Pastor Paul DeanAt Tuesday's City Council meeting, Dean was given time for a unity message which turned out to be an invitation to take part in a 5K run on Nov. 25.
"Since 1697 black men have been running for their freedom. It’s 2016 and black men are still running for their freedom. With all the senseless killings taking place and higher percentage of black men in prisons, our black men have become victims of wrongful deaths and violence. It’s time to encourage the men to run the race of life and finish their purpose without their lives being cut short," a flier for the event reads.
The city has suffered eight homicides this year, mostly young men.
The run is planned from 8 a.m. to noon, starting in Cedar Brook Park, and Dean aims for 5,000 runners. It is organized through Visions Community Development.Corporation, the not-for-profit organization that is also engaged in revitalizing the neighborhood around his church, Visions of God Family Worship on Leland Avenue.
A large number of congregants came to the council meeting to show their support and applauded wildly as Dean received assurances of support from the council.
City Clerk AJ Jalloh reminded Dean of the permit process for such events, but officials said they expected the process could be finished in time for a resolution granting permission to be added to the Sept.12 agenda.
As Dean emphasized the role of men, Councilwoman Bridget Rivers said, "Women can't run?" Dean pointed out the fine print on the flier that said, "All men, women and children are welcome."
Dean's group is seeking vendors and musicians as well as participants. Click here to see the invitation.