so much for that factor. Hence, this morning it was reported that 11 students were arrested at Ballou for gang-activity. Duh ruh...if we are paying the peaceaholics and they are so in tuned to the inner-workings of gang-activity...what da heck happen. I am almost associating the peaceaholics to a newly drafted professional athlete...who gets the big contract then lo and behold they are not the price we paid for.... Really if we are comparison shoppers by nature....then look at the Roving Leaders and the Peaceaholics and you will clearly see that one gets better results for less and is a proving leader amongst the community. If one thinks that Snyder pimps the "cheerleaders" then I can only share with you how the peaceholics pimped the marching bands of this city.
Music is the Message and SEBlackDaddy you both are RIGHT on point…

I just sat and read this entire article for a second time and I’m just in awe. Moe's bragging about getting to a crime scene first and not sharing what you know with the police (there goes that "stop snitching" campaign). Could it be that he knows of something prior to it happening. Could it be that it’s someone in your organization that’s involved. I certainly don’t find that praiseworthy. You want accolades; prevent the crime that you already know is going to occur - not get to the scene first AFTER it happens. I find it hard to believe that police are actually “jealous” of you. You’re playing all high and mighty like you’re Al Capone but you consider yourself a “minister”, then next minute you’re gansta the next. I’m all confused. “We don’t necessarily tell them what we know. But we lookin’ out for public safety.” (sigh)

And what exactly does this mean???? I read it to almost be a threat:
Harrison’s conviction could send him back to prison for 40 years. “It’s a setback for a comeback,” Moten says of the verdict. “It’s not about [Harrison], it’s about me and Jauhar. We know what we gotta do

And this:
“We also do street background checks that are better than anything FBI can do,” he boasts.

That statement, in my opinion, only glorify the streets.

And this:

“Some people might be jealous or say that we never done housing before,” Who’s jealous – you just stated you’ve never done housing before. I only hope that in 2 years from now the DEA doesn’t come busting the doors in for any particular reason. Good luck with that.

And this:

Moten gets $500 an hour when he travels to consult with other cities on their youth gang problems, he says.

Just says “be a thug in the streets, then go bull city council, tell them you’re a “mentor” in some capacity and you too can get paid”

I’m going to start packing my house now, if this Mayor makes it back in office, I have yet another reason to relocate. siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh
Have any of you people that have such negative comments about the organization ever volunteered for support the Peacaholics? Have you ever been to the facility in SE where they train kids and adults with computer skills? They have paid employees and volunteers. Some of their paid employees are teachers and they assist with classes for the community, GED. If you have negative views based on what you have read, maybe you too should get out in the trenches. There is a reason this group has the ear of the mayor and the council. They do impact the community. The violent crime numbers in the district have dropped for the past several years. The murder rate has also steadily decreased, Explorer, Nicole. Volunteer and then form your opinion. I am sure they would love your help.
"Upper NW type people (Most of you) will never understand the value of a group like the Peaceoholics..."

Oh, we NW folk recognize the value - and it ain't nowhere near $10M worth! We've been played for suckers and, now that we recognize that, y'all wanna cry "foul!" Nice try, homie...
Lolo, in fact I do volunteer in the less fortunate communities of the city. (And note -- VOLUNTEER, unlike Mr. Moten.) I am a lawyer and represent children for free in the court system, when their parents have neglected them and CFSA has to step in. I also have spent years tutoring kids from SE in reading. So, you cannot discount what I have to say by suggesting that if only I got involved, I would think otherwise of Peaceaholics. Not true.
I don't suspect we'll be seeing any annual reports with their financials.. Let's face it, they used the crime problem to make some pretty good money and played it pretty damn well. These guys are opportunistic businessmen who figured out how to put themselves on the receiving end of leaky government coffers desperately looking for another way to lower crime statistics. It doesn't matter at this point if it worked people!
Lolo, before you attack people on their volunteer record you might want to state what your record is.

I have worked with Peaceholics as a funder, and it has always irritated me that they can never produce information on their results/achievements. The article is true...they never apply for grants/funding but mainly I think it is b/c they don't know how to go about writing a successful grant, so what Moten does is stalk the hallways of city govt harrassing different agencies for money.

Personally I would like to know how many of those folks that took the class LoLo talks about actually found a job, got a GED, or entered college w/ their help. How many have stayed out of the criminal justice system because of their help? How many kids have finished high school b/c of their help?

I don't think these questions are difficult to answer, but I bet you any money that the organization has no clue and no ability to report. Why are they allowed to circumvent funding requirements if other agencies must jump through these same hoops?
WOW!!!!!

Ok a few questions;
1. What are the salaries of the members of Peaceaholics?

2. Will Ronnie and his pal now be paid $500 an hour to "consult"; nice way to step back and run away with the rest of the assets of the "nonprofit" group through another subcontract not out for bid! Monitor this please and tell us it aint so.

3. Ronnie makes almost $100,000 a year to pass on hatred and stereotypes of others in "suites" !?!?!? Hey Ronnie how about education as the top priority; correct use of the language perhaps, Mr. Cosby is the REAL MAN. Love the way Ronnie manages to conduct hateful nasty fingerpointing with one hand and and appears to be lining his pockets with the other.

