Marchers will meet at the corner of Best and Jefferson and proceed down Jefferson Avenue to East Utica. The community is urged to participate! “We’re marching to stop the killing of one another,”said Bishop Gelsey.
Behind the morning headlines, family, friends and relatives were left grieving; three little children left motherless; a young life gone too soon; and a community asking itself once again, “why?”
Rayshonna Johnson was just 23 years old when she became the single fatality in the latest street party violence to rock the city. It happened September 19 on Jefferson Avenue at Glenwood. Five people were shot. ‘Ray Ray” as she was affectionally known, was among them but the only one who did not live.
Last Monday, at Bishop Frederick A. Gelsey of One In Christ Church on Broadway preached her funeral to a packed church of mostly young adults.
Taking the opportunity to address a youthful captive audience, Bishop Gelsey’s theme was “No More of This!” from the book of Matthew. He explained that those were the very words Jesus spoke when he disarmed Peter after he cut off a man’s ear.
“The Lord told me to tell you ‘no more of this…no more killing one another! ”
He talked about the root of a murderous spirit from a biblical perspective, explaining that what goes into one’s mind and spirit, ultimately comes out. He gave expamples of the lyrics in some of today’s music, glorifying killing, drugs and murder. The drugs and alcohol – killer concoctions to create a murderdous mindset. He prayed and he taught and he put the dilemma we are facing in perspective. Using a parable about Judus, he made clear the role of betrayal. “We always think its rival gangs killing one another but sometimes its friends killing friends…somebody you know.
His own son, Frederick Jr. he said, was murdered by his friend in 2012.
“When my son got murdered I was devastated…..but the only way to stop it is if the PEOPLE say something.”
Bishop Gelsey also educates and helps families suffering the pain of murder thru his Homicide Education and Prevention Project, something that’s much needed.
The Buffalo News October 2 front page cited a shooting surge in the city with 8 of 10 victims being Black. By the end of August, the article cited 217 people had either been injured or killed in a shooting in the city – 82% higher than last year.
“No more of this”! Bishop repeated throughout the service, referring to “this murderous spirit” coming from the hood. “When are we going to stop?”
Looking within, he acknowledged that the church should be doing more to address the issue.
“The church is asleep….and it’s time for the church to wake up. Everybody is marching for everything, who’s marching for Ray Ray…who’s going to say ‘no More of this?”
Rallies and marches organized by groups are good, he acknowledged.
“I’ve marched with Black Lives Matter,” he told the Challenger. “And I respect the movement, but I want to march to end Black homicides. When are we gonna march for one another ?
By the end of the funeral, he had called for a small march to take place the next day.
A week later he was announcing a “ No More of This March” to end Black homicides. It will take place this Saturday, October 10 at 3 p.m. Marchers will meet at the corner of Best and Jefferson and march down Jefferson Avenue to East Utica . The community is urged to participate.
NO MORE OF THIS!