DETROIT -- In response to the wave of violence in Detroit that has killed more than 100 people in 2004 alone, the faithful observed April 5, 2004 as a “Precinct Day of Prayer” as the means for peace. Ministers planned the successful prayer vigil, held at the 11th precinct, for more than a month, and are planning for similar events at other precincts around the city.
“This is spiritual warfare right now,” said Rev. V. Lonnie Peek, assistant pastor of Greater Christ Baptist Church, and one of the organizers for the vigil. “First, you try to ignore and say things aren’t as bad as they seem. But then you have to face reality and say, ’Yes, they are.’ That really prompts you to do something different. ... You can’t be in every household, you can’t be on every corner.”
At Monday’s Gathering, Peek announced that church and community members will begin patrolling the streets as an effort to break the pattern of violence in the city.
The mayor Kwame Kilpatrick also came out on Monday, and encouraged those in attendance.
“It’s time for us to fix our community -- not by all of us trying to figure out what we can fix, but by calling on the greatest power we all know to work through all of us to heal our land,” Kilpatrick told officers, residents and religious leaders at the police department’s 11th precinct.
Following his speech, ministers placed their hands on him and prayed for strength and guidance.
Detroit’s murder rate has been rising this year after the city saw its lowest homicide total in more than 35 years in 2003 with 361 killings. Detroit began 2004 averaging about a killing a day, and is now up to at least 106 for the year.