For Immediate Release: April 3, 2019
Contact: Jennifer R. Farmer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Oakland, CA – Following the fatal shooting of rapper, community activist and businessman Ermias Davidson Asghedom, pka Nipsey Hussle, the LIVE FREE gun violence prevention campaign sent condolences to Hussle’s family and announced plans to expedite the recruitment of 1000 faith leaders to become PEACEMAKER congregations. Grammy award-winning recording artists Erica Campbell and Tina Campbell along with the following congregations and clergy joined LIVE FREE in issuing the following statement:
“As a mother and wife, I send my condolences to Lauren London and the rest of Nipsey Hussle’s family,” said Grammy award-winning gospel recording artist and radio host Erica Campbell. “I cannot imagine the pain they are experiencing but we are covering them day and night in prayer.”
“Many loved ones in our communities are in deep pain following the death of Nipsey Hussle. The death of this brilliant artist is enough to bring us all to our knees, and sadly, there are countless others who have lost their lives to urban gun violence,” said the Rev. Michael McBride, director of urban strategies for Faith in Action, and campaign director for the organization’s LIVE FREE campaign to stop mass incarceration and end urban gun violence.
“The trauma being experienced by our families requires a response from our faith community that must be immediate and sustained. We are well positioned to stand in the gap for those hurting among us” said the Rev. Traci Blackmon of Christ the King Church in St. Louis, MO.
“Too many times, grieving in our communities happens in siloed spaces that are determined by race, class, geography and sometimes, political party. We want to close that gap and ensure that Black and Brown people are not carrying the weight of urban gun violence alone. Everyone has a role to play in furthering peace and facilitating healing from the trauma of gun violence,” said Bishop Noel Jones, City of Refuge Church in Gardena, CA.
“We want to have 1,000 churches sign up as PEACEMAKER congregations and host healing walks and conversations with our most trauma impacted families in our communities,” said Pastor Jamal Bryant, New Birth Church in Lithonia, GA. “This was needed before the death of Nipsey Hussle and it is imperative now.”
“We are encouraging people of faith to hit the streets in our respective neighborhoods and be present,” said Gospel producer, record label executive and pastor, Warryn Campbell. “We have a responsibility to love our youth and their families, to pray with young people and most importantly, to weep with those who weep.”
Even before this tragedy, LIVE FREE intended to spend the next 12 months ensuring proximity with urban communities through its “Hearing the Unheard: Listening and Learning Tour.” The 10-city tour was designed to be an opportunity for victims, firearm offenders and survivors to come together in pursuit of healing and policy change. Now, the Rev. McBride is urging clergy to hit the streets in their local neighborhoods to offer a ministry of presence, peace and hope.
“I joined the LIVE FREE Campaign’s nationwide PEACEMAKERS initiative to end gun violence in our communities and stop the mass incarceration of our loved ones. We need this effort now more than ever before!” said Pastor Nisan Stewart, Greater Emmanuel Temple, Lynwood, CA.
Below is a partial list of clergy who have joined LIVE FREE’s PEACEMAKER initiative and are encouraging congregations in their communities to do the same:
Bishop Noel Jones, City of Refuge Church, Los Angeles
Pastor Jamal Bryant, New Birth Church, Atlanta
Pastor Warryn Campbell, California Worship Center, My Block Records, Los Angeles
Erica Campbell, artist and radio host
Tina Campbell, artist
Pastor Freddy Haynes, Friendship West Church, Dallas
Pastor Charles Jenkins, Fellowship Church, Chicago
Pastor Nisan Stewart, Emmanuel Temple Church, Los Angeles
Pastor Traci Blackmon, Christ the King Church, St. Louis
Pastor Michael McBride, The Way Church, Berkeley
Rev. Ben McBride, PICO California
Pastor Kelvin Sauls, PICO Caliornia
Rev. Alvin Herring, Faith In Action Network
Pastor Albert Tate, Fellowship Church, Monrovia
To join the PEACEMAKER movement, visit www.LIVEFREEUSA.org and sign up to receive a toolkit and swag materials that can be shared with congregations and the surrounding community.