Top of the Morning, Aug. 10, 2014
Willie Williams, pastor at New Jerusalem Church, has been in C-U for 15 years. I asked him, in light of this summer’s shootings, if the situation is better today than when he arrived.
“From what I have experienced,” he said, “it is getting worse.”
Williams helped organize today’s “Saving Our Community, Making A Stand” rally at Douglass Park. The event (2-4 p.m.) brings together police, politicians, pastors and performers. The lineup, Williams said, also includes former gang leaders willing to speak out.
Williams: “The message I believe they will say is that we’ve been there, we’ve done that, we have turned our lives around. What I mean about, we’ve been there is that they have seen the outside and the inside of prison. You really don’t know how blessed freedom is until you don’t have it. I believe they will tell you that, and this is personal to me because as a young man I ran around with some of them. There is a better life, a better way, and it begins with us, it begins with you. They will tell you, if they can save one then the message will go forward. Education is the key and we need to educate our young men and women that they can be anything that they want to be. They will tell you, let’s start today.”
What do you hope today’s event accomplishes?
Williams: “I hope that it will help strengthen this community to let them know that the leaders, law enforcement, and Pastors of all religions and races are here for everyone. By making this stand we can reinstill the faith in the leaders, law enforcement and pastors by letting the community know that we are not sitting on this issue but that we are making a stand, to help one another because we believe that together we can make a change for the better, and help our city be better.”
What’s your message to kids on the cusp of making a wrong decision?
Williams: “To talk to someone, to reach out to someone because it takes a minute to get in trouble and a lifetime to get out of it. That’s why the program we are trying to start is so important, because our prayers are to meet together every month with leaders Pastors, and youth to help stop the problem before it begins; because it takes a village to raise a child.”