A pastor from Indianapolis underscored the importance of teaching people, especially children how to resolve their issues without turning violent towards others.
An Indiana pastor is determined to curb violence in his own city and urges others not to give up in the fight against gun violence. The key, he said, is to help people learn how to resolve issues without resorting to violence.
Kenneth Sullivan Jr. is a senior pastor at New Direction Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, a church that is set to host "Safe Streets," a seminar for kids aged 12 to 18. The workshop, which will be held throughout May, will focus on conflict resolution, making choices, making choices, image and respect, and public speaking, among others, CBN News reported.
"I've had the unfortunate task of burying children as young as 12-years-old from gun violence," Sullivan lamented. "Even 11-years-old males and females, adults, and children due to gun violence and it stays with you. So, I began to collect the obituaries because I've done so many."
Pastor Remains Determined to Stay Encouraged in the Fight Against Gun Violence
This is not the first time Sullivan and New Direction Church are hosting workshops to help youth in the community, WRTV reported. Earlier this year, the Indiana pastor and his church launched an initiative called "1150 Academy" where students were given training in coding and cyber security. The Indiana pastor reported that months after the initiative completed with 25 to 30 participants, people are still expressing the desire for more programs.
Sullivan admitted that while they may not be able to prevent all cases of gun violence in their community, they could "help these young people who are within our reach" and make a difference in their lives. In fact, the Indiana pastor had just heard sounds of gunshots from a funeral home on East 38th Street, which to him felt discouraging. But his faith remains undeterred.
According to Sullivan, the church will host Barbershop Talks, an initiative in which young people in the community gathered in a barbershop on the city's east side to discuss the victims of a gun violence crime that left two teen boys dead. The Indiana pastor expressed concern over the rise in gun violence cases in the city especially in the coming summer months. He hopes that families would encourage their kids to participate in the church's efforts.
Gun Violence Cases May Rise in Indiana
According to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence or EFSGV, nearly a thousand people in Indiana died by gun violence in 2019 or an average of two people every day. Indiana accounts for the 21st highest gun death rate in the U.S., with 87% of gun death victims being male. Meanwhile, 37% of homicides comprised nearly two in every five gun deaths. One hundred were children and teens aged 0 to 19 years old.
Critics are worried that these statistics may increase in the coming months, as Indiana was one of three states whose governors signed permitless carry laws, which means that eligible adults do not need to go through the process of applying for a permit, PolitiFact reported.