Tulsans Preaching Anti-Violence, Fed Up With Crimes In Community

Sunday, September 26th 2010, 7:29 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A North Tulsa congregation held an anti-violence meeting Sunday afternoon. Community members continue to brainstorm ways to put an end to crimes and they admit that solutions are tough to come by.

When a young person is killed in Tulsa, Police Chaplain Lemuel Taylor often has the grim task of informing the victim's family.

"I've been doing this 16 years and I've been making too many calls of young people getting killed," said Chaplain Lemuel Taylor.

The chaplain was one of several speakers to appear in front of the congregation at the New Heights Christian Center Sunday. Its members, like many other North Tulsa organizations, say they are fed up with the violence in their community.

Only a few miles away earlier this month, 14-year-old Qualynn Dabney died while trying to rob a convenience store. He was shot by the clerk after police say Dabney and another armed teen entered the store.

Those who organized Sunday's meeting say the age of those involved in these shootings is appalling.

"We just want to get it stopped. We just want it to stop. It doesn't seem to stop so whatever we can do to help alleviate the problem, that's what we want to do," said Barbara Shannon with New Heights Christian Center.

The group is hoping the experts will provide them with some insight on how to do that. They also want to build on the momentum from other recent anti-violence rallies, but realizes that, at some point, meetings aren't enough.

"We're Christians and we do believe in praying. Sometimes we can do more than just pray. In this situation, I believe we can do a lot more than just pray," said Shannon.

Some members of New Heights Christian Center are former gang members themselves, and they hope to reach out to youth in the community.