4. Like Nicole I have spent the last 19 years in DC volunteering (NO PAY) with at risk youth encouraging education as a means to a better life; so no I am not a hater.
This group is a damn joke, all this money could have gone to help these kids instead of closing places for them to go after school.(boys and girls club) This man is making money hand over fist and this assinine mayor would still be supporting him if it hadn't been brought to the council and the citizens attention. My tax dollars at work right!!!!
i know the man on a personal level and i know his heart in the right place but remember he is from the street so his pocket in one another hustle. just like the Mayor,City Council he is now a new found gangsta, there is still crime in SE, Anacosita still in turmoil, fights everday at the Anacostia Metro, with the closing of schools, children are forced to go to schools outside the area, the closing of Boy and Girls programs, children are forced to go to the street, with single parent homes, again forced to the streets for guidance. in know no way shape or form i'm i taking up from him but what i am saying is that WE the citzens of DC regardless what ward we live in need to start holding city officals accountable for their actions and for giving OUR money ( the citzens money) to org's like this. i work in NE ward 7 and everyday children are behind by building smoking weed and coke, the police for the last 2 months are at Spingarn High every other day, the truancy police up and down Benning RD, in June a elderly man from 21st Street NE was robbed and beat to death at the BP gas station on 21st by some wanna b gangsta, where are the PEACOHOLICS, so the angry needs to be with the city offical giving him the money also the anry needs to be with US ( the citzens for allowing the city officals to PIMP us) we need to stop ADVOCATING in DC and need to be ACTIVISTS, we have the power for REAL but some of us who live in UPPER NW don't care about the issues that happen in other wards in the CITY, so lets be fo real, if there is NO VIOLENCE in Wilson High Deal Middle then the niggaz can keep killa the niggaz. WE NEED TO TAKE A STAND! so if you don't have a solution then you are just to blame for the PROBLEM.
Ms.Nicole get doing what you are doing, GOD BLESS! we need more people like you!
all ya'll talkn and taking NO action....NO action from none of ya'll haters who wish you had come up with idea first....why dont YOU try getting up up at 3am out of your bed to squash a beef with some kids that would rather beat your ass than listen,why don't YOU go to the halls of the schools and try talking to kids while they widlin' out and acting crazy....YOU go do the work in the streets, taking chances every day of YOUR life for who....SOMEBODY ELSE'S KIDS....ALL YA'LL NEED TO SHUT UP AND GET UP FROM YOUR COMFORTABLE LIVES AND DO SOMETHING AND STOP JUDGING!!!. The type work these guys are doing deserve MILLIONS of $$$$ and guess what, YOU got to have the HEART for it. HUH do YOU???
Ive worked with his group, crew, or gang whatever you want to call it. My job at the time have to assist this organization. He is nothing more that a con-artist. The reason he hires ex-cons is you dont have to pay them much, and sometime he doesn't not pay them. All he does is chase cameras and microphone to run his save the community game. D.C. gov. fell for his scam to the tune of $10,000,000
He done know any kids in the community except a few young girls. But dont worry because when the I.R.S. catch up with him he will boiling water in the microwave again if he still has a microwave
What i have seen with th peaceoholics is a crock of u no what. Jahaur hire his ex con father too run the re-entry progarm who is an in effective ex con Willie anderson. They have a resider over the program name Princess who write all of there corespondence she's act if she something. The facilities are dingy and dark looking they pay there workers late if pay them at all. They have a independent progam on Oklahoma Ave. Where the kids are not given any money for food transportation they are neglected. DYRS no that they are ineffective but they have a buddy in City Hall ( FENTY). They have boarding school in North Carolina I wonder how that is doing.
This guy is definitely setting the stage to take whatever money the organization has left after he departs. He will remain the defacto head of the organization (not on paper, of course) and will approve all $500/hour consulting fees that he submits until there is no more money. Mr. Moten simply perpetuates many of the problems that people are suffering from in these communities. He advocates the "stop snitching" culture. He supports those who commit violent crimes instead of trying to make it something to be ashamed of. He places "mentors" fresh from years in ferderal prisons in schools and expects us to believe that these people will be a positive influence on our kids. Can you imagine if someone tried to have a convicted murderer mentor kids in Montgomery or Fairfax County? Things are obviously different in D.C. schools, but there should be some standard.
Waisted, waisted money. Money could have supported recreation centers, more police officers, put some food on a hungry child's table. I believed in giving ex-offenders second chances until I read this article. Here, my name has been on section 8 list for about 15-20 years,I can't even get any reduced property. Designer sunglasses? I go to the beauty supply store or Dollar Tree. Moten and his BANDITS may have to try there. Oh, I could go on and on but my lunch break is over. Now ,I'd like to read about the good that they have done for the city because the violence is still rampad. S.E.,N.E.,N.W.,S.W. I am a Northeast D.C. resident.
Well when I think about "Peaceoholics" I truly think South East, but for real they do make a difference. Seriously speaking ,this company does put fourth the perventive steps to real make a difference, but so do so many others. I guess when your out in the media, and one of the highest paid non-profits ever time you do anything in the public eye they know. No one ever said that when you work ,you shouldn't get paid because every one reading this article makes money doing something. The Red Cross C.E.O. makes 5 Million a year tell me he doesn't like his job? All in all a lot of companies just didn't have the money, hopefully now, those who didn't will get a chance to prove themselfs. In Da Streets, Inc is real, and does understand the presures of business in todays economy. It's a sad day in the city, but I wish all those who are in the best interest of youth to continue in this struggle, this isn't about "Peaceoholics" this is a story of those who struggle in todays times to help youth now we all must step up or get out. May God guide us all in positive directions for our city.
Sincerely.
In Da Streets, Inc
Hey I didn't know you could boil water in a microwave!
Frankly, this is a huge waste of money. Crime in SE is as high as it is ever been.

