Saving youth from gun violence is the focus of National Baptist Convention USA

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 6:45 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Thousands of National Baptist Convention USA members are in the Capital City praying for an end to gun violence among teens and young adults. For three days the church body has focused on the youth, praying over the city and putting their faith in action.

“It is sad for me to see other children my age not feel safe walking out on the street,” said Kezia Hawkins of Monroe Louisiana.

The Neville Junior High School student is spending the summer in Jackson. She is one of more than 300 youth attending the annual National Baptist Convention USA. The convention is focusing on reversing youth crime and gun violence, providing faith based classes on conflict resolution, character, finances and giving to others. The 13 year old says she wants to stop the cycle of violence she sees.

“I can talk to children my age and I can also talk to children younger than me, younger than me to show them what not to do when they get these age so the ripple won’t keep going,” said Hawkins.

“The Black church historically has always been a leader in effecting change,” said Youth and Young Adult Auxiliary President Marcus Davidson.

Pastors and religious leaders have spent the past three days reaching out to the youth that have come from as far as Los Angeles and Miami, equipping them with Bible based instruction on loving themselves and others.

“It’s about teaching them a different outlook,” said Davidson. “If we can give them the right outlook it changes their outcome. If they can see that there is another option, there is another way”.

Fifteen year old Angel Bell attends Progressive Baptist Church. The aspiring physician wants to take what’s she’s learned back to her community.

“I shouldn’t be at home and feel it’s a norm to hear somebody shooting outside that it’s ok,” said Bell. “I don’t flinch or anything. that’s not normal”.

More than 4,000 children and adults from across the country attended the 116th session of the Congress of Christian Education.

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