Black Lives Matter Savannah puts focus on local black-on-black crime

Jomo Johnson, founder of Black Lives Matter Savannah, preaches to his congregation in Forsyth Park on Sunday.

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About 30 people gathered in the grassy area beside the Forsyth Park fountain as Jomo Johnson, the founder of Black Lives Matter Savannah, began the organization’s first church service with an introduction to the evening’s topic: black-on-black crime.

“Lots of protests happen when a white police officer shoots a black person, but when a black person is killed by another black person, not much is said,” Johnson said. “Why do we say nothing?”

Pastor Will Thomas, from Greater Gaines Chapel in Savannah, gave a brief introduction for the sermon. Johnson urged his small, but engaged congregation to consider that God created all lives in his image, and therefore all lives matter.

Johnson’s sermon covered black-on-black crime in Chicago, or Chi-raq, as it is sometimes nicknamed because of the city’s high murder rate. He related the struggles of himself to the struggles of Moses, who returned to his homeland to lead the enslaved Israelites out of Egypt.

Johnson challenged local pastors to participate in what he called a “surge movement,” which involves “temporarily or permanently leaving their comfortable homes and moving to the communities with the greatest suffering and poverty.” Johnson said BLMS would be pushing this movement in the coming months.

“Free yourselves from the slavery of comfort. Practice what you preach,” Johnson said. “We, as African Americans have to be able to look at each other and recognize that our lives do matter, because we were created in the image of holy God. The solution for black-on-black crime does not come from the government, it does not come from a president. The solution for black-on-black crime comes from you.”

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