“I’ve heard preachers spiritualize [gun violence], um or never actually name what caused it. They’ll say things like he died in such a tragic way. This is not just a tragic way. You know car accidents are tragic, cancer is tragic this is a particular death in a particular way and there are particular things that we can do to stop gun violence.”
Violence clusters like an infectious disease. You can see it on a map of Milwaukee and other major cities. But you can also feel it when you walk into certain community spaces: like a church. Like All People’s Church. We featured All People’s before in our series - after a 24 year old member, Isiah Johnson survived two separate shootings in one year. Isiah is far from the only one in the congregation affected by violence. So, if you’re Pastor Steve Jerbi, who leads All People’s Church… What do you say to your congregation. A congregation that habitually experiences violence?
Photo 1: Patricia Larry, mother of Darius Simmons, center is joined by Bishop Tavis Grant, right, (with glasses) national field director for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition as the family is escorted into church for the funeral of Darius Simmons. At left is Pastor Steve Jerbi who helps escort the family.
Photo 2: Pallbearers carry the casket of Darius Simmons, the 13-year old boy shot and killed by his neighbor, as the funeral procession led by Pastor Steve Jerbi (reading) leaves All Peoples Church.