I'm not sure why we just don't let the criminals gun each other down. If they are still that stupid in this day and age when they have countless free opportunities to take their life in a different direction, then I say let them gun each other down as long as they keep it in SE.

All of this "lets help the criminals" BS that costs my city, and others around the nation tens to hundreds of millions of dollars a year has got to stop. It appears this guy is simply a leach of the system. Cancel his yearly millions and transfer it to the DCPD. They are the ones really fighting crime in SE.
@Loki: Take a look around, the killing is all over the city, not just S.E. As for the police, fighting what crime - they are criminals themselves. By the way, to all that don't know, your Mayor is Mr. Moten's homey.
Ron is singing his last song and probably is taking a plea bargain w/ the feds on the whole investigation of him, Mayor and anyone affiliated and was on the payroll & scam to milk the government... He got greedy and now has to take the fall... He will tell all he knows and is not about to go down by himself. He had more prep and priority than the City Council & MPD...

He does not have any receipt of where the monies went to except "BLAH BLAH! He will be held accountable for the city's fundings, no records and none of the residents of this city is not going to let him walk, they will find him guilty... CRIMES have never went down, they went up and you brag in the city paper of how you get the phone call before the 911 is made. That is cry for HELP.

Consulting is the Fire Truck/ Ambulance... he has to answer for that... the molestation of the lil girls that he accuses of lying and the millions of $$$ that he spent w/o any supervision or overhead, he set himself up because the only receipt he has is the one for his Denali truck and home in PG County and the Gucci Wear on his back.

RON you talk to much and now the reader's of city paper and every resident is outraged. Residents/ MPD/ other organizations been complaining about you (smiling faces get you everytime) and the City Administrative office & US Attorney's office have built a case. You are not the boss of this city, nor have you ever been and Fenty has long since tried to cut ties to you... He is a lawyer and surely covered his behind and no one is going to take the fall but yourself. And to actually think you can mentor to anyone's child??? Be a father to four out of your out of wedlock kids of your own... GOD is forgiving but maybe he will do for you what he did for Jeremiah in the prison...

WHAT have you done for the youth and residents of this city??? But put shame and embarassment to those of us who work and pay taxes... this is not about the tax office or what another has done, this is your short bio in the city paper and no one is impressed...
Hey I am a recent college graduate from Trinity University with a major in Criminal Justice. I have been apart of the PEACEOHOLOCS, Inc since I was a senior at Anacostia SHS in 2004. This program helped me, and my family in the past when we didnt have food, clothes, and money. There have been times when my mother was beaten, and I needed a place to clear my mind I will call Moe and Jauhar to pick me up. These two guys are my father figures, role models, humanatarians, and good citizens. I just dont understand why people have so much to say negative about Ronald Moten & Peaceoholics,Inc. When they arent not doing the work we do, or see the crisis our young people go through everyday. You people dont be out in the communities or the busstops before, or after school. Or on the scene when youth are fighting, stabbing and shooting every mintue. Some of my co-workers have put there lives on the line for youth, some are taking daily risks in which we calls GOD work. None of you people have decided to take a stand, and helped or support your community on helping mentor a youth. We are the largest orgainzation that the youth respond to when they need something, we are the first called when a fight kick off, we are the first called when a youth needs a job, we are the first called when a shooting take place. Please dont be against us be with us.
I am about tired of this "gimmie" generation of young people.

You don't need a mentor to tell you not to pick up a firearm and shoot someone.

If that is the choice you make as a young person, they your fate should be the very same as was the fate of "moe". You should go to prison for a very long time.

You young people are not stupid, you just play stupid, you blame everything on your environment and poverty, but guess what, there are hundreds of young people in the District that dont turn to thuggery because they feel sorry for themselves. They go to school, study hard, despite the obstacles because they know that is what it is going to take to get themselves out of this cycle.

I say enough of the hand holding and coddling of these young people. Enough is Enough!!!

The young people in the District have more "social" programs than any other city I have ever witnessed in the nation. Yet, they still whine and complain about what they DON'T have. What they DON'T have is any good excuses as to why they behave the way they do. They have no sense of personal responsibility.

The city needs to put more money in juvenile detention, and I mean REAL detention.

