Churches band together to raise awareness of gun violence, mass incarceration

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Gun violence and mass incarceration are two of the biggest issues that have plagued populations nationwide — and in communities of color, these crippling concerns affect a large number of people who have found little resolution.

However, a faith movement established in 2011 is encouraging thousands of congregants in houses of worship across the country to help bring this to an end. Now, in support of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, they are highlighting their efforts once again.

From March 14-16, worshippers nationwide will participate in the Lifelines To Healing Live Free Sabbath: Honoring Our Sons and Brothers — a three-day event where congregants will commemorate the lives of loved ones lost to gun violence by featuring their photos during a time of worship and prayer. 

The Sabbath weekend will also kick off 90 days of action aimed to help reduce gun violence and end mass incarceration in urban communities around America through a vow to preach, pray and act to “help heal our nation.” 

“As Americans, and people of faith, our values teach us that we have a shared responsibility to each other, and so we stand in solidarity honoring the truth that I am my brother’s keeper and I am my sister’s keeper,” said Pastor Michael McBride, director of PICO National Network’s Lifelines to Healing Campaign.

“Starting with Live Free Sabbath, over the next 90 days, we are renewing our commitment of working together in our cities and communities to ensure that when young people wake up to go to school, they can learn and be successful; and when they return home at night, they feel safe and free from violence and trauma.”

PICO National Network is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States which includes around 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities.

The network assists in organizing efforts such as the Lifelines to Healing Campaign by providing actionable plan to prevent gun violence and guidance in their efforts to raise awareness.

For more information on the Live Free Sabbath, go to www.lifelinestohealing.org/resources.