Rev. Jeffrey Brown from Boston, emphatically urged Stocktonians to reach out directly to those doing violence.
“This is a call for the people of faith in Stockton, California,” Brown said in front of a congregation gathered at Progressive Church for a town hall meeting Tuesday night.
“People of faith need to realize we need to do more than pray,” he said.
They can do more through “Operation Ceasefire” – a movement which has clergy communicating directly with highest risk youth and young adults.
Its worked in Chicago, getting gang members to the table, getting them involved as church members and even law enforcement sit side-by-side, building partnerships, with the goal to end the violence.
“How many of you here have had a close relative or close friend that has been shot or killed,” the reverend asked the crowd, as the majority raised their hands.
Pastor Brown has seen the number of hands dramatically drop in his town.
“We did it in Boston. We had a 29-month period in which we had zero juvenile homIcides. It can be done,” he said.
“We’ve also seen how devastating acts of violence get people to their feet in South Sacramento, physically walking through crime-ridden areas to reach out.
Pastor Lesley Simmons describes how it all started two years go.
“We had a defining moment in Sacramento, where there was a young lady who had gotten shot, covering her son up. Her name was Monique. She had gotten shot with a bullet, covering her son. It was at that moment we were called to act in Sacramento… initiating those night walks.”