I say, give them swimming lessons, throw them out into the lake and they either sink or swim. This is the only way they will learn responsibiloity and accountability.
Very good, comprehensive article on a complicated and thorny issue. One suggestion: don't abbreviate "D.C. Department of Human Services" with "DHS." It confused me at first skim as a reader. (I think there may be a slightly larger organization based in DC with the same acronym. )
I share the frustration of "Music is the Message" about how other groups that have proven themselves time and again get passed over in favor of those with an "in" at City Hall. It's also sad that any group who works with community residents, including "ex-offenders" who are appropriately reformed and screened, will be looked upon with suspicion by the public now thanks to one group that apparently does not know how to behave. Social workers can provide clinical services, but they have a great deal of trouble connecting with some of the hardest-to-reach kids and their families. Grassroots organizations that can build bridges with isolated families and who hire people who command the respect and trust of the kids are sorely needed in DC's schools.

One example of a group that never gets its due from the City or from DCPS -- despite officials from both entities being well-aware of their results and impeccable track record in several middle schools and one high school East of the River -- is LifeSTARTS Youth & Family Services. It's run by a humble visionary, Curtis Watkins, who grew up in Ward 7 and has experienced much of what poorDC kids and families go through. LifeSTARTS hires community residents who have all the background checks and training needed to work appropriately with kids. And it has the data and endorsements from partners like principals and even the MPD to to prove its results. I've never met "gangsters wearing suits" from LifeSTARTS. I've met solid neighborhood residents who work tirelessly and respectfully with kids, parents, teachers, principals, police and other partners to achieve great things on behalf of DC school kids.
I couldn't have said it better myself Sharell. It saddens me to read the non sense that people write but I must continue to remind myself that ignorance is blist and it is a condition that most will have for they no not because they engage not.

The first time I started with Peaceoholics was in 2002 becuase I was hungry, not only for food but hungry for life! Knowing that my school system was injust and knowing that i should have books that werent outdated. I didn't want to become a statistic, drop out of school, have a few bastard children while living on section 8 voucher that most people like some of you said I would.

Most of you would have never never given someone like me an opportunity to excel only becuase it is in your nature to put self first and leave others behind.

How do I know?
I'm glad you asked.

If you actually knew Ronald Moten and Jauhar Abraham you would know that they were helping people in the community long before there was ever an ear mark to achieve.

They didn't encourage me to graduate high school because I had any money to give them nor did they answer my phone calls in the middle of the night becuase I was about to send them some media coverage. The Peaceoholics elevated my way of thinking and believing that I could achieve all things when every one else, even my mother, said I couldn't.
CM Kwame Brown (and CMs Mendelson and Mike Brown who were at a previous CCCA meeting this year) supports these gang intervention no accounts. We'll have CM K Brown at an upcoming CCCA meeting to find out what he has to say about this. See CCCA-onlline.org for details.
At one time in my life I was an at-risk youth and today I hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications.
I graduated Magna Cum Laude
With the support of the Peaceoholics Inc.
There are over 100, once at risk youth who put down their guns, squashed all their beefs, left their gangs and picked up a new book and are now engaging in higher education.
These are the youth you like to work with, like the ones who grew up in a household with both parents, or the ones that had sheltered lives.
NO!
These are the young people who were homeless, went to school to eat two meals a day, rob people because they had siblings to take care of becuase their parents were either on some type of substance or a-wall.
Do you have any idea the trauma that a young person experiences when they have to become an adult quit the stomaches rumbling of a another young person when you are just a child yourself?
NO!
I'm sure you don't -
Just like you may have never had been held a gun point becuase you were tryn to stop a fight and save some one else's life!
God Bless those who go beyond them selves to help others and shame those who do nothing but criticize your work.

This city has closed 70% of the homicides - because of the Peaceoholics Inc.
MPD didn't do it all by them selves

It is because of the Peaceoholics that some hungry youth isnt tryn to rob you right now --

how is that for a reality check

As a matter of fact - if you still don't believe that this work is real, meet me a mutual location and I can show you better than I can tell you!

Honestly, no matter what you say -- I know that God has ordained these men with a mission that many of you may not understand -- and I don't expect you to -- but I respectfully ask that you either educate yourself on the facts or stop speaking about what you hear people say.

Not only are the youth and their families in our inner city, disadvantaged communities are at risk -- but so are you -- and right now -- you are apart of the problem -- so if you are as concerned as you proclaim to be -- why not become a part of the solution??????
Im sorry I am not gonna throw a kid a party for doing what they are SUPPOSED to do. Like not shooting each other.

You welfare sympathizers are a part of the problem that keeps this cycle in motion.
my first comment is to maria, hae you VOLUNTEERED for the peaceoholics, do you lie in one the Wards (5678 and 4) that are plagued with infant mortality, HIV/AIDS, hunger, drugs, crime, rape, etc, have your read the peaceoholics mission statement, if not here it is: Incorporated in 2004, Peaceoholics promotes conflict resolution, HIV/AIDS prevention, substance abuse pre­vention, gang prevention and family wellness through its youth and family programs. Our effort in support of youth are directed at understanding problems such as school violence and developing solutions to them so that every young person has an opportunity develop in an environment that is safe and secure, free of fear and conductive to learning. they do Nothings around HIV prevention, nothing around substance abuse, SO please dont judge, i work in ward 7 with one of the highest hiv rate and crime rate and gangs, i never see him or his staff at a health fair, i have visited the business and i thought that i was at a hang out

the two young women that got the support from the peaceoholics to help make the right decisions in their, GREAT, that is what the agency suppose to do according to their funding and mission statement. but is still remain that the agency used the money inappropriately, he is still a HUSTLER just like the mayor and other city figures, but as a COMMUNITY we need to hold him accountable for his actions, we need to her more successfully stories

not mad at the idea GREAT if you really cared about the COMMUNITY, he was living in river terrace, so why? move from the community you claim MOE? we as citizens in DC are not HATING we are concerned about our tax dollars, just like the mayor, city council, MOE ( ronald moten ) works for tax payers and i WANT MY MONEY BACK!

so please, folks like maria, know a little something before you JUDGE, i work the streets at night with the sex workers on K street NW, i am in homes with the folks who are hungry and i see the women who are raped and beaten, homes with children who have no lights or food parents on drugs so they are robbing to eat!

