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After verdict in Trayvon Martin shooting, ministers host forum on youth, race and violence

Minister Arnelious Crenshaw Jr. speaks beside the Rev. J.A. Reed, at left, Derrick Walter, Jr., and Anthony Byone, at right, during the start of a forum, put on by Northeast Church of Christ and Fairview Baptist Church, to discuss lessons from the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman case at Fairview Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, August 7, 2013. (Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman)

Arnelious Crenshaw Jr., minister of Northeast Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, and Lawrence Murray, senior minister for the Spencer Church of Christ in Oklahoma, participated in a forum on youths, race and violence, The Oklahoman reports:

Two Oklahoma City ministers called their teenage grandsons up to the altar and the four of them faced the crowd sitting in the church pews on Wednesday.
Trayvon Martin looked like them — young and black, one of the clergymen said, pointing to the teens.
“You want to know why we’re here? We’re here because as people of faith and as people concerned about our community — mothers and fathers, grandmothers and Paw-Paws — we’re here because we love our children,” Arnelious Crenshaw Jr., minister of Northeast Church of Christ, said at a community forum at Fairview Baptist Church.
“We’re here so we can say to our sons and daughters, to our grandsons and granddaughters, that we tried to get something done to help ensure that there is not another Trayvon Martin in Oklahoma City.”
The poignant moment came at the beginning of the Wednesday’s forum hosted by Crenshaw’s church and Fairview, led by the Rev. J.A. Reed Jr.

About 400 people attended Wednesday’s event in Oklahoma City, which included a diverse group of panelists — from a police officer, an attorney and several judges, to pastors, a legislator and an educator. Each speaker shared their opinions along with answers to questions given to them beforehand.
The gathering lasted for more than two hours as the crowd listened attentively to the presentations. Racial profiling, the need for parents to become more involved in their children’s education, and activities both inside and outside school were among the topics that were discussed during the event.

Read the full story.
During the forum, Murray urged attendees to become mentors for youths and to monitor their children’s friends and whereabouts.
Crenshaw’s grandson, 17-year-old Anthony A. Joseph, also spoke during the forum:

He said as a young black person, he is aware that racism exists but he also thinks that youths need to be more accountable for what happens in their lives.
“We’re killing ourselves,” Byone said.
He said black teens can do many things to make life better for themselves. He said they should focus on their high school education and going to college, refrain from blaring profanity-laced music as they ride through neighborhoods, and always be aware of their surroundings, among other things.
“It’s up to us to change it. There are things that we can do,” he said.

  • Feedback
    With all due respect, the Martin/Zimmerman situation had nothing to do with race or racial profiling. It is very frustrating that this keeps being associated with race. While I agree that we should be doing all we can to end racism, it was NBC news (who doctored and edited 911 calls) who made it about race.
    This was a case of self defense. That’s what both sides argued.
    Mike Lewis
    August, 8 2013

    I agree with the previous comment. While I believe it is great to want to end racism, this case was skewed and twisted by the media and made to look like it was about a racist white man going after a young innocent black child.
    John Maket
    August, 8 2013

    Let’s focus on raising our children to love and to fear the Lord. To treat their bodies like a temple. To LOVE EVERYONE. To RUN FROM SIN.
    There are children in every blighted neighborhood that escape to make something good for themselves. They do not live on welfare, but seeking out legal jobs – I am one of those. I was abused, constantly terrorized by people of all races because I did not do the “popular things”, such as smoking drugs. I went to college, and paid the loans off by working 2 jobs.
    I am now totally disabled, having lost a leg, developed heart and lung problems, and diabetes. But my sons are both serving as NCOs in the US Marine Corps. They were both active in our local congregation, Boy Scouts, and JROTC. Both sought out good friends, avoided drugs, and served others at almost every chance.
    The simplest thing we can do to help our children (and the children we are around), is to be good examples ALL THE TIME! We should love the Lord, and show Godly love to our children, teaching them the great love our Lord has for us.
    God bless and protect our loved ones, and help us to be the example we should all be, at all times.
    August, 8 2013

    While it is good to try and do something, I am a little concerned that they used the church to charge into this foray. There were MANY social justice issues that the first century church COULD have addressed. Many such things that we would find in the teachings passed down to us if in fact they had addressed these things. But the church was and is more than a social movement, and they did not address these things, choosing rather to focus on the eternal soul than the temporary injustices of this current age.
    Anything – ANY thing – that we do in the church should only be done once we have established authority from scripture. That’s why we don’t use instrumental music in our worship. If we do not have scriptural authority, then it should not be a church function. We can join such a cause as part of our communities and that would be fine. But as a church we must first establish authority, and at the risk of being scorned for pointing to “CENI”, the only way to establish authority IS by Command, Example, or Necessary Inference. You can laugh at it as much as you want, but when you boil it down, there is no other way to establish authority.
    Vincent J. Eagan, III
    August, 8 2013

    The organizers of this forum had the right idea! The goal was to educate and inform out community and others of the impact these laws have within our relevant social reality. I believe an uninformed community is destined to fail and not elevate above its circumstances. We took a stand for what is right and for those who just don’t get it, you probably are not really in tuned to to the realities we as a race face on a daily basis!
    August, 8 2013

    The church does need to be asking such questions.
    I hope Bro. Crenshaw holds a similar forum to take a look at the recent slaying of Christopher Lane in Duncan, Okla.
    Before choosing a victim at random, the alleged killers posted racist messages on social media promising a killing spree.
    May God help us to get to the point where we can decry ALL violence….regardless of which race is on the receiving end of it.
    chuck monan
    August, 22 2013

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