ABLA appoints pioneer interventionist Aquil Basheer as new Executive Director

Handpicked by the Board of Directors to help the 11-year-old organization maintain its mission to support community-based solutions that help restore peace and save lives, A better LA, founded in 2003 by Seattle Seahawks football coach, Pete Carroll, has appointed Aquil Basheer, a pioneer of the community based interventionist movement, to serve as the agency’s new executive director.

For 40 years, Basheer has worked to reduce violence in the Greater Los Angeles community. As the executive director of Maximum Force Enterprises, Inc. and founder of the “practitioner based” Professional Community Intervention Training Institute (PCITI), his innovative programs have served as a model for similar efforts nationwide. The institute professionally trains and certifies frontline “peacekeeping first responders,” each who have made serious commitments to helping reduce gang and other types of violence in their communities.  The curriculum was adopted as a model for gang intervention by the Los Angeles City Council.

The son of the city’s first African-American firefighter, Basheer is no stranger to L.A.’s diverse and complicated issues.  An author and syndicated columnist, his experiences are documented nationwide. Basheer has authored 27 Laws of Urban Street Survival, a roadmap for crisis-intervention experts, emergency responders and violence abatement specialists on gang-related confrontations, dispute resolution, hostility mediation and peace building.

In June, Basheer will evoke the reality of gang warfare, but acknowledge the possibility of peace with the release of his latest book, Peace In the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence (Turner Publishing).

In great demand for his ability to quickly assess and develop a plan of action for areas facing the threat of violence, Basheer travels nationally and internationally, training interventionists’ teams, community-based organizations, emergency responders, social service agencies, law enforcement personnel and diverse municipalities, on how to understand, interact and deal with gangs, community violence, and crisis-related situations. His innovate approach to dealing with violence has earned him federal, congressional, state and private recognition for his work.

As its new director, Basheer will oversee A Better LA’s daily management of the agency’s dense network of intervention/outreach workers, providing comprehensive training and oversight and administering financial resources for community partners to develop support systems for families and after-school and recreational programs.

Basheer will also manage the establishing of food banks and community distribution centers, as "safe passage" programs for children to travel safely to and from school and provide life and job skills training to those who’ve been incarcerated, empowering them to become more productive employees, citizens and members of their community.