Gov. Bevin details faith-based approach to Louisville violence

Gov. Bevin details faith-based approach to Louisville violence

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) -  Gov. Matt Bevin and Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton spoke to a packed house of pastors and religious leaders at Western Middle School on Thursday.

The Governor called the meeting to address Louisville's violence and soaring homicide rate.

He asked places of worship and community groups to adopt a block in areas of high crime, to walk that block, and then pray for the people who live there.

The rules are as follows:

- Groups between three and 10 people should adopt a block, and then stop and pray for the people on the block.

- Walk the block for a half hour a night a couple of times a week at 7 p.m.

- The following neighborhoods are recommended: Parkland, Russell, Shawnee, California, Old Louisville, and Beechmont.

- No signs, chanting, singing, or recruiting for groups or organizations

The crowd applauded when Bevin said, "You know the power of prayer," but there was opposition in the room as well. Some asked the governor to write a check, and another person called the governor "a hypocrite."

Senator Gerald Neal said he was hoping for a more detailed plan to the homicide problem in Louisville.

"What I expected was some specific actions that were calculated to get a result, but what I heard in there is what we've been doing for decades," Neal said. "I got three blocks myself! Everybody around me does that."

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Oliver Evans, pastor at Spradling Memorial A.M.E Zion Church said he had mixed feelings about the meeting, but is absolutely on board with the governor's plea for prayer.

"As a matter of fact, I will share this with my congregation when we meet on Sunday," Pastor Evans said.

Bevin told community leaders that the plan for prayer was not a replacement for legislation, resources and law enforcement solutions to homicide. Instead, he said the prayer plan should be a start to building relationships in the community. Bevin also said no amount of money would solve the crime.

"There is a lot of addiction to opium. But the opium that many people are addicted to, and I mean it with no facetious, is O-P-M. Other people's money," Bevin said. "There never is enough of it for some people - there just isn't. I will tell you there isn't enough of it to cause a cessation of crime in this city, there just isn't. Do we still need political solutions and law enforcement solutions? Do we still need economic solutions? You bet we do."

On hand for the meeting were the mothers of two of the youngest homicide victims - Dequante Hobbs Jr. and Ne'riah Miller. With dozens of people standing, Bevin singled out Dequante's mom and promised that her son will be a catalyst for change.

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