Gangs in Lompoc
I pastor a church in Lompoc, California, and Lompoc like many communities across our land faces the problem of gangs and gang violence. Last night was the third of several forums and town halls that have been organized by my good friend Joyce Howerton, the town's former mayor. About 100 people gathered at the local High School theater to experience a 30 minute drama from a group of teens from a youth detention facility and then engage in conversation about their experiences and why they were drawn into gang life. Though I wasn't able to attend, I had church members in attendance, and I've been part of conversations with those working on this problem.
Solving such problems involves the entire community, including we in the religious community. We need to open our eyes and not just observe what's happening but work with others to find a solution. For if we take seriously our faith, then we know we can be a voice of transformation and hope for a new life. And in fact, several of us have been having that conversation.
Once again, I commend Joyce and all who gathered last night. You can read about the event in this article from the Lompoc Record.