MIAMI (CBS4) – The growing problem of gun violence in South Florida has local pastors taking notice and action. They hope to stop violent crime by coming together and using their influence to make a difference.
Song and prayer filled the streets of Liberty City Monday night as pastors from across Miami-Dade County gathered to preach and pray about recent violence taking the lives of young people.
The effort is called “C.A.P.” which stands for “Call a Pastor”. Leaders of local churches are taking their message of non-violence to the streets.
“We’re out to save our children is what it’s about,” explained Pastor Mike Davis of Prince of Peace Worship Center. “We have to go out into the community speak to them show them love show them hope. There is hope.”
But it can be hard for kids to feel hope when they hear gunfire in their neighborhoods.
“I feel scared like I’ve got to watch my back,” said 15-year-old Chelsea Brereton.
“I don’t feel safe because you don’t know what’s coming,” said 11-year-old Jamal Bell.
Just this weekend, a 24-year-old lay on the street in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. It was one of two shootings within blocks of each other in Northwest Miami-Dade.
At the event Monday night, pastors brought out a casket.
“It had a mirror in it so as you walk by you can see yourself in it. It could be you the next time. It could be your children the next time. It could be your niece, your nephew, it could be your mother, father that’s what it’s all about,” said Pastor Davis.
That’s why pastors urged both children and adults to work with religious leaders, community leaders, and the police and to call a pastor for help before pulling out a gun.
“The community is not really communicating with the police we want them to know the police are their friends,” said Pastor Davis.
The message seemed to be sinking in.
“Don’t be scared to snitch,” said Chelsea Brereton.
“Tell when you see something,” said Bryan Brereton, 13.
Tyrone Young, who stopped by the event when he heard music, said the community needs to work together.
“What we need to do is one whole body itself as a family is come together and stop it. It’s never that serious for it to go to shooting or gunplay or anything like that. If it gets to that, be the bigger person and just walk away,” he said.
The pastors plan more events like Monday’s hoping to “put a ‘C.A.P.’ on violence.”