A coalition of ministers plan on taking their message of non violence to the streets.
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is spearheading a program called Operation Take Back with the goal of ending black-on-black crime in Memphis.
The project is expected to get underway in 2016 and will take a different approach to a growing problem.
"Black-on-black crime is something that is rampant in this community," said Rev. Dwight Montgomery, President of the Memphis Chapter SCLC.
Montgomery points to makeshift memorials to victims of violent crimes that line some of Memphis' streets and are an all too common site.
And all too often the dead and the accused aren't even adults.
"In order to reach the young people, we need to first reach the parents," said Rev. Montgomery.
The rising tide of youth violence in Memphis sparked the SCLC and the Memphis Baptist Ministerial Association to take their concerns to the streets, going door-to-door and finding out how to change Memphis for the good.
"Coming together, reaching out, reaching to the parents, reaching to the children, reaching to the neighborhoods. We believe that will work toward minimizing crime in the community," said Rev. Montgomery.
Both groups will launch a program in 2016 in church congregations throughout the community called Operation Take Back.
The program has four primary goals:
- organize neighborhood meetings
- organize neighborhood watch groups where they don't already exist
- provide youth with mentors and tutors
- encourage increased church attendance
Leaders admit their biggest challenge is reducing and ultimately eliminating black-on-black crime.
And getting teens to understand all black lives matter not just when it's a case of police brutality.
"Often times, when a black person is abused by a police officer, you know, people get on camera and talk about the fact that "black lives matter." And that's absolutely true, I agree that black lives matter. But that black person who was killed by a black person is a black life that matters," said Rev. Montgomery.
The message of non violence makes perfect sense to 22-year-old Joe Lewis.
Lewis, who recently moved from Michigan to Memphis to start a career in heavy machine operation, believes the first step is learning self-respect.
"Nothing will change unless people change in themselves. And nobody can influence a person like a person can influence themselves," he said.
Stevie Moore, founder of Freedom From Unneccessary Negatives (F.U.N.N.), has experienced the tragedy that comes with violence.
Since his son was murdered in 2003, he has attended more funerals than he can stomach and wonders why the lives of young African-Americans are ending too soon and too violently.
"We have an epidemic in the black community and we don't like to say it. But our children are dying at a disproportionate rate and we won't talk about it," said Moore.
SCLC President Montgomery also said there are plans to include an enrichment and recreation program to get children off the streets and into a meaningful program.Operation Take Back? Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives?
Evidence A and B as to why white people long ago saw fit to institute segregation, establish residential/commercial restrictive covenants, and rely on Jim Crow to keep their civilization safe from the threat of a people who would one day need Operation Take Back to convince black people to stop killing one another...
Of course, this hilarious admission by black clergy/black leaders in 65 percent black Memphis that black people are responsible for all the violent crime in the city can only be usurped by one nugget of pure blackness: in 2013, an individual affiliated with Operation Take Back was the executive producer of a documentary entitled, Daddy, Why Are You In A Gang?:
Tony Smith, executive producer of a small movie called "Daddy, Why Are You In A Gang," says the theme isn't hard to grasp.
"The message is real simple, very simple," Smith said. "The message is the guys that's in a gang, stop it!"
The movie will focus on the pain children feel when their father chooses a violent lifestyle.
The five-minute movie will be released in one-minute public service announcements starting in December.
It's one of several methods Operation Take Back is using to tackle violence in the black community.
Besides the short film, there will be etiquette classes the use of social media.
A half dozen pastors met Tuesday to support an initiative to push gangs out of the neighborhood, revive community pride and show their outrage over any murder that hits close to home.
Rev. Dwight Montgomery, president of the local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference said it's a plan that needs to start small in churches then spread through the community.
"Black on black crime is hurting our community and the faith-based community must step up to the plate working with the parents, working with schools working with neighborhoods."
One way Swandra Cowlie plans to help is by teaching manners to young men."We will try to encourage men to be gentlemen again, to open doors for our young ladies and our elderly to hold their bags...just being kind...just simple acts of kindness everyday."It should be obvious by now that the black church in America is the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world.