San Bernardino faith community marches for peace.
Articulo publicado en el periodico San Bernardino Sun
by Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Dozens of members of diverse faith communities prayed and marched Thursday to again show their commitment to end gun violence here.
The march was the latest in a regular series of marches led by Inland Congregations United for Change, clergy and other residents, drawing attention to the violent crime in the city and a proposed model to end it.
That model, called “Common Ground for Peace,” is based on an approach called “Operation Ceasefire,” which has been used in various forms in other cities that have seen dramatic decreases in shootings.
The march came a day after Jaemiah Trammel was shot to death while driving on East Date Street, the 41st homicide in the city since Jan. 1.
The essentials that ICUC drew from Ceasefire include using in-depth data to map violence, respectful communication with the community and offering alternatives to violence.
“Half of one percent of people do most of the shootings,” said Sergio Luna, ICUC organizer. “Other cities have done it, and so can we. It’s not enough to tell them to stop shooting — we need to give them a way out.”
Mayor Carey Davis and other city officials traveled Wednesday to discuss Ceasefire in Oakland, a city that saw a 30 percent drop in fatal shootings under the program.
Thursday, Davis spoke to the group about the power of faith.
“Christ’s cause was peace, and I think all we have to do is follow that model and we’ll all be better for it,” Davis said.
Other elected officials at the march included Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown, D-San Bernardino, who illustrated the pervasiveness of violence.
“Is anybody here not affected by violence?” Brown asked. “There’s not a single hand that can go up.”
The gathering began with a prayer by Rabbi Hillel Cohn, rabbi emeritus of Congregation Emanu El in Redlands and rabbi at Sun City Jewish Congregation in Palm Desert.
“Pray, in your own faith language, that what we here today might echo in our actions,” Cohn said.
Other faith leaders came from denominations including Baptist, Catholic, Muslim and Quaker.
“I’m an old, white lady but I like to rap,” said Trudy Fridel of the Inland Valley Quakers in spoken-word poetry. “And I’m here to tell you guns are crap.”
The march began at St. Paul AME Church, stopped for a prayer and call to action at St. Anthony’s Catholic Parish, and finished at New Hope Missionary Baptist, all on the city’s Westside.
It was peaceful and stayed on sidewalks, with no police presence.
ICUC was formed 26 years ago. Its regular prayer walks are scheduled:
• Aug. 8 beginning at 6 p.m. at St. Bernardine’s Parish, 531 N. F St., and continuing to San Bernardino City Hall.
• Aug. 25 beginning at 5 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal, 1407 N. Arrowhead Ave., and continuing to Central City Lutheran Mission.
• Sept. 22 beginning at 5 p.m. at Life Center Church, 2361 E. Date St., and continuing to Cathedral Praise.
Participants were asked to sign a petition asking for continued work on Operation Ceasefire and that ICUC be at the table for that conversation.
“I pledge to commit as (a) member of this community that I will stay informed in any step taken to reduce gun violence in our city and ask that our city’s leadership work with ICUC to ensure the safety of our families and our community,” the petition concludes.
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