’21 Days of Peace’ campaign in Minneapolis continues through weekend

Community and church leaders say their work is even more urgent after the shooting of three children in the town.

MINNEAPOLIS — Scott Anderson Sr. watched the crowds near Lyndale and Broadway in north Minneapolis Friday night and saw strength in numbers.

A few hundred church leaders and community members – including Anderson’s anti-violence group, “A Mother’s Love” – ​​gathered in a grassy area near the busy intersection for a vigil of prayer around 6:30 p.m., before leaving to patrol various neighborhoods on the North Side.

It is the fifth night of a “21 Days of Peace” campaign.

And he seems to be making progress.

“If you’re going to be here, we’re going to be here too,” Anderson Sr. said. “The tension is starting to build, and we’re hoping to keep that calm.”

’21 Days of Peace’ efforts were launched on Monday, placing community patrols in so-called crime hotspot areas like Lowry and Logan with the full blessing of the Minneapolis police and state Department of Public Safety. .

This work has become even more urgent with the recent shooting of three children. Ten-year-old Ladavionne Garrett remains in hospital, while the family of nine-year-old Trinity Ottoson-Smith announced on Thursday evening that she had died from her gunshot wound to the head. Six-year-old Aniya Allen, granddaughter of a well-known peace activist, also died last week.

“When you hurt babies?” You’ve crossed the line now,” Anderson Sr.

Allen’s death near Penn and 36th Avenue in North Minneapolis sparked a separate event Friday night, held at the intersection where she was shot. Michael Smith, a community organizer, called the shootings of children “reckless” and called for an end to the violence.

With 33 homicides entering Friday, Minneapolis doubled its total from the same time last year, according to police data. Compared to the average dating back to 2017 for this period, homicides in Minneapolis have almost tripled.

“Obviously we know we have a tough climb,” Smith said. “So at this point we just have to focus on it being a daily trip.”

Scott Anderson Sr., who works on higher-level life skills with young men at A Mother’s Love, said he hopes the 21 Days of Peace campaign will help intervene before the shootings happen.

“Right now it’s neighborhood after neighborhood,” he said. “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”

And these community groups plan to patrol their neighborhoods for as long as it takes.

“We’d rather this end,” Anderson Sr. said. “It’s time for this to end.”

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Angela C. Hale