By: Pete Hutchison, YES Program Director
There are times in life when we are faced with the choice to act on our beliefs or to simply follow the easy path. Robert Frost wrote about the road not taken, and I find myself thinking about the same thing.
I am confronted daily with the specter of Flint and Genesee County leading the nation in the rate of violence. At the same time, I recently heard that there are 632 churches in Genesee County. I’m thinking that that provides us with approximately 63,200 folks who come together as a community every week, who are leading active lives in the county, who can make a difference.
The sad reality is that although we all profess similar fundamental beliefs, we often walk out of our places of worship and fail to practice what we have learned. It would be good for us to have some leadership in this endeavor. I have seen small pockets of church leaders join together, but have yet to see a large gathering of our faith leaders coming together. There have been attempts over the years that have lasted for only a short time, but there has been no sustained effort. It seems that our religious leaders have yet to come together to show us a model of collective action. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a unified effort to declare a message of peace from every pulpit simultaneously?
For those of us who attend church, we must now walk the walk of our faith. We must realize that as we are leaving the parking lot after our services, that our work is just beginning. 63,000 people can make a huge difference in this community, we can absolutely shape the future and I believe bring safety to our streets. Once we begin others will gladly join and before we know it the culture of Flint and Genesee County will be one of peace and respect for one another.
Until we all make a conscious decision to stand up to the culture of violence in our communities, we are unlikely to see much change. I also believe that when we join together and take action we will find that we have gained a sense a well-being that has long been absent from our city and our neighborhoods.
The time has come to travel down the other road, in the words of Robert Frost:
“I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”