Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin spoke to community leaders in Louisville yesterday about the city’s growing problems with violence and announced a prayer-centric approach he hopes will help mobilize the city, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. The governor urged residents to commit to walking a particular block of the city two to three times a week for the next year. Participants can form small groups of three to 10 people to do these walks, during which they can pause at each corner to pray together and stop to chat with folks they meet.
Although Bevin came up with this block-walking idea, he said people should take it and make it their own. The state government isn’t going to organize this effort, but he said houses of worship could help lead the charge. “You don’t need permission from me how to do it. You know, you walk to a corner, pray for the people, talk to people along the way,” he said. “No songs, no singing, no bullhorn, no T-shirts, no chanting. Be pleasant, talk to the people, that’s it.” Some people felt Bevin’s idea was too simplistic and wouldn’t address the economic and social problems that are underlying causes of the city’s violence. Others were pleased to see him directly address this issue and encourage residents to get involved. Bevin said his administration is taking steps to combat crime. For example, job-training programs are being brought to Kentucky’s prisons to help prevent people from reoffending.