Black churches fighting more than just crime

Miami Times Editorial Department | 7/17/2014, 9 a.m.
In the past several months there have been rallies and marches against crime throughout Liberty City, a community that has ...

In the past several months there have been rallies and marches against crime throughout Liberty City, a community that has seen numerous incidences of gun violence. Many lives have been cut short, leaving parents to face the loss of a child or children to lose a parent. Black churches are an integral part of the community and have always served as meeting places for rallies as warriors in the fight for civil rights. Messages from the pulpit inspired communities to seek change and have faith. Today they continue the fight in another war, a war against crime and the senseless killings in our neighborhoods where gun violence is destroying Blacks youth and families all over America. This year alone, there have been at least 50 random shootings in Black communities all over Miami-Dade County, from Miami Gardens to Little Haiti. The hardest hit has been Liberty City where several Blacks have been gunned down on Martin Luther King Boulevard, an ironic and sad reality considering the civil rights leader was a minister himself who believed in nonviolence.

King ventured outside of the church sanctuary and took his message of peace and non-violence to the community. The shooting death of popular Liberty City pastor Kenneth Johnson has spurred Black religious leaders to do the same. How sad though that it took so many deaths to motivate Black churches to take action. This weekend’s church-sponsored events against crime will bring fresh reminders of a bygone era for many, but what about today’s youth? Many were not alive to see Black churches fight heroic battles against social evils. And with crime out of control, many of today’s youth are exposed and face gun violence.For the future of our youth, the Black church needs to assert itself and stand up against crime. It’s time.

Black churches have fallen asleep as gun-violence has left too many in communities with little hope coupled with fear and a lack of courage to report criminals to police. A good history lesson to our future doctors or lawyers will take more than just walking through a rough neighborhood with placards. This act alone did not desegregate our schools or achieve equal employment opportunities for Blacks. Saturday’s march should be the beginning of a fight for Black churches to restore their reputation as a bedrock in the community. It will be a battle on many levels, one that also involves the future of our youth. It will also be a fight for safer neighborhoods. But perhaps the greatest challenge is the fight to save the Black church from disappearing and forsaking its past. That loss would be the biggest crime of them all.