Clergy, community and police agree, Not My Son!

BY ALLEN A. BUCHANAN, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG —  The pastor of Faith Church, Rev. J.C. Pritchett II, led a group of community residents and police officers from the Enoch Davis Center through the Campbell Park neighborhood to spread the Not My Son pledge message after three recent homicides of African-American men within the last three weeks.

“I’m here canvassing the neighborhood near Enoch Davis for Not My Son, which is parent and student pledges to help our students and community stay safe away from gun violence,” said Karen Davis-Pritchett, the wife of Rev. Pritchett.

The Pritchetts were accompanied by an entourage that met, greeted and inform community residents of all ages along their half-mile trek last Friday evening. Several of the accompanying officers grew up in the area, so they knew some of the residents who greeted them warmly. Everyone participating in the walk handed out the Not My Son pledge cards specifically worded for the youth on one side and for the parents on the other.

Not My Son is a part of the My Brother’s and Sister’s Keepers initiative that was born from President Obama’s 2014 campaign called My Brother’s Keeper, a public-private partnership of the United States Federal Government to promote intervention by civic leaders in the lives of young men of color to address their unique challenges and to promote racial justice.

The City of St. Petersburg expanded President Obama’s campaign to include young women in addition to young men ages 12-24.

The initiative, which launched earlier this summer, has seen large crowds of pastors, city officials and people from all walks of life have joined forces to go out into various communities to spread awareness of neighborhood problems, how to prevent more problems and to get parents and young adults to sign the Not My Son pledge.

“It is important that all adults are involved in these conversations with our youth. It is essential that we give a consistent message of love and help them set goals to reach their potential,” said Davis-Pritchett.

The next Not My Son canvassing activity will be this Friday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. People will gather at New Jerusalem M.B. Church, 1715 18th Ave. S, and spread out into the surrounding neighborhood.

For more information, log on to stpete.org/mbsk

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