Marching for Peace

Marching for Peace
September 04
00:00 2014

Church encourages residents to take stand against violence

(pictured above:  Ebony Mitchell, Rev. Yvonne Hines, Clarissa Mitchell and Moriah Paige prepare to walk.)

DSC_0017Dozens of residents took to the streets of East Winston Friday evening to take a very public stance against violence.

Mt. Sinai Full Gospel Deliverance Center organized the “Take Back the Night” walk, which began at Bowen Park. Participants walked a three-mile route through a neighborhood they say has seen more than its share of crime.

“We’re making an effort to pull the residents together to demonstrate their dedication to making things better and to raise awareness in the community and in the city,” said Mt. Sinai Pastor Yvonne Hines.

As they walked, they belted out gospel tunes; a police escort helped them navigate through traffic. They walked along Machine Street, where in 2006, 13 year-old Isaiah Dejohn Brooks was found shot to death; his homicide remains unsolved.

Marchers make their way through East Winston.

Marchers make their way through East Winston.

They trekked by Mt. Sinai on Manchester, the street where the city’s first homicide of the year took place on Jan. 3. Delroy East, 44, was found in the trunk of a parked car at his home. His murder has not been solved either. Marchers looped down North Cleveland Avenue, a street where 23-year-old Christopher Jones was found shot to death in March.

There have been 11 homicides in Winston-Salem so far this year, a stark increase from the five at this time last year.

Walkers stopped at various intersections to pray for an end to violence. Along the way, stragglers joined them, doubling their numbers to about 100. Those who couldn’t walk, followed in automobiles. Hines wants the march to inspire residents to mobilize.

Rev. Yvonne Hines

Rev. Yvonne Hines

“I hope these residents and these churches in the area will be stirred to become more active in making our community safer and raising the living standards to a better quality of life,” she said.

Mt. Sinai, which has about 300 members, has done its share of work in the community. It offers financial management counseling for first time homebuyers, a food pantry and clothing closet and champions redevelopment in the area.

Hines’ call to action is already been answered by other church leaders.

Calvester Griggs with Ike Black.

Calvester Griggs with Ike Black.

Pastor Calvester Griggs, whose Prince of Peace Baptist Church on 25th Street is along the route walkers took, was among the march participants.

“There’s so many things going on after the sun goes down that folks are not aware of,” he said. “The church is here to have a positive impact on the community and (to) let the folks know the church has an interest in what goes on in the community.”

Though he only has 30 congregants, Griggs said Prince of Peace is doing its part by providing clothing to those in need and showing the positive path of Christianity.

DSC_0061Further down 25th Street, the march passed the entrance to LaDeara Crest Estates. Ike Black, who runs the apartment complex’s community center, was among the marchers. Beforehand, he informed LaDeara Crest residents of the march by distributing fliers. Black said the apartment complex has been successful in weeding out crime by taking a proactive stance on property crime and using contracted, off-duty officers for security.

He was encouraged by the march, saying it is about “people coming together to show … that people do care about their neighborhoods and their community.”

Kenneth Lowery

Kenneth Lowery

Kenneth Lowery, a Wake Forest University sophomore and Mt. Sinai member, said he is proud to be a part of a church that takes action and addresses community issues head-on.

“You can only do so much in the four walls of the church,” he said. “The real outreach is when you go outside the church, reach people where they are in the community; and that’s what we’re doing right now.”

Marchers also hit parts of 23rd Street and Jackson Avenue before returning to Bowen Boulevard and the park where they began.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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