Patrick Stewart pounds the pavement of Clinton through his ministry to help needy people. This Saturday at the Sampson Center, he’s going to busy trying to make the city better for young people.
P.O. Stewart Street Ministry is hosting its Citywide Outreach Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17 at the Sampson Center, 808 Barden St. Stewart is teaming up with local churches to connect with youth. In the wake of shooting and violent incidents in Clinton, another goal is to spread a message centered around anti-violence.
“The violence has to stop,” he said. “We can’t live in a good neighborhood and a great society if we keep having violence, crimes and different things going on.”
Stewart was raised in Clinton and like some of the scheduled presenters, he experienced hardships in the streets. He hopes youths don’t fall into the same traps.
“It just takes someone to love these kids,” Stewart said. “We have different things going on in our lives and we don’t want to deal with young people …”
To help spread a positive message, Stewart enlisted several guest speakers to address youth in attendance. One of the scheduled presenters is Rodney Murray, a former gang member. Richard Patterson, a former NBA player, will speak about substance abuse, drugs and alcohol. Some of the others include Leonard Henry, apostle John F. Joyner, gospel rapper Lawrence Riddles, E-Nuff Said car club, and Michael Boykin from the Prince of Gospel Show.
He believes violence in the community can be stopped, but he noted that it’s going to take a collaborative effort involving neighborhoods and law enforcement.
“We can put an end to this, but it takes people talking to the police and doing what you need to do in your community to reach out to people,” he said.
“I know there’s a lot of things going on in our society with police, but we have to talk to them and we have to work together,” he said. “If we don’t, imagine where this world would be if we didn’t have any police. It’ll be a lot worse right now …”
Along with guest speakers, the event will feature food and entertainment. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.
“We can talk all we want to, but if we don’t get out and do anything about it, nothing is going to change,” he said about the importance of people stepping out of their comfort zone to combat crime and violence. “We can have all the prayer vigils we want to. We can have all the marches we want to, but if we don’t nothing after the fact, it’s still going to happen each week.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.