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'Protest Pots' About Violence, Trauma

Bill Rinehart, WVXU
Protest Pots sit outside the Freedom Center Monday morning

Local activists are starting a project meant to end violence, racism and fascism. The Musketeer Association is introducing the Protest Pots Monday morning outside the Freedom Center. Names of homicide victims are on plaques mounted in flower pots. Those will then be placed where the person died.

The founder of the Musketeer Association knows about violence. Her son was murdered in 2015 as he was walking home with his family's supper. Rukiye Abdul-Mutakallim says she set out to understand what led them and others to commit brutal acts. "They're reaching down to pick up weapons of all kinds, whether it is pills, alcohol, a gun, knives, and they're hurting themselves and/or others. They're doing it out of desperation."

Abdul-Mutakallim forgave her son's three killers. The oldest was 25. The youngest was 14.

"I said in developing the flower pot project that it came from understanding that true forgiveness, true mercy, and doing good, that is the formula to eradicate this pandemic of trauma," she says.

Abdul-Mutakallim says the planters not only commemorate the fallen, but provide a place for pollinators. "Mankind has no existence, there will be no future for mankind if we do not save the three Bs. What are the three Bs? Babies, butterflies and bees. Without them, mankind has no future. We cannot pollinate a thing."

Abdul-Mutakallim says bees and butterflies are facing a lack of green space, and that's a form of trauma, not unlike what people are facing.

The Musketeer Association will be collecting signatures against violence. She says she won't leave the site until they reach 5,000.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.