Belmont University will host a second meeting Wednesday (Feb. 1) of an emerging community coalition aimed at reducing Nashville’s rapidly rising murder rate. Last week, as part of honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, Belmont hosted the Nashville Against Violence Symposium, which featured Rev. Ray Hammond, M.D., pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church in Boston, who shared what he and others did when Boston’s murder rate climbed from 30 to 150 homicides per year. As co-founder of Boston’s Ten Point Coalition, he brought together members of law enforcement, clergy, the juvenile justice system and community leaders to reach out to the most troubled youth, leading to a dramatic decrease in the city’s murder rate.
Rev. Hammond is returning for Wednesday meeting, from 2-4 p.m. in the Vince Gill room of the Curb Event Center. The first meeting was well-attended with a broad array of local religious and community leaders who met to address this crisis in Nashville. Hammond commented that it took several years in Boston to get the level of involvement seen in Nashville’s first meeting. Metro Nashville Police Chief Ronal Serpas, who spoke at the first Nashville Against Violence meeting, is returning tomorrow, and inviting his commanders and Community Coordinating Sergeants to also attend.