In New Orleans, Elderly Pray Away Gang Violence

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Several times a week, a group of six women and one man pray for their city as they drive through their gang-infested neighborhood in New Orleans, according to The Times Picayune.

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Millie Campbell (pictured), 76, and Betty Minor, 69, are a part of the group who have been blessing the city for the past six weeks. As Campbell drives with Minor in her blue Chevrolet through the 7th Ward, Campbell says:

Oh, God, we thank you for the blood of Jesus. Touch this block in the name of Jesus.

When Minor isn’t punctuating Campbell’s prayers with a number of “Hallelujahs” and “Glorys,” she adds:

Cover your children, Father God. In the name of Jesus.

While The Times-Picayune notes that a number of clergy, organizations, and youth ministries are all involved in the effort to stem the murder and mayhem that continues day by day in New Orleans, this small group believes that when a situation becomes to heavy to bear, one must take it to the Lord.

Campbell adds:

We got a problem, but we don’t know how to solve it. We’re taking it to the Spirit.

About two weeks ago, NewsOne covered the violence that raged in New Orlean’s streets, when four people were killed and 10 were wounded during a single weekend. At that unfortunate time, 11-year-old Keian Ester was shot in the back of his skull as he played Xbox in his home. Obviously, New Orleans isn’t alone in its black-on-black murder problem.

Just two years ago, the NY Post reported that the murder rate for African Americans was up 31 percent in the city of New York, with 60 percent of Blacks being the murder victims. And as if that weren’t enough, in Chicago, while all other races saw their murder rates decrease in 2010, UPI reported that African Americans weren’t so lucky:

Wesley Skogan, a crime and policing expert at Northwestern University’s Institute of Policy Research, said many African-American neighborhoods in Chicago didn’t see the decline in crime that white, Hispanic or other diverse neighborhoods enjoyed.

While cities, such as Atlanta and Oakland, have actually seen declines in violence, the rate of Black youth being murdered by other Black youth across the country dwarfs these relative improvements.
Somehow, witnessing this elderly group taking it upon themselves to go out and literally pray for “these streets,” is bittersweet: On the one hand, you have a segment of the community doing all they can to improve a dire situation; on the other, surely the strong among us can step it up and do better for our loved ones and communities.

What do you think is the answer to Black-on-Black murder and violence in our communities? Do you think this group is on to something and we should be praying more?
Read the rest at The Times-Picayune.
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