Plea from Churches in Canada Urges Violence to End


Home might be where the heart is, but many souls seek both solace and inspiration inside a church.

So when a group representing 19 churches across the province makes a plea for a unified response to a year that saw six young black men shot to death in Halifax, the province needs to listen and prepare to help.

The deaths of the six young black men represents half of the murders in Halifax in 2016.

The African United Baptist Association of Nova Scotia said government needs to look at these young black men dying from guns.

Church is a big part of the African-Nova Scotian community and Sunday services draw a crowd and make some beautiful music.

The church association told the Chronicle Herald’s Jordan Parker that it does not see this spree of gun violence simply as black-on-black crime, but as a big problem needing a public-health response.

It’s hard not to see the logic of such a request, considering the violence that has taken place.

Joseph Cameron, Tyler Richards, Naricho Clayton, Daverico Downey, Tylor McInnis and Shakur Jefferies were all black men in their 20s who died of gun violence.

Terrence Izzard, Tyler Keizer and Rickey Walker were also shot to death this year. Frank Lampe, Blaine Clothier and Kristin Johnston were the only metro murder victims to die by other means.

The church association has been joining families in prayer and asking for help from the provincial justice and health departments.

In late November, it called for a response from the province on the violence but to date it has not received a co-ordinated response.

Lana MacLean, chair of the association’s social action committee, is frustrated by a lack of a unified response: “The silence on these matters is deafening, but we can see the impact this has on communities in Nova Scotia.”

Ms. MacLean points to communities like Mulgrave Park, the north end of Halifax, the urban core and Uniacke, the Preston areas and Cherry Brook, where the murders have had broader sociopolitical impact as well as human and personal dimensions.

While many have joined in mourning, the association said there is a need for a stronger social reaction. Ms. MacLean cites the collateral damage and back-and-forth violence as proof that this is an urgent public health issue.

There has been some grassroots work from programs, like Ceasefire, Stop The Violence and Choose The Right Path, working to ease the pain for communities and to try to stop conflicts before they escalate.

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Source: The Chronicle Herald