Memphis pastor helps those dealing with tragedy

NORTH MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A local pastor is taking a stand after several deadly shootings in Memphis in less than a week.

One of the victims was his cousin.

The pastor is working to help the community deal with trauma.

Pastor Charlie Caswell will meet with pastors, parents, politicians and others in the community to help them understand how these incidents are impacting young people.

Caswell said his cousin was shot and killed behind a store near Manassas in North Memphis, and the community is taking a hit.

Caswell is still working to learn why someone shot and killed his cousin, Antonio Gray Jr., over the weekend.

“Found out that one of my cousins was shot riding his bike in the community and this is sadly a story that’s too often in this community, so it’s hard on the family and hard on people in the community who loved him and really cared about him,” Caswell explained.

“I knew the guy, that was very sad, especially for him to be minding his own business. I feel like the crime rate is too high,” said Roxanne Ware, a Memphis native.

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That’s why Caswell is spearheading the Trauma Informed City ACE Summit in September where stakeholders can receive valuable certified training on adverse childhood experiences.

Community leaders believe that will help cut down on the crime.

“Things that’ happening such as our kids are being killed and how to respond to that trauma. Provide opportunities for our youth, connecting them with jobs and resources that bring them out of these communities and environments of so much violence,” said Caswell.

Caswell, who grew up in the North Memphis community, said a lot of times people commit crimes because they don’t talk about the violence happening in their neighborhood.

He said when they keep it to themselves, they become angry.

“We’ll be talking about again, it’s not what’s wrong with the child, it’s what happened to the child, understand to change our language when it comes to children and parents in our community but also how that trauma adds up into becoming suicide,” Caswell stated.

Ware is looking forward to the summit because right now she fears the worst.

“I think it would help people put guns down at least or do something besides being outside at all odd hours of the night,” she stated.

The summit is set for Sept. 8 at the House Church Memphis on Austin Peay from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

For more information about this free event, email ccaswell@thehousememphis.com.