WERE ARE THE PEACEOHOLICS............PLEASE TELL ME SO I CAN FOR HELP!
Can someone please give "Sharece" and " "Sharell Kyle" a VIOLIN? So that they can play "Cry Me A River!"

Ron Moten "pimped" DC and won the "Who wants to be a Millionaire sweepstakes."

His criminal conglomerate is crying out loud for a federal investigation.

I have met him and can tell you that he is a straight up hooligan!

Is this the type of "returned citizen" aka felon that any responsible parents want to "mentor" their children?

Any parent who allows their child to be in the company of these felons needs to be charged with child abuse/neglect.

I must say, Michelle "Jhoon" Rhee came to DC too late. She should have been here much earlier when Moten was matriculating in the DC School System and was the proud recipient of social promotions. Whatever teachers/prinicipals that pushed him through school should have been terminated years ago!

He has demonstrated that his I.Q. is equivalent to his shoe size.

Sharell and Sharece I suppose that you want to nominate "Leechoholics" for the "DC Peace Prize."

Leechoholics have misappropriated taxpayers money. They now will be overlords for the three apartment buildings that they purchased with taxpayers money.

These apartment buildings will be akin to the "The Carter" like in the movie "New Jack City."

David Simon and Ed Burns (The Wire) we need you to produce a mini-series combining "The Wire" crew and the Peaceoholics crew.

Starring: Ron Moten as "Robbing Hood Ron aka Nino Brown"
Jauhar Abraham as "Stringer Bell aka Kareem Akbar"
Barry Harrison since he now incarcerated as "Omar Little."
Sharell as "Tamika plus 8" like Kate plus 8
Sharece as "Shamika plus 6 baby daddies"

Ron, enjoy your ill-gotten gains, soon the FEDS will get you! Go cop a plea first. You are going down! You will be "Bubba's" bee-itch! He will call you "Rhonda" and make you squat when you piss!

You deserve every thing that will soon be coming to you.
Jauhar when you go in change your name to Kareem Akbar yo might survive in the joint.
And whatever "licensed attorney" that helped them launder the millions of dollars
of tax payers money will be disbarred!
the only people who have knowlegde is those college kids they have working, they pay them little and take more come on people these people are criminals they are sick and not worthy Moten dont know how to talk to his peers or city officials DUMB ASS! come on people kick him and abraham to the curb they are are dirt to the streets and everyday they are in designer clothes stop taking money from my kids mouth and use it wisely FBI comming soon make sure you tell your staff before they be surprise Moten
RON tax season is coming ... you and everyone since 2005 regardlesss of turning it over to someone else's name to hide assets are being audited... they are waiting for the last signature when you do yours for the year... you rec'd $$$ from DC and did your work in DC and yes you owe DC big time...

To the kid graudates he is going to not need letters but representation in the courtroom and some of that money jthat he can not account for judges serve on those boards and the control board own the judges and are over the Mayor... If you were down in the hallways chasing the paper, when did you ever answer your phone for a family in need becuase every mtg you attend you are on your cell phone and we all here about the murders daily... 70% of the murders is what you solved , then they must be on your payroll. Because even MPD has never solved 70% in any one given year, they give stats from the over 4600 that remain unsolved. Detectives have been complaining how you are in the way.

The residents of this city is not stupid and for the record some of our high schools told you stay the hell out... and for the record when you forced your way into the schools... that was against your parole and the parole of every ex-con that you had on payroll....

I hope the child lawyers can defend you in court.
They have kids ready to testify while they were under your watch they still were able to fight each other, ( you gave them a couple of movie passes to squash the beef) and the office space where no one supervises the kids and it leaks while you sit on your throne across the street in Gucci wear.
Sharrell and Sharece, I appreciate your comments, and congratulations on your achievements. Obviously Peaceaholics is not perfect, but I appreciate y'all giving them credit for doing some good work and caring for youth in the 'hood when no one else is there for them... Peace...
I tried to do some back-of-the-envelope calculations using just what the article provides. To start, $500 thousand per month on salaries, rent, and miscellaneous expenses doesn't add up unless the group's annual budget is around $6 million of year but let's assume this number for now.

Let's say rent is $2,000 per month for SE office property and another $2,000 per month is spent on office supplies and incidentals. That leaves $496,000 per month on salaries. With 50 employees on the payroll, that amounts to an approximate average of just under $10 thousand per month per employee or close to $120,000 per year.

