Local clergymen taking stand against gun violence in St. Louis - KMOV.com

Local clergymen taking stand against gun violence in St. Louis

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(KMOV.com) – A recent round of shootings has prompted pastors in north St. Louis to start a plan of action to fight violent crime.

Pastors of local African American Methodist Episcopal Churches (AME) said Thursday's three double shootings was the last straw.

“I know the Christian church does not tolerate this kind of hatred or this kind of killing. The question what are we going to do?” said Pastor Spencer L. Booker of St. Paul AME Church.

At a Good Friday service Booker announced that local AME congregations would join with other churches this summer to promote an extensive anti-violence campaign.

“It's devastating and deadly,” said Jeffrey Boyd, the 22nd Ward Alderman. He says he knows the father of one of the shooting victims in one of the double shootings. He knows police can't be on every street corner. The city offers recreation centers and many resources to help families and youth, but Boyd says he thinks that's not enough.

“I guarantee you most of the violence we see in our neighborhoods, when you dig deep enough, go back to the family structure,” Boyd said.

AME church leaders say they want an effort to reduce to the number of guns in the urban core, and plan to set up GED programs. They also will be pressing business and community leaders to create jobs, but pastors say young people need to learn to respect human life.

“Let's join together and do some clergy policing in our communities,” Booker said. “That we may bring young people to the realization that gun violence is not the answer.”

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