Local churches fight violence with prayer, fasting

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October 16, 2006

Local churches unite to fight increasing black on black crime.

It was the dying wish of Augusta's Barbara Thurmond, a longtime crime fighter.

Today, it's a reality.

The group Blacks against Black Crime says the problem is out of control, and that's why they're kicking off a 40 day prayer vigil at New Creation Baptist Church.

The group's leader says the goal is to remind people through prayer to value human life.

All the recent crime has a single mother living in fear.

Janice Dukes recently found herself face to face with the barrel of a gun...while her baby was in the car. She says she was robbed at gunpoint in the Burger King drive-thru.

"All the time you always got to watch your back," she told News 12. "Ever since it happened I'm in after dark...and that shouldn't have to be."

Frank Johnson, president of Blacks against Black Crime, Inc., says crimes like that are part of an alarming trend.

"Folks are starting to devalue human life...and devaluing life is what we're against," he said.

Sgt. Richard Roundtree says black on black crimes are happening more often in areas with high African American populations, like Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Cooney Circle off Olive Road. Those crimes continue to rise, with ten this weekend alone...including a shooting, a stabbing, and a drive-by shooting.

"Anytime you introduce a weapon into any situation, there's potential for loss of life...and that's our concern," Sgt. Roundtree told News 12.

The sheriff's office reports more than 2000 violent crimes in recent months, from simple assault to homicide.

That's why Frank Johnson is turning to prayer.

"Right now we're stopping to seek God's guidance to see how God would solve this," he said.

"We just need the community to come together," said Janice Dukes.

They're looking to God and the community to make black on black crime scenes a thing of the past.

The group is passing out Bible verses encouraging people to respect others. They're also calling for a fast.

Everyone across the area is invited to participate in the prayer and the fast.