Memphis pastors convene with goal of combatting gun violence among youth

Published: May. 30, 2023 at 6:41 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A new effort to curb juvenile crime in the Bluff City is in the works.

The Memphis chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference unveiled its hopes for a solution Tuesday.

Dr. Walter Womack, along with other Baptist pastors, came together Tuesday with a plan to combat the rise in violence and crime through the summer.

Womack said charity may start at home but it does in fact spread further.

He said the first step is to start from scratch.

“Start from the basic with our young people,” Dr. Womack said. “Instead of learning how to shoot guns, I want to teach them how to shoot marbles.”

Crime in Memphis is on the rise, and city leaders along with residents worry that with school being out, kids will get into more trouble.

Dr. Womack hopes to combat those fears by opening a crime-free zone for young people to enjoy their summer.

He says, “We’re going to be doing things, activities, that are going to be healthy. That we grew up on.”

The facility at 462 Flynn Road in South Memphis will be available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., free to anyone from the ages of seven to 18.

Lunches will be served, and staff will be on hand to keep children safe.

This is something that even young people say is important knowing they have more of a village behind them.

Kaymar Tornar, 15, said, “It’s more people that care about us more than our family.”

But Dr. Womack says it’s going to take more than just allowing youth to come to the church. Outreach is going to have to be in the communities that need it the most.

By physically going out to the communities that need it the most by being present and available.

“But we have to do it with an approach of love because love never fails,” Dr. Womack said.

The outreach team plans to start the initiative on Flynn Road as early as next week.

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