- Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Memphis Chapter is appealing to the faith-based community to participate in "Operation Take Back" – a project developed to minimize crime in the Memphis area.
It is time for the law-abiding citizens to take back the Memphis Community, according to the Rev. Dwight Montgomery, president of SCLC Memphis and pastor of Annesdale-Cherokee Baptist Church.
"Every time an innocent victim is murdered in this city, whether it is a law enforcement officer or private citizen, it shocks the community and the community goes through a period of grief," Montgomery said in a Christmas Eve television interview.
"Politicians repeat what they have said time and time again, that something needs to be done about crime. Committees are appointed and consultants are hired, yet no meaningful solutions are developed to minimize crime. It is time for the Memphis Community to move from being reactionary to being visionary in dealing with crime."
"Operation Take Back (O.T.B." calls for churches to do the following:
Organize a meeting with residents in the neighborhood where the church is located to discuss how the church and residents can work together to deal with crime within the their community. If several churches are located on the same street or close vicinity, a joint meeting could be held at one of the churches.
Organize a neighborhood watch group. If a neighborhood watch group already exists, discuss how it can be made more effective.
Reach out to parents in the neighborhood to help them develop better parenting skills. Explain the importance of their involvement with the day to—day activities going on in their communities.
Provide mentors and tutors to assist children attending school in the neighborhoods in which their churches are located.
Initiate a door-to-door campaign in their church neighborhood to "bring people to Christ."
In keeping with the O.T.B. Plan, SCLC Memphis, in cooperation with Annesdale Cherokee Baptist Church and Mt. Moriah East Baptist Church, are sponsoring a Town Hall meeting on Jan. 15, the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King was the founding president of the SCLC.
The meeting will focus on ways to minimize crime through a partnership of the faith-based community. area residents, businesses, schools, parents and law enforcement officials. It will be held at Mt. Moriah East Baptist Church, 1248 Haynes, where the Rev. Dr. Charles Smith is the pastor.
Mayor AC Wharton Jr. and Police Director Toney Armstrong are being asked to attend the session, but no confirmation had been announced by Wednesday night (Dec. 26).
(For more information, contact the Rev. Dwight Montgomery, president of SCLC Memphis Chapter, at 901-488-4798.)