Peace in the Streets

The City program “Peace in the Streets” continued monthly throughout the summer led by Rev. Kevin Jones who organizes and gets the word out inviting residents to join in the march in an attempt to show solidarity in a troubled neighborhood.

The City provides a police escort with a minimum of six officers to accompany the walkers, who split into two groups to cover more of the neighborhood.
We talk to the residents who are outside and ask permission to place a “Peace in the Streets” sign on their property.
We offer young men between the age of 18-24 an application for “The Mayors Initiative Program.” The City has arranged with businessmen to hire these young men in an apprenticeship position. With the amount of new construction jobs this could be a dream come true for many.

Over the summer walkers have had their own personnel police escort due to the lack of participation from residents which I admit can be discouraging when only five or six people show up to walk neighborhoods in 90 degree temperatures, until you notice many of the homes have no air conditioning. Then you take a moment to thank God for what you have and the advantages He has given you.

I admit to becoming discouraged and wondering if we even make a difference in people’s lives and then a resident offers you a bottle of cold water, another takes the time to thank you, another places a sign in their yard,a young man says he is looking for work and fills out an application. Yes, we are making a difference.

This last Thursday I arrived for the march to see 20-25 folks ready to march with us, a very pleasant surprise.
Channel 5 was present and I assume due to a relatively peaceful summer, the problems are back with a vengeance with three shootings in Sept; and they realized there was a story to be told.

I spoke with a resident who accepted a yard sign and we talked about the recent shootings when she pointed to a group of young men standing on a corner 2 blocks away.
I asked if they were gang members, and she replied yes, that’s “their” corner to sell drugs.

At a recent City Commission meeting I invited residents to join us in the Walk for Peace hoping a few more folks would attend.
A resident watching the meeting from home, named Matt Chambers, made the decision to join the Sept. walk and had the foresight to send his own invitation on his Facebook page. I saw many new faces in the crowd, and they mentioned they were from the south end of the city, and I asked them why they were walking today, and they said they read it on Matt’s Facebook page.
I credit Mr. Chambers for the turnout, and a sincere “Thank you” to him for taking the time to attend and send out invitations.

This is the difference one man can make.

The next march is to be held on 10/20/2016 at Coleman Park,1116 21st. St to start 6:00 PM.   Please join us.