On March 23rd, we gathered in response to the increase in violent crimes, gun violence, and lives lost in our city. Though there are complex issues that go into why we are experiencing this violence, the gathering was a response and a forum to express concerns, prayers, and insights in the pursuit of peace in our city.
Lewis “Proxy” Brown, A well-known musician, faith leader, and moderator for the evening highlighted that coming together as the Church in the city is a great first step. He stated the next step is then to “Be Peacemakers” – He shared that being a peacemaker is not the same as being a peacekeeper.
“A Peacemaker is someone who works on behalf of peace…And what’s hard about that is sometimes you have to first work through your own pain and grief for peace.”
We had the pleasure of having several leaders in the city share their stories and insights into their peacemaking journey.
One of those was Armondo Saldate, assistant deputy director of the Department of Public Safety. He shared that we have gone through a lot of trauma in the city that has been magnified by the pandemic along with many co-occurring issues. He shared that “I come here as a peacemaker… and we need more safe spaces to talk through the trauma.”
Armondo talked about putting leadership together to address the root causes co-occurring with violent acts in the city – and that “We cannot arrest ourselves out of this problem… Police are not going to solve every problem by arresting people and incarcerating them – putting them in that cycle is not the solution…A big part of what we need is in this room…”