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 

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