Faith Communities & Gun Violence

How are faith communities responding to the ever-growing plague of gun violence in our midst? As some communities are just beginning to find their voices on this issue.

Prayer rally at Naylor Road, near Alabama Avenue, SE, March 13 (photo copyright: V. Spatz)

East Washington Heights Baptist Church held its first public response to gun violence just recently, for example. The church, in DC’s Hillcrest neighborhood (Ward 7), organized a prayer march and rally against gun violence on March 13. The prayer event came in the wake of a multiple shooting in a nearby bus stop on Sunday afternoon, March 6, which resulted in the death of 39-year-old Ivy Tonett Smith. Charnice Milton, my 27-year-old colleague at Capital Community News, was shot to death at the bus stop across the street on May 27, 2015. Look for more on this in the April edition of East of the River.

Others, like Presbyterian churches in and around Washington DC, have been active in responding to gun violence for many years. Area churches, along with others concerned, continue to protest outside one “bad dealer” store — linked to more than 2500 guns used in crimes over the course of 18 years — every fourth Monday at 4:00 p.m.

Presbyterian churches have also hosted this T-Shirt Memorial to 2015 victims of gun violence in DC.  Here’s a slideshow from the memorial installed at Fifteenth Street Presbyterian.

Finally, for now: The sermon at the heart of the movie Chi-Raq, despite controversies and faults of the film, gives us a glimpse of how St. Sabina, on Chicago’s Southside has been approaching this plague.

How is your community responding? What (else) would you hope to see?

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Virginia hosts "Conversations Toward Repair" on We Act Radio, manages, blogs on general stuff a and more Jewish topics at and

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