Some of us have learned that nothing good can come from getting involved in a physical fight—so we tend to walk away or turn the other cheek. But many people, especially youth, still get caught up in such violence.
In a video that proves it really does take a village to raise a child, Ibn Ali Miller fearlessly walked into the middle of a street fight and insisted the teenage brawlers make a truce, a decision that caused many to hail the man as a “peacemaker.”
Ibn Ali Miller was also able to show the two teenagers and their friends that one thing is much more powerful than fists: reason.
In a 4-minute video that’s been watched more than 36 million times, two brawling high school teenagers were on a street corner surrounded by friends who were laughing, encouraging, and recording the fight on their phones. Miller saw the group from his car while out doing errands and approached them without thinking twice.
“I stepped in just because it was the right thing to do,” he said. “Those kids didn’t look like predators to me. To me, I saw my own kids. I didn’t see predators.”
He put himself between the two young men and offered them a word of advice.
“You’re almost men, you’re not kids no more,” Miller told them. “Start acting like it, yo. You’re going to get nowhere like this.”
He extended the tough love to the snickering friends and condemned them for egging them on. Miller reminded one teen that his parents have sacrificed a lot for him.
“I know where you’re from, humble beginnings. Your mom and dad worked hard to get where they’re at.” He told another, “Your dad’s doing life, you think it’s a game out here? It’s no game out here. It’s real out here, little bro.”
The 26-year-old married father of six encouraged the two teens, who were allegedly fighting over a girl, to talk. He told them he wouldn’t leave until they shook hands, and eventually they did.
After one of the young witnesses uploaded the video on Facebook, it went viral and garnered the respect of several celebrities, including rapper Snoop Dogg, basketball pro LeBron James, and Philadelphia Eagle Torrey Smith.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 21, 2017
Miller’s actions were also praised by Atlantic City Council members, who honored the 26-year-old peacemaker at a local meeting.
“A dozen positive lessons could be taught from that four-minute video alone,” Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian said in a statement. “He fearlessly spoke so much truth to those young kids. We need more adults in the world that are willing to step in to help pull back our youth from the edge.”
“For him to intervene like that was tremendous and more importantly for the children to listen. That could have went [sic] the other way,” Council President Marty Small said in an interview the morning after the meeting.
While Miller was praised for his courageous actions, he used the opportunity to honor one person in the room, his mother Sabrina Winter.
“People get 15 minutes of fame a lot, and I would like to use every second of the 15 minutes to send gratitude to my mother,” said Miller. Choking back tears, he credited his mother for his actions, who said are a reflection of how she raised him.
His mother said, “One thing I always told them in making decisions is think about the best thing that can happen and the worst thing that can happen, because either side has consequences.”
Miller also acknowledged the two teens—Sheldon Ward and Jamar Mobley—and their parents and guardians.
“Not only did they decide not to fight, but they decided to shake hands and display unity,” he said.
“Not only do I want to thank my mom but I want to thank the people who raised these men as well, because they raised them to be young men of reason, which seems to be a very, very rare trait in today’s youth.”
One of the teens also thanked Miller for intervening in their fight.
“A couple days ago, I was thinking it was cool to fight in front of my friends or I need this fame, but it really doesn’t mean nothing at all, so I want to say thank you again,” said Mobley.
“I hope that this is something that will influence people to do more character building, because that’s what these young kids need, they need character building,” said Miller.