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Network of congregations working to combat gun violence in Fort Pierce

Faith and Florida pushes for change in their own communities
Posted at 4:08 PM, Jan 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-20 17:30:00-05

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Alisia Harriel is the Treasure Coast community organizer for Faith in Florida.

“My typical day, I go out into the community, go knock on doors,” she said. “My number one question is, what keeps you up at night?”

She said people she spoke with Thursday had one main concern.

“Their one concern was getting justice. Who is responsible for the tragedy that happened on Martin Luther King Day, and are they safe right now in their own homes," Harriel said. "Right now they don’t feel safe, because no one is arrested right now.”

Alisia Harriel of Faith in Florida
Alisia Harriel of Faith in Florida explains how the Treasure Coast organization supports residents in the community.

Faith in Florida is a network of congregations pushing for change in their own communities.

“I was here as well with my kids, and I just happened to leave before the incident occurred," Harriel said. "I was thinking to myself, that could have been me trying to protect my two babies on Martin Luther King Day.”

This week, she said the goal is to get at the root of the problem and to get at possible solutions to bring to officials and asking questions.

“This is what we are hearing at the doors,” she said. “How can you as our elected officials, how can you do something to solve this problem that’s concerning to our citizens here in Ft. Pierce?”

Pinkie W. Hendley, the pastor of New Life Christian Fellowship Church, part of Faith in Florida, said they’ve worked with other congregations and organizations on a gun violence plan that they will present to the county.

Pinkie Hendley.jpg
Pinkie W. Hendley, the pastor of New Life Christian Fellowship Church says the community must come together as a whole to stop gun violence.

“I am saying to all of us, I don’t care what title you wear, come out from out of the doors, and let us save some of these children,” she said. “Otherwise, we are going to be living in fear.”

Faith in Florida is planning a community wide prayer at 10 a.m. Saturday at Ilous Ellis Park in Fort Pierce.

“We will be praying here where the blood was shed, I am going to feel a sense of healing, and I know after those prayers we will be feeling powerful,” Harriel said.