ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Civic leaders join clergy from across the St. Louis metro Thursday (March 15) to discuss some of the problems plaguing the city. Mayor Lyda Krewson will be the keynote speaker at the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition meeting.
The group will talk about the plan for Northside housing and community development, but the main issue members want to discuss is the strategies being developed to combat crime and violence in the city.
There were 199 homicides in the city of St. Louis in 2017, up from 120 homicides in 2013. There have been more than 30 murders in the city so far in 2018.
Clergy members say they want to work with the city to help reduce the crime rate.
"We're sick and tired of seeing our young people passing away," said Bishop Elijah H. Hankerson III, President of the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition. "As clergy persons, we're tired of doing the funerals of 13-year-olds, 15-year-olds, innocent bystanders. Enough is enough, and that's what we're basically saying. Time is out for that."
Hankerson said the Clergy Coalition has partnered with Better Family Life to work within the communities most impacted by crime. Clergy members have also participated in several marches in those neighborhoods.
Drugs are a big problem in some areas, and Hankerson said they are working to help people break the habit.
"There's a lot of drug activity, and so we partner with Better Family Life to go in there to provide food, clothing and things like that," he said. "The aim is that through economics and helping the people out, it will turn their attention away and their dependency away from drugs."
Thursday's meeting begins at 11 a.m. at the United Way Building (910 N. 11th Street, 63101).