‘Love is the answer’: Whitehaven pastors speak out against gun violence in Memphis

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 11:40 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Several Whitehaven pastors joined together Monday to express their concern for gun violence within the community.

The Concerned Pastors of Whitehaven (CPOW) say there have been 19 homicides within the Raines Station area which includes communities like Whitehaven, Westwood, Walker Homes, Box Town Lakeview Gardens and Coro/Roboco Lake.

The group says that is “19 too many” and wants to express that there are other ways to deal with conflict than resorting to gun violence.

“They’re doing this because they want to be heard and the arguments and the violence has taken place because they feel like the other person didn’t hear them,” said one pastor. “We’re here saying we hear you. We’re here as pastors, we’re as fathers, we’re here as mothers saying we hear you and we don’t want you to destroy our community.”

The group plans to open up gyms and start programs to give young community members more active and creative things to do.

“The issue of gun violence and murders in our community -- we have to get outside the box and be creative and find programs. Let them play basketball and then maybe in the middle of the game say ‘timeout’ let’s talk about your life matters,” said another pastor.

The group says the community has the ability to do this, it’s just a matter of the community getting together to get it up and running.

CPOW agrees the biggest answer to the ongoing violence within the Whitehaven community and the City of Memphis is love.

“We can no longer stay in our churches and expect them to just come. We’ve got to get beyond the walls of the church, reach out into the lawns of the community and put our hands on children because most of them, if we show them that we love them, then they will listen to the voice of reason and correction, but if we don’t love them it’s going to be difficult to chastise or to teach them anything new. So love is the answer. That’s first base.”

A prayer vigil to honor the victims that have lost their lives to gun violence is set for Friday at the Whitehaven Plaza at 5 p.m.

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