Hundreds gather at Elyton Village to promote community pride and non-violence

By Joseph D. Bryant

Housing Authority of the Birmingham District

Pastor Steve Green of More than Conquerors Faith Church prays with participants during the Cease Fire event at Elyton Village Saturday, Aug. 13. This event was the first time the church and its R.E.S.P.E.C.T. organization partnered with the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District to bring Cease Fire to public housing. Green called this the first of more collaborations with HABD to stress non-violence and community pride. (Contributed photo)
Pastor Steve Green of More than Conquerors Faith Church prays with participants during the Cease Fire event at Elyton Village Saturday, Aug. 13. This event was the first time the church and its R.E.S.P.E.C.T. organization partnered with the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District to bring Cease Fire to public housing. Green called this the first of more collaborations with HABD to stress non-violence and community pride. (Contributed photo)

Hundreds of children and adults filled the courtyard in the Elyton Village public housing community last week for a Cease Fire Community and Family Enrichment Day.

The event was designed to strengthen the neighborhood by encouraging pride, safety and security.

“We are not here on a mission to recruit for our church or seek anything in return,” said Pastor Steve Green Sr. of More Than Conquerors Faith Church. “But the messages of peace, non-violent conflict resolution and self-respect are universal. This is a message that we all can embrace.”

Cease Fire was first presented in 2006 though Green’s R.E.S.P.E.C.T. organization. Green said he was inspired to revive the Cease Fire program this year in response to rising violent crime in Birmingham.

Activities at Elyton Village represent a new partnership with the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District as Cease Fire seeks to expand its message throughout the city.

HABD President and CEO Michael Lundy agreed to open the agency’s facilities for events, programming and community service activities. The Aug. 13 event was just one of several events to come, officials said.

“It’s one thing to sit and lament the problems that exist in our world, but it takes courage to take action and address those problems head-on,” Lundy said. “Partnerships such as these are invaluable as we work together to improve Birmingham for every resident.”

Cease Fire Birmingham is a coalition of community stakeholders working to educate and strengthen families while also combating gun violence and homicides in the Birmingham area.

The day of activities at Elyton came just a few weeks after a back to school gathering at More Than Conquerors Faith Church on July 25th brought together thousands of students from the Birmingham area.