‘Our young people are valuable’ | Faith leaders heartbroken by recent killings share message of hope with community

Although some have different ideas on how to achieve this, they all agree that saving lives must start now.

TOLEDO, Ohio — With all the murders in Toledo, there has been a call for religious leaders, hoping they can do something to stop the violence.

Although some have different ideas on how to achieve this, they all agree that saving lives must start now.

Two pastors who have been in the community for decades say they are just as heartbroken as anyone else who hears of children who have lost their lives to gun violence.

RELATED: City homicides jump, children latest victims

And on Monday, they spoke about reality and shared a message of hope.

Otis Gordon, senior pastor at Warren AME Churchblames Toledo’s rise in homicides and the loss of young lives on today’s society.

“One of the fundamental problems if you talk to these young people is that they have no sense of desire for hope for the future. When they don’t expect to live to the age 21 years old and they’re not afraid of death because they feel like they’re already dead,” Gordon said.

“Bam, bam, bam. You know it’s sad, all of this is happening,” Cedrick Brock, the pastor of Mount Nebo Baptist Churchmentioned.

He and some members of his church visit the sites of these killings to pray and listen to their community.

“Some of them say it’s gang-related. Some of them say this, some of them say that. But it’s something,” Brock said. “And I know we want the community to talk. But the community can’t talk about what they don’t know, because a lot of that happens in cars.”

RELATED: 7-month-old girl killed in shooting west of Toledo; the police are looking for information on the suspects

Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem, Gordon says he would like to see more services to help families, especially poor families and those without hope.

“You have to give them hope. You have a reason to live. You have to give them the opportunity for upward mobility, the opportunity for an education, the opportunity to earn a living,” Gordon said.

The two pastors say they know their communities are hurting, but they also say everyone, from children, parents, teachers and religious leaders, has a role to play.

“We have to take the initiative and take the first step towards reminding them of their worth,” Brock said. “Our young people are valuable. They can live much better than us if we show them the way.”


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