Ministerial Alliance Calls for Safety Summit

By Pastor Leon Emerson

The Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance will call community leaders from the areas of business, education, government, public safety, public and private health, and religion to our first ever Metro Denver Safety Summit. Long before the recent killing of officer Celina Hollis in City Park and the countless killings that have taken place throughout the metro Denver area the GMDMA has called for a community/safety summit to deal with the rash of black on black violence and other violent crimes that are being committed in our community.

The purpose of the Metro Denver Safety Summit is to invite key persons in the community who are committed to addressing our issues of violence. The GMDMA believes that no one entity will be able to solve the issues of violence because the reasons for violence are many. The role education plays, especially our school system, in eradicating violence is critical. Poor education and violence share a very close relationship. We need the DPS Superintendent and other state and local educators to take part in this event.

If poor education and violence share a relationship, then poor economics and violence are wedded to each other. People who are challenged financially and aren’t able to acquire basic necessities often turn to violence as a response to being without. The Business community has a role to play in addressing crime in this community and it may have one of the biggest responsibilities of all. The GMDMA will call upon the Mayor of Denver and the Governor of Colorado to assist us with the business community in making a serious effort to develop an employment model and small business opportunities for those in the black and brown community. There is no denying that the crime committed in our community is ripe with and full of economic implications. It will be crucial to our success that the business community has a “buy-in” around our efforts.

We will be asking for support from our elected officials. There are things that can be done, legislatively, to address crime and violence in Denver and Colorado. The GMDMA believes that the penalty for possessing an illegal firearm in the commission of a crime should be severe. The process by which guns are bought and sold must be closely scrutinized and even changed. Gun dealers and gun sales must be monitored with more oversight and vigilance. Our politicians must be willing to make laws that penalize those who use guns illegally.

We will need the mental health community and the public health community to be involved. Our people must be treated for years and decades of generational hatred. Our experience in this country cannot be minimized. We have mental health issues that are compounded by historical trauma and all of the immediate trauma faced by black folk everyday who live in America.

We need local police departments and the sheriff’s departments and even the fire departments to join our efforts. They represent public safety in this community. The police cannot solve all of our problems by simply arresting more people. We have to help our police officers and other safety officials with better and more ethical community policing. We must play a role in our own safety. If we see and know of those who commit crime in our community, we must be willing to tell. The “no snitching” rule in our community must cease. How can any civilized culture allow crime and murder to happen next door and you not tell what you see? If you allow it to happen next door, it’s coming to your door next! We have to take responsibility for our own community safety. No one, not even the police, is obligated to take care of you. We must take care of ourselves!

And then we are inviting the religious community to join us at this summit. We must be the beacons of light in the community. Love is the answer. We know that it really isn’t violence that’s the problem. Violence is a symptom of hate. Hate is the problem-self-hate. It is an epidemic among black/brown youth and black/brown people throughout this country. We were taught self-hate and just like our slave masters taught us to hate, we can teach ourselves not to hate. If you learned hate, you can unlearn hate.

We hate because we don’t know who we are. Hatred is about identity or the lack thereof. People who hate, especially believers, don’t know who they are. It was the German poet Johann Goethe who said “Hatred is peculiar. You will always find it strongest and most violent where there is the lowest degree of culture.” In other words, wherever people are acting like animals toward each other, wherever you have people who see themselves as animals, hatred will take on a violent form.

We will need the faith community to remind us and help us shape our identity. Only love will conquer hate. That is the message of Jesus Christ to the world. Our God is a lover of all people and he commands us to love all those God loves. When we love, we never kill what we love. We protect it and preserve it for as long as we can. I do hope that you, the community, lend your support to us as we seek to bring our community together and address this epidemic of violence in Denver.

  • Details of Summit:
  • Where: Now Faith Christian Center Church
  • When: July 28, 2012
  • Who: Political, Business, Religious, Education, and Health Leaders
  • Agenda: TBA
  • Time: 8:00am.-5:00pm.
  • Breakfast and lunch provided.

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