By Chuck Stewart, Jr.
Newburgh – What can be done to prevent the senseless loss of young lives? A lot of people, groups and organizations have been asking that question lately, as a result of several violent teen deaths in the city.
While some are talking about doing something to stop the violence in the City of Newburgh, Empowerment Temple isn’t just talking, they’re doing.
The church, based in New Windsor, recently organized a \”Stop the Violence March\” in Newburgh. The march was designed to serve as a memorial for those that were killed in the City of Newburgh. The event kicked off with City of Newburgh Mayor Nicholas Valentine promising to do whatever he could to end the violence which has devastated families and shocked the community.
As they began the march from Johnston and Broadway, a sea of T-shirts could be seen which read: Stop the Violence. They also had a Biblical verse imprint, John 14:6, \”I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.\” A reminder of God’s commandment: \”Thou shalt not kill.\”
After the march, a community outreach family event was held on Johnston Street. Pastor Almetra Murdock organized the event as a way to unify the community and provide an outlet for the youth of the city.
Under the large white tents, youth enjoyed arts and crafts, and an inspirational message from Pastor Murdock. There was even a fashion show. The models stepped onto the stage wearing their everyday clothes, as the announcer embellished the de scri ptions of their wardrobe to the delight and amusement of both the audience and participants. Three-year-old Jalena strutted her stuff down the catwalk in her stylishly clever green outfit. Pink and white, however were the preferred colors for three-year-old Gabriella as she graced the stage to thunderous applause. Not taking herself too seriously, Pastor Murdock joined in on the fun on stage.
Meanwhile, City police closed down Johnston Street so church basketball teams could compete in a friendly tournament. The sidewalks filled up fast as people pulled up chairs to watch some good old street ball.
If all the music, entertainment and spiritual food didn’t pull you in, the smell of hot dogs and hamburgers that filled the air would. As fast as the grills were fired up, the lines began forming for the free hot dogs, hamburgers and drinks.
Murdock and members of the Empowerment Temple had succeeded in stopping the violence for one night. As one person said, \”Hopefully this is the beginning of the end.\”