Chicago church takes a stand against neighborhood violence

Meredith Flynn —  October 16, 2012

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Pastor Larry Trotter has done four funerals in recent months for victims of gun violence. In his neighborhood on Chicago’s south side, the streets can be very dangerous, especially after this summer, which saw a dramatic increase in the city’s homicide rate.

That’s why Trotter and his congregation from Sweet Holy Spirit Church took to the streets September 30, marching through their neighborhood chanting, “Stop the violence,” and “Save our children.” Almost 200 people participated in the anti-violence rally and march.

“I know that this won’t stop everything, but I want people to grab the passion,” Trotter said, according to Associated Press reports. “If we all join together, we can make an impact.”

According to Chicago police, almost 400 people have been killed this year, and the homicide rate is up 31 percent over last year. Since the extremely violent 1990s, crime has decreased in Chicago, but the recent rise in violence shows there’s much room for improvement.

“The city has gone wild. It’s no longer just gang killing, it’s random killing,” Trotter said. “We have to try and channel that energy and put it in another direction.”

Or march it in another direction. And hopefully it will benefit the generation currently growing up in an environment that can be very frightening. Brandy Lewis was one of the participants in Sweet Holy Spirit’s march. As a mother and someone who works with youth everyday, Lewis told the Chicago Tribune the community has a responsibility to its youngest members to end the violence.

“We’re out here trying to bring attention to our neighborhood that we have to do something to keep our kids alive.”

And prayer plays a key role, Trotter said according to the Tribune. “The message is ‘Stop the violence,’ but the spiritual message is that we’re praying for the … violence to cease.”

-With information from Associated Press, Christian Post, and Chicago Tribune

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Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.