Are there any openings available at Peaceaholics?
I have personal experience with a Peaceoholic mentor and my godson who was released from Oak Hill 9 months ago. The mentor (paid) has done a great job keeping my godson on the right path. Moreover, he has squashed several beefs and prevented a shooting or two. In this case the Peaceoholics have earned their pay. (note, I am a 50-something white Republican here in DC, not a typical defender of this group).
Ok.

The issue at-hand is the misuse or lack of documentation of these funds.

The city is as culpable or more culpable than the two leaders of this organization.
I have seen some of the work they do both up-close and from afar. While they definitely aren't perfect, the one thing I can say about this group above many others is that they are serious about their mission.

I believe Ron Moten and his staff really care about the youth they are serving and are trying hard to make a real difference in this city.

It's unfortunate they have gotten so much negative attention, but I feel that most of it is unwarranted.
The WCP did a wonderful job with this article on Ron Moten and the Peaceoholics. The problem is that Mayor Fenty let this group rip off the taxpayers of this city under the name of peace or stopping the violence. The Mayor, CM Kwame Brown, CM Michael Brown, City Adminstrator Neil Albert should be held responsible for blowing DC Tax dollars. I personlly know of a number of programs in the city that could have used some of these funds to keep up there great works. The question is how much of this money is being given back to crooked Mayor Fenty, CM Kwame Brown, CM Michael Brown, City Adminstrator Neil Albert. The WCP should be focusing on how many kick backs these crooked city officials have taken from Ron Moten and other groups that rip off DC taxpayers. I am a 35 year old Black male in southeast DC who is feed up with city hall corrupt officials. I hope the IRS investigates all that money that Ron Moten stole. The FBI needs to look into how CM Kwame Brown was able to build a house in Ocean City Md , (I wonder how much of that money went to Kwame sell out the community Browns pockets)
The sad thing is that this organization has helped thousands of families and the workers and CEO and COO work around the clock putting themselves in jeopardy in order to protect public safety, and people attack us. come investigate on your own, you as citizens come and talk to the children we help that are currently in college, or children we help get out of beefs that may have killed them. this article was slanderous and had many FALSE statements and information that was meant to inflame the community against a organization that works for the greater good. I read one person's comment that said that Moe Moten "doesn't know how to talk too people" and that Jauhar "wears designer clothes" I mean come on people Moe knows how to talk too youth and that what he gets paid to do, and Jauhar buys clothes for plenty of children who can't afford them. I leave you with these words "NEGATIVE THINGS HAPPEN WHEN POSITIVE PEOPLE....SPEND ALL THEIR TIME WRITING BLOGS" sorry I'm going to do some more work now, Join me!
Oh suprise suprise..another ex prisoner thug fuckin over the goverment..investigate and then the send his ass back to prison! Can anyone say embezzelment???
In the end, the organization should continue to do the work that they claim to have done because it is sorely needed. However, they need to be more transparent and do more with the money they receive in the future. Those who have defended them, because they work for Peacoholics or have had positive experiences with the organization, are missing the point. You must have no idea how much could have been done with the money. Their budget is several times over other organizations that work with populations that are just as vulnerable or even more so (domestic violence, sexual minority youth, undocumented youth). These organizations have to account for how they use their funds and so should Peaceoholics. In terms of the schools, as an educator, parent and community member I believe I speak for the majority when I say that ex-cons (even drug offenders) should not be in our schools (that's right it's my school too) unsupervised. Ex-cons can be great speakers but should not run programs in the schools or mentor children one-to-one. Now, that being said if the organization is really worth their salt than it should be able to weather the storm and if not, it will be over and in a couple of years no one will remember their names or the existence of the organization. If you don't believe that then you really don't know anything because it has happened to other organizations. Bottom line, Peaceaholics should invest in some PR people and let's keep it real, the organization is paper thin and needs the support of community members such as myself but if the leader/staff are self righteous and the work is not documented then I can't support it. For those who have been helped, don't put people too high on a pedestal they are human, flawed and part of a greater system of graft and corruption. Look at what you got out of it and move on.
The failure isn't Moten or Peaceaholics. The failure is ours.

We lay down and have them, birth them into the world and create the environs for them to survive in. We make such statements as 'what is wrong with these kids today' as though they dropped from outer space. Moten took advantage of our failings to fill a niche. His success or failure or payment is secondary to the issue of our communities continuing the downward spiral.

If WE did OUR jobs, there would be no need for Moten's group.
When our city officials forget about our youth and young adults and their needs to have programs that utilized the mental and physical energy that they possess, we find ourselves at the mercy of the results of having no where to turn or nothing to do, criminal activities. We live our lives in fear of our ecomonic conditions that we create whether for profit, public control, bias or ignorance. With what is to be required in the future ahead, we are still practicing mental and physical slavery for one reason or another. Our youth and young adults want to be guided in the right directions with real activities and learning enviroments that offer reallistic directions for their and our tomorrows. We make our teaching institutions for- profit businesses. Do you want change? Then, whats the problem with offering free programs and year round free courses to our youth and adults geared to realistic positions in enviromental and energy aternatives where poor and or rich can receive incentives for ther ideals and inputs. Open up jobs whether part or temporary after school, weekends and holidays. Create city wide programs that utilize youth energy. The ideas proposed by Mayor Barry worked. Whats the problem? I applaude these guys who get involved in the steet level lives and activies and try to help and save lives. Our families, political and community services have lost sight of what is important for us to move forward into the future, "OUR YOUTH". Just think, 'WHITES DON'T DO CRIME, USE DRUGS, SMOKE BLUNTS CIGARS, GATHER IN GROUPS OF THREES ON THE CORNER , BUY 40 ozs ,SHOOT ONE ANOTHER, FIRE SCHOOL TEACHERS, LIVE IN GOVERNMENT HOUSING, RECEIVE GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE, LET THE POLICE GET THEIR KIDS, THEY AINT SCARED TO STAND UP AND GET CHANGE, THEYS RICH". What a bunch of crap! WAKE UP PEOPLE! HOW WILL YOU SAVE A LIFE, A FAMILY, ...A FUTURE?
Answer to an audit Ron, it is on its way and you will be held accountable for it.

