Annual St. Louis event to promote peace has new meaning this year


by Ray Preston / News 4 and Dan Greenwald /

Posted on August 19, 2014 at 5:04 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 19 at 5:40 PM

 ( – Organizers of Peacefest told News 4 the annual event in Forest Park will have a new meaning this year.

“Peacefest has become a staple in the St. Louis community and so now it takes on a whole new meaning as St. Louis is in the midst of a whirlwind,” said James Clark with Better Family Life.

Pastors across St. Louis are encouraging their congregation to attend the event, which will be held Sunday in Forest Park.  Pastors are also asking congregants to step up their involvement by church holding picnics in the park.

The unrest in Ferguson has triggered discussions and debates around the country on race relations. Clark said the country cannot allow people to live in isolation. Clark said the country must do away with ghettos because he says a subculture emerges from those ghettos.

“We have got to be just as passionate and outraged when there’s an African American finger on the trigger, so we have got to turn the corners on allowing African Americans to kill African Americans, African Americans to victimize other African Americans,” Clark said.

Clark is also calling for better relations between the community and police.

Many who are calling for an end to violence on the streets of Ferguson say there is a disconnect between the younger protesters and the older leaders in African American churches.

“The young pastors are on the street, they have been marching with the crowds. They are not sitting on the sidelines,” Rev. Ronald Bobo with Westside Missionary Baptist Church said.

“We are aware most of the people causing problems on the streets are not from Ferguson or the general area,” said Rev. Earl Nance.

Both Nance and Clark the violence should not be used to deflect the pain people in St. Louis are feeling.