MINNEAPOLIS -- With the start of the school year just weeks away, efforts are underway to change the narrative in North Minneapolis. "Harvest a New North" is an effort to spread faith, hope and love throughout the community, focusing on the opportunities for growth and not so much the violence that can spread fear.
A coalition of churches and community groups are working together, bringing community together to celebrate a new way of thinking, on the cusp of the new school year.
Among other things, "Harvest a New North" is also a push to celebrate the opportunities that are available to families and children.
"We need to stop celebrating deaths. We need to stop celebrating and lifting up the word of violence. We need to be more inspiring and inspirational," Pastor Norman Herrington said.
On Saturday, a celebration of all that is good within the community was held, with fun for kids, food for all, and vendors with resources to help young and old.
The focus is no longer on what hurts this community -- gun violence, robberies, assaults and car jackings -- but on opportunities to do better in life.
"We need to debunk the myth about North Minneapolis. There are kids who get up every morning, parents who get up every morning and get their kids ready to go to school. The amount of violence that occurs in our lives is probably that much the 99% are getting up to go to work and go to school, and we need to celebrate that," Herrington said.
This coalition of churches have adopted Franklin Middle School. Community elders say changing the way young people see themselves is key.
"We have to cast a vision, the community to be as we desire it to be, and that's a community that reflects faith, hope and love. We think that those virtues or values will help any community," Pastor Richard Coleman said.
Dr. Betty Webb was the first to ask church members to leave the sanctuary and bring love, hope and faith to schools in the community.
"They are loved and that we believe in them, and that it's not all about the violence in the community," Webb said.
Community elders say they are focused on eliminating what they call an opportunity gap, not an achievement gap.
The event was sponsored by Wayman AME Church, Westwood Community Church, Shiloh Temple International Ministries, Zion Baptist Church, Hope United Community Development Corporation, Huntington Bank and Franklin Middle School.
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