Monday evening was the first night of a three-week peacekeeping initiative.
MINNEAPOLIS – Cheryl Anderson, wearing a bright pink shirt, patrolled a gas station parking lot near the intersection of Logan and Lowry, an area considered a “hotspot” for criminal activity until 2021, Monday afternoon.
Anderson, the housing coordinator for the anti-violence group “A Mother’s Love,” held a few items while keeping an eye on the troubled intersection. One was a clipboard; The other was a WANTED poster looking for information about the shooting of a 10-year-old earlier this month. At least three children have been shot dead in the past few weeks and the murder rate in Minneapolis continues to rise. 32 people were killed in the city in the first five months of the year, more than double what it was at this point last year.
Community leaders like Cheryl Anderson say they will change that.
“Today,” said Anderson, “is the first day of 21 days of peace.”
The 21-day initiative came from many religious leaders and peace activists who say they cannot tolerate the level of gun violence they witnessed in 2021.
“Three innocent children were shot. And we want to know why. We’re sick of it. We want it to stop, ”said Anderson. “What can we help you with? Do you need resources for a GED? Do you need shelter? Do you need shelter? Do you need food?”
“21 Days of Peace” begins in Minneapolis, where faith and community leaders patrol “hotspots” to control the latest gun violence. Here, at a gas station near Logan and Lowry, New Salem Church is part of the anti-violence effort. @ kare11 pic.twitter.com/VWMu0Cj8aN
– Danny Spewak (@DannySpewak) May 24, 2021
Anderson’s views were shared by Pastor Jerry McAfee of the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church, who wore a purple shirt while standing guard near the gas station entrance in Logan and Lowry on Monday. He chatted to almost everyone who went to the store, and at one point even offered work to a young man in the neighborhood.
Describing his job as a complement to, not a substitute for, police work, McAfee said he works hard to intervene before disputes turn into shootings.
“We’re just trying to bring peace to the neighborhood,” McAfee said. “[The shootings] can be something so simple that really has nothing to do with you; It could be a false look on your part that becomes the match … The police are reactionary. They don’t have enough police to really monitor all of these areas. We can work with the police. “
During “21 Days of Peace,” McAfee said he was also recruiting people for community patrols at three other “hotspots” in North Minneapolis. According to MPD data, nine people have been killed in the city’s fourth district so far this year, the highest number since at least 2017 since the beginning of the year.
Patricia Collins, who lives in the area, said her son had been shot twice in the past few months and her daughter was about to become involved in the downtown shooting this weekend.
“I pray for my babies every day. There’s only so much we can do, ”said Collins. “And it’s about nothing, you know? They make up a name, then they make up a name and they say they are a “gang”. You see it’s ridiculous. I’ve never seen anything like it. “
On A Mother’s Love, Cheryl Anderson said she hoped community patrols can steer people in a better direction.
It should also be noted that both the Minneapolis Police Department and the State Department of Public Security have told KARE 11 that they fully support the 21 Days of Peace efforts as a tool to combat violence.
“We need the police and all that, but the community – like us boots on the ground – think some of these young men and young women might be more comfortable,” said Anderson. “Hopefully we can solve something in 21 days.”