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Memphis church holds vigil for victims of violence and COVID-19

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 9:56 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Memphis church honored those touched by violence Friday night and remembered those lost because of it.

A vigil to remember those lost to both gun violence and COVID-19 was held at New Hickory Hill Missionary Baptist Church.

“Praying and giving God, saying, we trust you with it because we’re not doing well with it. We’ve seen so much death in Memphis and in the Mid-South,” said vigil emcee Cathy Hart.

With near record-setting homicide numbers in the city, and over 2,000 dead from COVID-19, Mother Ida Fitzgerald said these daily rising numbers, some of which are reflected in her own congregation, are what called her to arrange this community event.

“Because of the loss of so many lives with COVID, with drive-by shootings, and all the other things that are going on in our city,” she said.

Friday afternoon, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland released his weekly update. The main focus was violent crime.

Strickland’s administration is working to rebuild an understaffed police department, reduce recidivism, and increase economic opportunity, among other efforts.

“Together we stand or divided we fall. I’m hoping that this conference tonight, we will come together as a community,” said Fitzgerald.

“We can’t just stay in our own little silo and think that everything’s going to work out fine. We have to learn how to branch out like this and connect with other folks,” Hart said.

It’s a first-of-its kind event for this church, but hopefully a first step in uniting, at least in this part of Memphis, against the worst times to come out on the other side.

A common topic in Strickland’s update and the vigil was juvenile crime.

Strickland has recently called for more parental involvement in the home, and the folks at New Hickory Hill agree with that and prayed for that.

They said the responsibility for shaping change in a broad way falls on everyone.

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