March Through Gravois Park Neighborhood
In St. Louis, groups of dedicated people rarely take to the streets of our neighborhoods to focus on community building and non-violence. It is a shame that it had to happen as a rememberance of the tragic shooting of a six year old child. This rally was the first event of a newly formed coalition of local congregations focused on reinvigorating African American Churches' involvement in their communities.
The march stemmed off the shooting of six year old, Daja Cotton, who lived in the 3400 block of Pennsylvania. The street is just one block from the Community Arts and Media Project (CAMP Building). It consisted of parishoners from three churchs, Lane Tabernacle CME, Washington Metropolitan AME Zion Church, and Blackwell Chapel AME Zion Church, along with ACORN [Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now].
The majority of the group had come directly from church and had marched for over an hour in the heat to spread their message. They wanted to reach out to the community, especially here in this southside neighborhood "where it's the most dangerous in the city," said Reverand Ken McCoy from Blackwell Chapel in Webster Groves. He also said "it's time to take responsibility for what is happening in our community."
But the group wanted to make sure there would not be bloodshed for bloodshed. They prayed the masked gunman who shot the three people the night of September 2nd would turn himself in and that their would be no more killing for the blood that ran from the innocent six year old. Amens were spoken when one pastor stressed the need for the community to talk to their young, black men and encourage them to do positive things rather than continue the hatred and violence.
The three churchs, along with the Methodist Alliance will be working together to organize other marches of this type to bring focus on the community. To learn more about their organizing you can reach Lane Tabernacle Church at (314) 533-0316.