POPP’s Community Peace Initiative is moving in this beautiful, historic civil rights city in the South. Unfortunately, youth crime and violence are on the rise, and street gangs are claiming the kids. Last Fall POPP arrived in Selma, having been invited by a group of concerned business leaders, pastors, and elected officials. Since then, Kit has been going over to Selma twice a month and laying the groundwork for our Peace Initiative there. Great inroads have been made as Kit has developed relationships with the business community, faith community, government leaders, law enforcement, and educators.
Here is what we have found across the nation: In every community there are three vital institutions: schools, jails, and churches. Unfortunately, in many communities, these three institutions have become somewhat dysfunctional. Schools have become a pipeline to the jails. Jails have become a repeat customer business, and churches are often sitting on the sidelines. That’s why POPP has developed three programs to bring communities together and heal them from the inside out: Forty Days to Freedom for the jails; Forty Days of Power for the schools; and Forty Days of Prayer for the churches. Working hand in hand, forty days at a time, community leaders create momentum toward peace, compassion, and unity among these vital institutional components. We have seen measurable success using this model in prisons, and then pulling in schools and churches to support the work. Now we are bringing all those elements together and tackling the issues that are dividing these beautiful but wounded communities across the country.
Selma has suffered for the Struggle in this divided nation of ours. They are remembered every time there is a significant MLK holiday, only to be forgotten once again. Outsiders get their photo on the famous Edmund Pettis Bridge, the site of Bloody Sunday, and then they leave and things return to normal for the residents of this iconic city; POPP aims to change that. Selma feels used and abused; POPP aims to correct that. They are not forgotten anymore, and God willing, they will become a light to the nation, as Dr. King intended. The Dream Lives, and the March Continues. Let Peace Reign in Selma!