Saturday, July 20, 2013

Statement Regarding Trayvon Martin Call For Justice

This statement was released Saturday July 20th in response to the 100 City Rally called for by Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network concerning Justice for the family of Trayvon Martin




As pastors and citizens of our community we stand in solidarity with countless millions across the country asking that the government undertake a renewed investigation into the possible racial motivations of George Zimmerman in stalking and eventually killing the 17 year old and unarmed Trayvon Martin. 

Although the courts and the predominately White female jury has interpreted the evidence in favor of Mr. Zimmerman, it is more than obvious to millions of Black Americans that the interpretation of Trayvon's efforts in his own self defense were viewed through a racial interpretive and not an interpretive lending itself to either individual or community justice. We feel that his actions are due a much greater level of scrutiny, and as it has historically been in civil rights, if scrutiny is not called for, justice will not be served. 

We also feel that a local conversation is vitally important to our community, in part, because a version of "stand your ground" and "self defense" will be adopted in relationship to new laws associated with concealed carry in Illinois. Since it is abundantly clear that such laws are rarely interpreted in favor of Black men and woman, it is in the citizens best interest to stand with a strong voice demanding the full attention of our elected representatives as they move forward to forge and implement such legislation. 

Finally, we must seek to challenge local authority to create and implement law enforcement policy acceptable to ALL of the citizens of Peoria which includes the Black community. 

Although national statistics affirm that the rate of usage and sales of drugs are shared in sheer numbers by both Black and White individuals, incarceration rates of Blacks in Peoria for such crimes hold steady to national norms, lending to the negative sterotypes and discouraging outcomes for Peoria's Black citizens, families and youth in particular. We feel that we must continue to address these stereotypical attitudes that result from this negative attention and set forth agenda that will address issues of ALL as we seek to build a better, stronger and more vibrant community. 

In short, we encourage and stand with those who stand for the rights of free speech, peaceful assembly, and the message of accountability directed towards those who have been charged to govern us. In a post civil rights America, we should be reminded that this call to accountability is a duty to all citizens and not just some citizens. 

Thank you. 

Pastor Harvey Burnett 
Peoria Assn. Of Pastors 
New Bethel COGIC

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Calling All Fathers And Families. Father's Day Anti-Violence Rally!

As promised the Peoria Association of Pastors is calling out to all Fathers for a pre-Father's day anti-violence community rally.

We will meet for the street and community styled rally at the entrance of Glen Oak Grade School on Saturday June 15th, 2013 at 12:00 noon.

Men woman and children are invited. Men's groups are welcome to represent themselves. We want to take the opportunity to invite men to compel their sons, daughters and neighbors to stop the violence, come out of the streets and embark upon a better path in life. The Mothers left a MESSAGE and we will ask the Fathers to formulate and leave one as well.

For additional information please call (309)688-6599 or email

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Votes Aren't There To Redefine Marriage In Illinois!

Thankfully the votes needed to redefine marriage in Illinois fell woefully short in the current session of the General Assembly, but there is still yet much work to do to secure the institution against further attack.

There was much confusion among pastors in the state over the issue, some claiming that the fight for gay marriage was tantamount to the denial of "civil rights" which in our opinion is a horribly wrong and bad argument. Peoria was not exempt from confusion with some pastoral groups standing to affirm the right of gays to marry.
The Peoria Association Of Pastors STANDS For Traditional Values

Although Illinois currently acknowledges civil unions, we are proud to say that we are a part of and in support of those Pastoral leaders around the state who have arisen to lobby against the redefinition of marriage in the state.  The Peoria Association Of Pastor's Statement on Gay Marriage can be found HERE. As long as this issue continues we will continue to advocate our position and address the arguments of the homosexual right on all basis upon which that argument is delivered.
Here is an email from one of the chief advocates for traditional marriage in the state, the director of National Organization For Marriage (NOM) Mr. Brian Brown: 

