ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Following the deadly mass shooting in St. Paul over the weekend, some are wondering why there isn’t more outrage.
St. Paul’s faith leaders have been focused on ’21 Days of Peace, an initiative that unites church and community members to help curb violence in the city. For the past 100 days, volunteers have flooded high-crime areas, working to create change. They had no idea, however, that the West 7th Street business corridor would become a hot spot on Saturday night.
“It’s just disheartening,” The Rev. Runney Patterson said of the shooting that left one woman dead and 14 others injured. “It seems like the value of life…seems like it really just doesn’t matter anymore.”
Patterson, who has been a pastor at St. Paul’s New Hope Baptist Church for 17 years, will be installed this month as the president of the Minnesota State Baptist Convention. He hopes to use his new platform to bring churches together to lead the community away from gun violence.
“As clergy, pastors and preachers, we have a commitment to spread the good news,” Patterson said. “But we also, as a church family, have to get back out on the block and into the community.”
The pastor wants more eyes and ears in the street, as well as more mentoring and help for families in the home.
“It starts in the home,” Patterson said. “We have to actually get back to home training, teaching our children, the young men and the young women, to respect everybody.”
He thinks there must be more outrage from the community for justice and healing to happen.
“That’s kinda been one of my frustrations is that we have not become ‘sick and tired of this,'” Patterson said. “I don’t know if it’s because it happens so much that people have become immune to it.”
There’s also the fear factor. Stil, the pastor says that people must find the courage to stand up for what’s right.
“If you know something, you gotta say something,” he said. “If you know it’s your son that’s involved, bring him to us as clergy, let us talk to him. If it gets that bad, he’s got to understand that if he ain’t willing to change — I’m going to be honest — there’s a place for you.”
Patterson hopes there’ll be collaboration between organizations, with the pooling of resources to engage the young people involved in violence.
The pastor also says the community must work with law enforcement to stop the bloodshed.
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