Seth Udinski, FISM News
In the past year, the city of Minneapolis has been nothing short of a war zone as racial chaos plagued the city in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. But over the summer, religious leaders stepped in the gap and instituted a program the fight against the violence in the city. It was called the “21 Days of Peace.” The program helped decrease homocide numbers in a drastic way in June of 2021, compared to the tumultuous month of June in 2020 immediately following Floyd’s death.
This past month, Minneapolis residents continued to foster peace and goodwill in their city in a simple, yet profound way. City residents are intentionally sitting together in lawn chairs, enjoying the summer weather. They call themselves “violence interrupters,” and according to police reports, this is impacting the city’s crime rate.
Residents Louis King and Jerry McAfee shared their thoughts in an op-ed from The Washington Post on September 8. McAfee serves as pastor of New Salem Missionary Baptist Church. The men said,
Our group asked the Minneapolis Police Department to identify the most dangerous spots in our neighborhood, the 4th Precinct, and then we went there, pulled out our chairs and sat down. For the past three months, we have conferred daily with the precinct about the number of volunteers (two to 15, usually) and hours needed. We work in shifts, using a sign-up log online. In the winter, we’ll work on relationship-building with young people in the community. The precinct’s police inspector, Charlie Adams, tells us that since 21 Days of Peace began setting up in the Northside in “hot spots,” the precinct “has seen a reduction in violent crimes in those areas.” He notes that in April, before the initiative began, seven people were shot in and around those dangerous areas; in July, there were two gunshot victims…We’re not declaring victory, by any means. But as elected officials look for answers to end the violence, they would be wise to pull up a chair and take a look at what’s working.
Other cities are also taking a stand against violence and riots. Nashville has seen a 40% decline in crime thanks to groups such as the Nashville Dream Center and Gideon’s Army.