Together in song and prayer, a community in Colorado held a town hall meeting to discuss violence and its continued role in society. Leaders say these are crucial conversations, but hard to have.
“In the times we live in, unfortunately, we see an increase in violence in our cities and Denver is not unique to that,” said MiDian Holmes, of the iSSACHAR Center for Urban Leadership, where the meeting was held. Thursday’s event.
Rising violence in Denver, Aurora and surrounding areas is prompting leaders to take meaningful action. On Friday, a 12-year-old child was shot and killed while standing outside by a passing car. A 14-year-old boy was injured.
“In a community that is increasingly divided on all kinds of things, from masks to racing to any topic, politics…we need leaders who will be relentless, to pursue justice in our communities, to the good of all, and also to seek reconciliation across divisions,” said Scott Lundeen, CEO of iSSACHAR.
Relentless leaders like activist Sharletta Evans, whose 3-year-old son was killed in 1995 in a drive-by shooting at the hands of her now adopted son, Raymond Johnson. Evans is sharing her story in hopes of bringing change.
“We don’t need to have the conversation of being tough on crime, but we really need to look at what kind of restoration needs to happen in the lives of our young people,” Evans said.
The works of David and Mary were also victims of gun violence. Nearly 15 years ago, the family was shot as they left the church in Colorado Springs. The gunman, who was shooting at people in the parking lot, killed two of the couple’s daughters.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think of them,” David said. “Colorado is a pretty violent place. Everyone needs help to get through this, and it needs all of us to come together, whether it’s the church community like we did or just the mainstream community. , to get through that.”
For Evans, she hopes her message of forgiveness and restoration will help the community through the violence it continues to experience.
“We really have to be proactive with our kids,” Evans said. “Don’t underestimate the peer pressure and influences on these streets to commit crimes.”