Washington, DC — The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today celebrated the failure of legislation to come to a vote late this evening in Illinois seeking to redefine marriage, thus preserving marriage in the state as the union of one man and one woman. The bill's House sponsor, Rep. Greg Harris, announced this evening that he did not have the votes to pass the measure and would not bring the legislation to a vote. Assuming this is the case, the bill is thus dead until the fall when the Legislature reconvenes for a veto session. 
"This effort to redefine marriage in Illinois was one of the most fiercely contested legislative battles in the country this year," said Brian Brown, NOM's president. "This is a great victory for our allies and supporters, as well as Illinois families who have worked tirelessly with us to preserve marriage in Illinois. We are gratified that our collective hard work has paid off in this stunning victory."  
Illinois is a heavily Democratic state and has been widely considered by the gay marriage lobby as virtually certain to redefine marriage. Backers of the legislation have frequently claimed, falsely, that they had the votes in hand to pass the legislation (SB 10). President Obama had urged his former colleagues to vote to redefine marriage, and it was a top priority of both Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Pat Quinn. It even was supported by a former Republican Chairman who was forced to resign from his post for advocating a position contrary to Republican principles.others throughout the state, we did what nobody in the intelligentsia thought was possible. This is a huge victory at a pivotal time, and totally undercuts the lie that somehow same-sex marriage is inevitable."  
NOM spent well over $125,000 on grassroots activities to defeat the bill, but praised others in the coalition for securing the victory.  
"So much for the inevitability of gay marriage," said Brian Brown. "With a coalition that included strong support from the African American community as well as so many  
"Our thanks go out to champions such as the African American Clergy Coalition; Rev. James Meeks and Bishop Lance Davis; the Illinois Conference of Catholic Bishops and their director Bob Gilligan; the Illinois Family Institute and their director David Smith; the Illinois Family PAC and their director, Paul Caprio; and the Coalition of African American Pastors and their chairman, Rev. Bill Owens. Everyone pitched in everything they had to stop this ill-conceived legislation. We at NOM are honored to have been part of the coalition effort."  
NOM also announced that it would form a state PAC to support Democrats and Republicans who supported marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and would oppose legislators, especially Republicans, who abandoned the true definition of marriage.  
"We intend to continue to work with our coalition allies including Pastor Meeks, Bishop Davis and the other amazing leaders in the African American community who boldly stood for the truth about marriage," Brown said. "And those Republicans who betrayed principle will soon learn that their political careers are headed for the same dustbin that met former GOP Chair Pat Brady when he betrayed the cause of marriage."
This should not be construed as a mark against "gay people". As an association we abhor civil injustice in jobs, housing, education and all sorts of social injustice, and we stand ready to assist all men and women, gay or straight, in securing fundamental rights and protecting their loved ones, however, marriage is a foundational principle within society between one man and one woman and cannot be compromised.

We are glad to encourage any pastor and any congregation willing to stand in defense of traditional values to stand along with this association of pastors and churches. Thank you.

Pastor Harvey Burnett
Exec. Director

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Peoria Inner City Track & Field Club, A Good Place For Your Youth This Summer

As pastors we are consistently asked what positive activities can kids be involved in during the summer which is often down time for many students from school. Basketball camps are often full and football season doesn't start until the fall with a very hot and often grueling preseason practice schedule.

So where can your youth go to be in am safe enviroenment,  receive excellent training and preparation for athletic activity and discover and further develop track and field talents?

The Peoria Inner City Track and Field Club is the place!

The Peoria Inner City Track and Field Club (PICTFC)is now accepting applications and enrollments for the 2013-2014 season.  There is not a better deal in town if you want your child to be exposed to a quality track and field program geared toward personal skill development and improved performance, community service, excellent coaching and all within a fun in a safe environment.

Developed  a little over 2 years ago by former Peoria HS track and field standout, Pasor Harvey Burnett, the PICTFC has already made an impact on the lives of many of Peoria's track and field athletes. Already athletes have gone to significant personal bests for this year over last years performance.
The club is seeking athletes interested in track and field or athletes interested in speed or athletic performance development between the ages of 10 and 18 with special training and development available for athletes at higher ages who are unafilliated with college or other semi-professional programs.

The scope of the program includes:

A low introductory annual cost of $40 per athlete
Automatic youth membership in the USATF
Training and development at all levels and skill sets
Strength training and development with a strength trainign professional (age appropriate)
Personal and modernized speed development programs and training
Community service opportunities (pad those college applications with what they want to see)
Ability to participate in meets outside of the area.
Opportunity to participate in the 2013 regional and national Jr. Olympics

There is a parent student enrollment and orientation meeting scheduled for 5:30 PM Tuesday June 4th on the campus of Bradley University at the Romeo B. Garrett Ctr. 824 N. Duryea, Peoria, IL At this meeting we will outline the scope of the program, receive enrollments and have a coaches introduction. Anyone interested in allowing their child to participate in the club is welcome to attend.

If one can't make that meeting, don't worry, practices are scheduled to begin Wednesday June 5th 2013 at 4:00 PM and Manual HS Russell Field.  No child can practice without signed enrollment and waiver and fee and parents are welcome to meet the coaching staff and receive a mini-version of the orientation at that time. Depending upon our sponsor contributions, a limited number of scholarships are available for placement in the program delivered on a first come first serve basis.  

To enroll forms can be downloaded HERE and regulations can be found HERE.  you can mail form along with fee to Peoria Inner City Track at P.O. Box 6167 Peoria, IL. 61601. You may also call our office at (309)688-6599 for further information or instructions.

We are accepting donations to help purchase uniforms equipment and offset enrollment fees. Please go HERE to make donations online and help us reach our goal in exchange receive discounts on national brand items. Check it out.  

Check out or web site HERE and our Facebook page HERE 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Message To The Gang Culture From Peoria Mother's (Father's Too)

Saturday May 11th was an historic event in many ways. Never before have Peoria mother's been called together to deliver an open message as it pertains to issues regarding Peoria's violent crime, and never before has such an event focused on the benefits of changing behavior and encouraging gang members to step out of the life, put down the weapons and come back to being a part of the community.

I (Pastor Burnett) asked the Mother's who were able to attend to set forth a clear meesage to both the gangs and community as a result of this event. We listened and this is what we learned: 

A Message To Gang Members & Those Considering Violence:

1- We love you and are not willing to give up on you. Your are our sons and daughters and we are your mothers. You are our family.