Agencies are already in place to do the job.

He pays himself $90,000 a year and dont' pay any taxes and lives in PG County in a home purchased w/ these mionies and used th money for the Denali...

WHat happen to the kids who were killed over the weekend? Surely on the front page Mr. Moten you brag about how the residents dial your cell befor 911.

Your time is up and their is no comeback when you go to ground... You dug some deep trenches around this city. Only those w/ their hands out will follow you. You are not he hero in those it is an embarassament to our residents... and those politians who applaud you will probaby be sitting in the same cell.
From the Peaceoholics Guidestar profile (data garnered from the IRS 990 form, a public document required of all 501(c)(3)s):

Officers, Directors, Trustees, and Key Employees:
Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 2007

Name Title Compensation
Jauhar Abraham Chief Executive $111,108
Ronald Moten Chief Operating $99,068
Rev. Donald Isaac Board Member $0
Anthony Starks Chairman of the $0
Dr. Deborah Evans Board Member $0

Assets: $622
Income: $2,343,994
Expenses: $2,428,289
Liabilities: $75,899
Get your resumes updated and go find real jobs. Principals and teachers just lost jobs and I can't think of any reason in the world that a group of ex and continuing cons should get a dime of my tax money. Roving leaders who are trained, certified and employed by the government, based on skills and have clear background checks do the same thing and have been long before there were ever peaceaholics.
I don't understand, from what I know about the company and how this all works it seems most of the comments are based soley from the article and nothing more. I think alot of comments are based off the amount of money received but its received over the years I know that you can not continue to receive funding if no results are produced so that is just rediculous and ludacris that you all believe that and they would make you all assume that. Furthermore, listen to what most of you are commenting about as if they hit the lottery and pocketed 10million dollars if any of you understood what it takes to run a company you would understand the dynamics and that the money would of been over a period of time. For the person who said they work with ex-cons so they don't have to pay them much if you look at and believe the article and do a little math like one person TRIED to do you would see that clearly people get paid decent salaries TO WORK FULLTIME WITH THE ORGANIZATION AND YOUTH. I know that the organization does great work and can't wait til they furnish the documents to prove it then what? If the work is and has been done and there is an impact in communities whether it's with 1, 2 or 5 kids you can't reach everyone and with the youth that they choose to work with if they can turn just a few around that is the objective. So, if most of you tax paying people don't think that your tax paying money is worth that I don't know what is. When the next group of youth are shooting up your neighborhood and you can't reach a councilmember or gov't official I like to see how you feel. They deserve to get a salary and be able to live to do the work they do like any other head of an organization whom heads make millions a year to feed the homeless for example. You all can clown a man for how he conducts himself or how he speaks but the point is his words gets listened too. COME ON GET SOME FACTS FIRST PEOPLE
For fact, most of these comments are not from this article alone but by other's who have met Mr. Moten prior to him doing this article and are real close to him, which anyone can give and interview to the City Paper... Most of his comments bragging about himself could only lead to the destrcuction of what was a great thing needed for our youth but as you see, he is not qualified to be doing the business and now must ("go to the ground") Some of these folks are lifelong activist and advocates in this city and it is only because of the Fenty Admin. that these hits are coming out. He needs to sit down and I doubt anyone with a positive IQ will hire him anywhere in this city to mentor to their youth. he mostly pocketed the monies and split it with "GOD only knows". Roving leaders where to be paid but Ron so otherwise, Orange Hats (seniors) who took to the streets never rec'd a dime. Got to his webcage and all the ec-cons are listed. He didn't receive all that he is bragging about either... He has no records and in this city alone, he will be held accountable. because someone has access to his waywardness and tell all. Doesn't sound trustworthy to mention others when the heat is on his behind, he is here in city paper bragging about it. Just recently he was kicked out the schools that are too stupid to know the laws in DC, he should have been escorted out the schools and if he try to go back in, he will be escorted and arrested for trespassing. He brags about how he bust his way up in there... Most kids seen him on American Gangster LYING because he is not old enough to have been in the trenches and just shows where this is going... They are promoting gogos and Lord have mercy whatever... As soon as this article hits the street, kids are being killed and shot up in darn near every corridor... MPD will be questioning him for withholding evidence according to this article... Sure at the tiee of the first murder, he was protesting the schools which kicked him out of because one of his ex-cons was molesting little girls who have bodies like grown women, a problem with males of his caliber for years... He was on that cell phone... MPD is not as stupid and Ron needs to stop bragging and sit down.
PEACEOHOLICS OH! PEACEOHOLICS WERE ARE YOU...KILLING IN WARD 7 CLAY TERRACE AREA. YESTERDAY YOUNG MAN ON HIS WAY TO SCHOOL AT ANACOSTIA GOT JUMP AT THE METRO (ANACOSTIA).... youth violence has sky rocketed so I don't see anything that the peaceoholics have done. i am not doubting that they have squashed many beefs BUT still there is alot of youth violence. PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY for all those who feels that his org is not doing anything wrong. if anyone out there knew the history behind non-profits and knew WHAT the BLACK PANTHERS were about then you would know that is does not take millions to run a successful non profit that helps the community. this was another HUSTLE but just a legal HUSTLE and the citizens of DC just paid a price for that HUSTLE.
It's sad that here I am a woman with no criminal background, talks with children all the time. I have been fingerprinted and cleared, in PG County school system for a year and not one person has called me to volunteer. I have spoken to a Congressman to help me finance my venture for children and no help but to tell me to write a business proposal. I don't understand why I am not afforded the same?
It seems like a lot of people on this message board do not seem to trust these guys. While, I will concede that it does seem interestingly convenient that two of the founders decide to leave right when the money is running out. I will say that it takes guys like this to reach kids that are doing this dirt out there. You really cant expect these kids to want to change because a cop or teacher that may have no idea about how life is where they come from (from their point of view) tells them that they should. While this article did paint them in a somewhat shady light, and I will admit that they may indeed be shady, I want these guys out there doing what they do. Maybe they might be able to get through to some of these kids before they have a chance to rob me or someone else because they didnt have anyone they could relate to show them a better way of living their lives.
The funny thing about the negative comments on here is that they continue to ignore the fact that these "criminals" and "thugs" are young, between the ages of 12 and 18. These KIDS need guidance and not to say Moten and his ex-con crew are the best examples of guidance but it's damn sure better then what any one of you elitist individuals can provide them with during your "twice a month volunteering at a local troubled youth center."

