A candle light ceremony will be held 6 p.m. Friday, April 19, at Barraque Street Missionary Baptist Church, 1800 W. Pullen Ave., to remember two 1997 homicide victims as well as other victims and families.
The 20-second candle lighting ceremony and call to action are in memory of Keith Norfleet and Arthur Shaw Jr., who lost their lives on Easter Sunday morning at Pullen Avenue and University Drive in 1997, according to a news release from the PBICVR Respect for Life Campaign.
The campaign will also honor other families who lost loved ones to homicides.
Speakers at the ceremony will include Bessie S. Lancelin, director of clinical services at Southeast Arkansas Behavioral Healthcare Systems Inc.; Amy Stivers and Melinda Crowder with Parents of Murdered Children Inc.; Derrick Wilbert, a pastor and the uncle of the late Keith Wilbert Jr., a University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff student who was murdered; and the Rev. Jesse C. Turner, co-leader for Pine Bluff National Ten Point PEN OR PENCIL Expansion Hub, a crime strategy aimed at reducing homicides and crime in Pine Bluff.
“Pine Bluff has experienced 11 homicides within the first four months of this year and for those 11 families and others a candle light ceremony will be held,” according to the release. “The senseless killings in this city is a clarion call for the entire community to join together for action.”
Registration forms for the Pine Bluff National Ten Point PEN OR PENCIL Expansion Hub will be available for those working in prison or jail ministry, job training and placement, reentry ministry, marriage/family counseling, food pantry ministries, court advocacy and diversion program and mentors. Residents may also sign up for the Street Patrols crime reduction strategy which involves law enforcement and faith leaders working together to reduce homicides.
Also, the Respect for Life Campaign is calling for Citizens’ Action to Fight Back.
“As a result of the 11th homicide in Pine Bluff, the Respect for Life Campaign is calling on blacks and whites, comprised of 100 ministers/pastors, 100 deacons, 300 youth/young adults, elected officials and professionals to meet on Main Street at the steps of the Jefferson County Courthouse at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 4,” according to a news release.