In response to recent shootings that have left child victims in their wake, volunteers are posted at North Minneapolis hot spots to offer prayers and de-escalate volatile situations.
Feven Gerezgiher reports:
Following weeks of gun violence in North Minneapolis, Pastor Jalilia Brown with Shiloh Temple International Ministries stood out in the Merwin Liquors parking lot with a sign that read “Do you need a prayer?”
When asked what people have wanted prayers for, she says most reply “safety and protection.”
Church and community leaders are “taking back the streets” with an initiative they call “21 days of peace.” This after recent shootings left two children dead and one in critical condition. Coordinator Jeremi Thomas said volunteers are posted at all the Northside hotspots. From 7 am to 1 am, he says they’re doing what police cannot.
“We’re just trying to change the atmosphere, so from prayer, just talking to get to know the people, trying to de-escalate anything that’s going on that could potentially turn into some harmful events,” says Thomas. “We’re just trying to be involved. And with us being involved, we feel like eventually the atmosphere would have to change.”
Thomas is from the Northside, where he has noticed things get worse over the last year. He says residents have been receptive.
Everyone wants hope. And I think if you’re dealing with people who don’t have hope, when they see people that do want change and do want better, it gives them hope even if it’s indirectly. Organizers are inviting people to contribute to the street presence, to bring hope into North Minneapolis and the city at large.
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