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Faith community members walk for peace in Downtown Minneapolis

Updated: August 12, 2019 09:32 AM

On Thursday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey will present his budget to city council members at City Hall.

Frey said in a statement Sunday: "People in Minneapolis are counting on us as city leaders to step up and take action. That means giving our police officers the support and staffing they need to advance police-community relations and effectively curb violent crime in all our neighborhoods. While I remain committed to working with community and business leaders on new strategies for preventing crime, it is also clear that we can’t continue to ask Chief Arradondo to do more with less." 

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For his part, Chief Medaira Arradondo has already requested adding 400 more unformed officers to the force. 

RELATED:Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo: 'I need 1,000 officers by 2025'

Another organization was doing its part to address the ongoing violence in downtown Minneapolis. The group calls itself  Come Together Twin Cities. It's made up of inspired and insistent people from different churches and communities.  But on Sunday, the group gathered as one congregation at the Basilica of St. Mary at 16th and Hennepin Avenue to, "comfort bodies, heal minds and spirits that have been broken by violence," according to one member.

The interfaith ministers walk the walk, extending compassion to anyone they encounter during a prayer walk.

"Victims of gun violence are not someone else, they are us," said Bonnie Steele, one of the organizers.

Among the stops during the peace walk was the Jeremiah Project, a housing project that aims to transform the troubled violence-plagued lives of single mothers and their children through the parent organization, the Jeremiah Program.

"We bless the people here at the Jeremiah Project because they have something to share with us in their vulnerability," said Steele.

RELATED Minneapolis City Council president on more police officers: 'It’s too early to draw any lines in the sand'

With the downtown vibe turning violent many weekends this summer, the faith leaders set out to get tough on crime, which for them means attempting to stop it before it occurs.

"I got beat and robbed by one of my neighbors," said Traci Stevens.

She was at the Jeremiah Project to help a relative move some belongings in.  Stevens lives in Eagan now, but lived in Fridley when the unprovoked attack by a former neighbor left a scar on her forehead and broke several of her teeth.  Stevens survived and believes the kind of mobile ministry performed by the Jeremiah Program can make a difference.

"If you can get out and spend 15 to 20 minutes and talk with a variety of people they would love it, things would be so much better," Stevens said.

Steele took it a step further.

"There needs to be a change, that we value life and at all extremes," Steele said.

Come Together Twin Cities meets every month, and on Sunday, Sept. 15, they will gather at the Redeemer Lutheran Church on Glenwood Avenue in Minneapolis from 4-6 p.m. 

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Beth McDonough

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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