2- Stop the killing and violence. We will do all that we can to plead with you to stop violence, to stop you from killing and being killed.
3- You have a purpose and must live to see it. The purpose is NOT to hang out and or to kill and contribute to them who do. Your purpose is to contribute to the community through your yet undiscovered talents and gifts. 

4- It is our desire that you change your ways and come to salvation. The longest journey begins with one step. We are willing to help you if you can take a chance and step out of the crowd. We stand pleading with and for you and we will embrace you.

5- You are creative and gifted. You live beneath anything placed in you when you yield to violence, gangs and drugs. We need more doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, salespersons, business owners etc. You are and undiscovered treasure. Allow us to see the real you. You are much more than the streets say you are. 
6- We will be accountable to you for our actions, we will do better by embracing and spending time with you, but we ask the same of you towards us. Bring your frustrations to the table of discussion and resolution and not to violence and murder. With god's help together we will find and answer. Let's help one another.
7- Embrace the foundation of truth and morality. If we don't face and deal with honest and sincere truths, there can be no real change. Let us remember our history and build upon the values that made us a strong and proud people.
There Was A Challenge Issued To Peoria Families:

8- Spend as much time with your child and young people delivering and rehearsing values. Commit to having one more dinner per week at the table where all are present. Commit to attending one more school function with your child. Commit to not just sending your children to church, but going to church with them. A minute of prevention and concern could change the course of a life for the next 30 to 50 years.  

There Was Also A Challenge Issued To Peoria's Inner City Institutions Specifically The Church Itself:

9- It is time to step up to serve the community as it deals with the fallout of violence in a much better way. We thank you for food distribution. That is good. We thank you for clothing giveaways. They are needed, but failure to meet the spiritual needs of the family as it struggles to bring their sons and daughters out of gangs and off the streets is unacceptable. We need you as a community church to band together and overwhelm the neighborhood when crime occurs within the community and deliver innovative ideas to address the problems. With little exception, the leadership of the church is not nearly visible enough in the neighborhood settings when trouble arises and does not deliver many proactive measures to the community to prevent gang and drug proliferation. This must change. We need you, and you need us.

This is not the end all of everything that must be done, but it is the beginning of the shift in pleading for these young mena dn young women to embrace new values that are centered on and around family and truth. Without these things we have very litle if anything to build upon. It is time that these young people build their lives instead of destroying them.

Pastor H. Burnett
Exec. Director

Peoria Journal Star article HERE 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Calling ALL Women & Families! Mother's Day Rally 2013

The Peoria Association of Pastors For Community & Spiritual Renewal is calling for a pre-mother's Day community rally for the restoration of our families and peace and safety of our community. This is not just an event. It promises to be a paradigm shift in how the community assesses and addresses crime and violence and sets forth change.
This gathering will take place Saturday May 11th, 2013 just prior to Mother's Day Sunday, at 12:00 noon,  near the corner of Butler & Warren Streets on Peoria's South Side, and is scheduled to last about an hour.

The first of two community rallies, the goal of the pre-Mother's Day event is to gather 1,000 Mothers/Women and their families to address crime and violence calling upon on our youth to cease from both destroying one another and our community's hope and future.   

"We will not fear, nor will we be afraid. It is time to call our young men and young women in. We must make efforts to speak to them, ask them, persuade them, to change. "Don't Shoot" cannot do what you can do and what we must do. WE must restore our families and children. No more death, no more murder, no more guns and no more shooting. We want them to live and what we can do is first pray, then plead with them to change. You will be heard!" ~ Pastor Harvey Burnett  

Pastor Burnett is asking for women and mother's to bring themselves, their significant others and families to pray and speak to our community and our youth. Email or call (309)688-6599 for additional infomration or how you and your group may participate and support this landmark community effort and event.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bringing Like-minded Parents Together

Engaging children in a successful education is a cornerstone of the community and is a vital aspect of our city's health and growth. Many of the families and children that attend local schools are also part of the local or community oriented church. It is vitally important that the church be engaged in the school process and share in its status. 

There is a new forum, inspired by association director, Pastor Harvey Burnett, run and operated by parents who wish to come together to discuss and address certain issues as it pertains to their district 150 school. Known as "Parent Connection" this group seeks to empower parents and students with education on the process of problem resolution, information sharing and what it takes to create the best possible educational experience for our children at all levels. 

Parent Connection seeks to engage parents from all Peoria District 150 schools. This is a function totally independent of District 150, its administration or its staff and information is free flowing. The goal is to help parents connect with each other regarding the current process of each school and to seek to provide suggestions on how issues and problems can be addressed and solved in the best possible and most efficient manner at the local school level.  

Information that can be shared includes but is not limited to things such as the dates of local PTCO meetings, requirements for an adequate and successful bullying policy, why parents must be involved in how Title 1 dollars are spent, and sharing of information as it pertains to District 150 sponsored events and forums such as Parent University and Parent Teacher Advisory meetings. 

Anyone can become a part of the Parent Connection by clicking the following link and pressing "Like".
Parent Connection Peoria District 150 Parents