Tulsa Pastors Gather In Effort To End Violence
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa is on pace to set a record number of homicides this year, so 50 Tulsa pastors gathered tonight to find ways to stop the violence.
The rally, titled "Taking Back Our Community," was held at the Agape Outreach Ministries, 1029 North Utica Avenue.
Pastors from many denominations joined forces with one common goal: stop Tulsa's violence and take back the community.
Violence in Tulsa has many of the city's faith leaders in disbelief and drowning in sorrow.
Many here say they are overcome with grief every time they have to preside over the funeral for someone lost to violence — whether they are the perpetrator or the victim.
They talked about ways to capture the passion from the community following Tulsa's violent crime incidents ,and use it to educate and unite.
They talked about getting their congregations to be a light in their homes and neighborhoods, and how they as faith leaders have to demonstrate they believe in positive change so people can follow their example.
A critical point was learning to relate to younger people in Tulsa — and listening to them in new ways — so that they can reach out and stop violent acts before they happen.
Pastors say they can't be afraid to get involved and they need to support each other when one goes out into neighborhoods to effect positive change.
"To build a relationship with the officers, to build a relationship with the pastors in our communities, I believe that would be a good start. But staying behind the walls and staying segregated in our own congregations is not going to help," said Senior Pastor Layla Caldwell.
"This is something we're living everyday, this is our community, thinks is our world, these are our children, this is our future, so we need to be a part of it," said Pastor Bill Davis.
The pastors say they are not going to solve the issues tonight.
But they believe the dialogue has started.
The next step, they say, is to go door-to-door in Tulsa's communities and rally people to be a light in on their homes and on their block, and be a voice for the voiceless.