LAWTON, Okla._The Lawton community came together Friday morning for what some say the city desperately needs right now…prayer.
The city wide prayer breakfast was held to help stop the violence in Lawton by also unifying and strategizing. Community leaders said Friday's event couldn't have come at a better time with all the recent violence we've had.
Police Chief James Smith gave words of inspiration; in order to have peace on the streets we have to have peace in our homes. This was something that everyone said today was the most important, that change can't happen in our community if change doesn't happen first at your home.
The focus of the prayer breakfast was Lawton's teens and young adults which is where Mayor Fred Fitch believes change in our community starts, focusing on and educating them.
"Give them the self esteem and the desire to change their ways and it's not just in those individuals, it has to be in their family too. Those things are being put in place in our community. It's just taking a lot of time to accomplish it."
Pastor Rodney Mitchell said if you have your religious leaders on the front line praying, it helps unify the whole community, which is something we desperately need right now, "Unfortunately, it does take a negative sometimes to mobilize people and move them in the right direction that we really should've been going the whole time, so it's kind of a wake up call."
Pastor William White said it's going take a group effort making sure they have the opportunities and resources they need, "We have to leave this event and speak, talk and interact. Get to know young folks that don't have a father, grandfather or grandmother in their life and be there for them."
Fitch also said he thinks it's very tragic that so many families in our community don't have a good spiritual foundation and that's why bad things are happening today, because these people don't know any better. "We've got to change that but we can't change it with just a group of people like this. We've got to have faith in our lord so that we can work together, work with his guidance and make these things happen."
The next step will be a gang task force workshop orientation on April 11th. This workshop will focus on bringing members from all pillars of the community together to help turn things around.