Many of the commenters on here probably have yet to visit a SE neighborhood, a REAL part of SE, or even TRY to get down in the trenches of inner city violence. Teaching a 5 year old how to read twice a month is not going to eliminate the fundamental issues in our community. Spend a night out in one of those troubled neighborhoods and let's see how long any of you naysayers last without pissing your pants. These kids don't know anything else but the streets. It's just sad that it's 2009 and we're still seeing this amount of crime.

I bid the Peaceaholics good luck with their future endeavors and success to any other grass roots organization trying to make a change where it's NEEDED most.
John, and all of you Communication degree holders, for the love of Black Empowerment: it's "Q-U-A-S-H-E-D," not "S-Q-U-A-S-H-E-D." Amen, and pass the style check.
Ayy REAL TALK, anybody can show up to a crime scene AFTER THE FACT! DC's youth have not only been pimped by the PEACE A HOLICS, but recs n parks, city council, school system, their parents and MPD! I worked dc rec for 15 years, sent several at risk youth to college, spent my $ on uniforms, food, clothing and transpo and never made more than $20k, these uptown dudes don't have a clue, but they got paid! DC jail is overcrowded, yung'ns are MORE prone to violence, morals are DECAYED and COMPROMISED, sexism is reversed to the point that it's more important to push the FEMINIST AGENDA as opposed to do what's right...greed, ignorance and arrogance is behind all of this and we have no 1 to blame but ourselves! Imma straight hood dude who has a family, an education and has traveled the world EXTENSIVELY and I can tell U that 10 million ain't been well spent! POLITICS is what this is about and always been here in good ol' dc, sad to say that since us, blacks have had it we aint been good to ourselves but our own worst enemy! Do it right the 1st time and u won't have to correct it, do it for the right reasons and u get RESULTS! GIVE us a refund......I WANT MY $$ BACK!
1 last thing, THERE aint nothing anybody can say to ANY youth that requires and honors a $10 million payday, get real! You can't blame moten n all the other excons for taking the $$, they did what any ex felon would do, good or bad, right or wrong...take the $$, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, all PEACE A HOLICS DID WAS GIVE AN EXCUSE TO FURTHER OVERSEE WITH STRICTER POLICY, TIGHTENING of WALLETS, BLACKBALLING AND THE BLOCKING OUT OF "legitimate" organizations with real programs, tangible goals and sincere motives, WE'VE BEEN HOODWINKED, BAMBOOZLED; LED ASTRAY, so what r we gonna do about it????
Peaceaholics are a good example of niggaz with money.
Has the City Paper looked into how much the heads of other non-profits are paid, what they drive, what they wear, where they shop, or where they live? Get a grip people. Do some research before rushing to judgement on one, obviously slanted, article.
April - I am one of those communication degree holders. This is the first time I've visited this site. I see that you're playing the role of grammarian's grammarian on here. You differentiated between "Quashed" and "Squashed." As I suspected, you were wrong. Either word is correct. According to "Webster's New World Dictionary," Quash means to annihilate, destroy; to quell or suppress (as in an uprising). Squash, in aaddition to meaning to flatten, or squeeze into a soft or flat mess, means to suppress or bring to an abrupt end.
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