MINNEAPOLIS — For Leon Gresham, inviting people to attend a gospel concert at Shiloh Temple is personal.
"This is my community," Gresham said. 'It's Minnesota. This is a place where I was born and raised, a place I love and enjoy."
Gresham, owner of Lean Minnesota, the first Black-owned water company in Minnesota, is working to stop the loss of young lives.
"If I can have an event that can maybe change their mind, change their outlook on life in itself, why not have an event," he said.
He has tapped into young performers, known for shows in venues outside of the church but have strong ties to the church, to attract young people.
"I hope it stops violence. I hope it brings people into the fold," Abraham Westlund said.
A musician and artist, Westlund hopes his supporters come out and hear music that encourages and promotes change.
"Hey, you are valued. You are more than the world or outside people are telling you who you are. I think that's very important that we keep driving that," Westlund said.
Jordan Adent hopes to bridge the gap and get listeners of mainstream music to give gospel music a try.
"I love God, but also I love singing, R&B, pop music, neo soul. So I feel like you can do both and I feel like me headlining this event shows you can do both. You don't have to be put in one category," Adent said.
Bishop Richard Howell has watched violence ebb and flow in his community.
"Come on people, this is not the way to live. Our community is not designed for us to be violent against each other," Howell said.
He believes Shiloh Temple programs that provide drug, mental health counseling and employment opportunities can lead young people to positive change.
"It's about community with community, to be a part of a concert that we think will inspire hope," Howell said.
"Don't give up on yourself," Gresham said. "Come in and get a bite to eat. Come in and get the word. Come in and just be around positive spirits and positive vibes."
The Thanksgiving Gospel Concert is 5-8 p.m. on Saturday. There will be music, a guest speaker and food for all to enjoy.
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