2015: Already a bloody, heartbreaking year of shootings in Mpls
Hennepin County Sheriff Richard W. Stanek has continually expressed his concern about the violence besieging the African American community. Bishop Richard D. Howell, Jr. is recognized for his dedication and leadership in service to justice in Hennepin County.
Bishop Howell opened his sanctuary, Shiloh Temple International Ministries church, on July 13th for a crucial 90-minute community meeting attended by senior members of Black clergy, civil rights advocates, and members of Sheriff Stanek’s Community Engagement Committee. A very deep and productive dialogue emerged that will be ongoing.
Thus, Sheriff Stanek and Bishop Howell do more than just give lip service. Bishop Howell’s Shiloh sanctuary is a very valuable resource for humanitarian commitment to the preservation of life to benefit all communities.
The violence driven by guns in pursuit of drugs involves us all, and has pushed many to the brink of absolute fear. In the July 13 meeting, strong Black ecumenical voices, old and new, stood up to say they were prepared to take up the challenge, including clergy who have not sought publicity before.
Although MPD was not present officially, it is not because of any riff; it is because the sheriff is extremely concerned about the intelligence information he is receiving.
Enough is enough. Black clergy at the meeting were clear. Now is the time to absolutely declare that Black lives matter at every level of a functioning society/ We should start by reflecting on how to end shooting each other, for, as Andy Young reminds us, 93 percent of Blacks killed are killed by other Blacks.
Not everyone is going to be satisfied or happy that Sheriff Stanek and Chief Harteau are asking for assistance, including ideas and solutions from the community, not just established career organizations (we have 47 on our website). The chief will be back in the country by the time this column is printed. The Sheriff has made a commitment, working closely with Bishop Howell, to approach the governor, the state’s attorney, and the head of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and others, in a committed action to create solutions.
The insights brought to the discussion were crucial to the message that there is a real willingness to put into effect a plan that will significantly reduce violence in the city and the county. We need to enable young people to see more than hopelessness. We are proportionately at the level of Chicago.
The African American ministers who met with Sheriff Stanek, through the encouragement of Bishop Howell, agreed that enough is enough, and that all lives must matter in all circumstances and conditions, Black and White. These men and women are of good intentions. They have knowledge of the devastation suffocating the African American community. They have indicated their readiness to work tirelessly to address issues of employment, housing and education.
Can they succeed in the task? Yes, if we all work together to make it happen.
At the July 13 meeting at Shiloh church the signal was sent that all who were there are prepared to do all that is humanly possible to protect the future of the Black and White communities, and particularly those who are our future, the young people of our communities. May God give us the strength to turn back the tide that threatens our future and the future of our youth.
We must not fail again. Failure will have severe consequences on us and our future. Pray for strength to turn hope into success for this newly forming alliance.