ICARE Justice Ministry Report: April 2024

Power concedes nothing without a demand.  It never did and it never will ~ Frederick Douglas

ICARE’s Rev. Ken Emmanuel spoke about a mother and grandmother from his church who were going out on a Saturday morning to get coffee. They saw the body of a young woman lying in front of their house. They realized they’d heard gunshots night before.

The big picture:

  • Jacksonville had the highest homicide rate in Florida in 2022.
  • There were only two weeks in 2023 where no one in Jacksonville was killed.
  • Homicides are an equal-opportunity problem – affecting all Jacksonville neighborhoods.

Call to action:

ICARE wants Sherrif T.K Waters to reduce homicides by taking a second look at JSO’s gang violence program, which so far has underperformed.

  • Other cities that have Group Violence Intervention see violent crime drop by 30% to 60% within months.
  • JSO already has a GVI program, launched in 2016 by T.K. Waters, who was assistant chief at the time.
  • Since then, the number of murders in Jacksonville’s has been higher every year.

In February, ICARE invited business leaders, healthcare workers, educators and advocates to talk about how gun violence is harming our community. The mayor sent a representative to speak, the state attorney recorded a statement. Over 100 people attended and news outlets covered the event – Sheriff T.K. Waters stayed home.

Sheriff Waters says he’s too busy to attend this year’s Nehemiah Assembly to talk about Group Violence Intervention. So, our members will leave him phone messages several days ahead of the event.  Sign up here to join them.

And come to the Nehemiah Assembly, at 6:45 p.m. April 15, Abyssinia Missionary Baptist Church. Let the sheriff’s absence be what people notice. And not ours.

ICARE is a Jacksonville-wide interfaith coalition that petitions elected leaders on issues of social justice. To learn more, contact icare@bbuuc.org