Kansas City officially crossed a milestone this week passing all of 2014 in the total number of murders thus far in 2015. In fact, the FBI has reclassified Kansas City as one of the top ten most violent cities in America.
While this milestone is to be deplored, across town at the Milestone Youth Center this past Saturday, a group of concerned citizens, clergy and civic leaders gathered to organize a response. To help bring it to the public’s attention, and to make sure Kansas City’s political class take notice of the concern in the urban community, a “All Life Matters” prayer march is planned for this Saturday, Oct. 10 at 2 p.m. The march will begin at the corner of 31st and Prospect Ave. and move down Prospect for five blocks. The march will conclude with a prayer meeting against violence.
Organizers hope that Christians and other concerned citizens, including their brothers and sisters in Christ in the suburbs, will link arms and join them in making a statement that the issue surrounding Kansas City murders must be addressed head-on.
“Every single day in this city the news blasts out another person, often a young person, killed in some kind of shooting,” says Reverend John Birgminham, who has organized marches like this in the past. “The murders must stop!” he implored the meeting.
Birmingham says that while the issue is often about jobs, education, drugs and lack of focus on the urban core, it is also about taking a spiritual stand against the violence that is destroying families.
“The true answer to this problem which affects our whole city is prayer against the demonic forces of violence that have a stronghold in this city,” Birmingham stated.
In fact, the starting point of the march will be the spot where a young person lost their life this year.
“This is not a just a crime, it is a spiritual void in our city. The real solution to killing in our city can only come about when Christians come together to pray. Too many children, too many young people have already been murdered. We are calling people together to pray to stop the violence in our community.
The issue of violence is affecting women, particularly African-American women, who have seen their young sons lose their lives at a young age. Often these young men are not bad kids, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“I felt like my heart was a 1000 piece puzzle but half the pieces was not there. Every day I would look for a piece to put back in,” she said.
Davis says that one of the main problems today is that parents want to be the friend to their children. “Mothers and grandparents don’t need to be a friend to their kids, they need to be the parent figure and provide the guidance,” she states. “As Christians we have backed down and let others do the parenting. We’re even afraid now to speak out against sin for fear of being called hateful or bigots,” She said.
“We are the church,” she says, “And we need to act like the church.”
Another mom at the meeting was Winnie Townsend. Townsend lost her son when he traveled to Omaha with some cousins. He was an innocent bystander when he was shot and killed after local Omaha youth attacked the Kansas City kids for having shown up at a party. Townsend says she heard Rev. Birmingham speak on the radio and wanted to get behind the move to respond to the violence first with prayer.
“If we lift up the name of the Lord in prayer,” she said, “God will hear our cry and help us reduce the violence in our city.”
Organizers say the urban Christian community feels cut-off and alone from the Christian community in the suburbs. They are praying that other pastors and community leaders from around the area will join with them Saturday. One such pastor, Cliff Ruff and his wife Edna, drove from Lawrence, Kan. to show their support.
“If we can tap Heaven, God will answer prayer. It’s one thing to know about Christ. We have to make Christ known,” he said.
That was the consensus of the entire group.
“If Christians come together in prayer,” Birmingham says, “God has promised to hear and answer our prayers but it’s gonna take God-folk to make a difference”.
For further information contact Bishop Birmingham at 816-604-0463or email Michael Bobbitt at firstname.lastname@example.org
–By Dwight Widaman | Editor, Metro Voice Newspaper