Pine Hills: Hope, yes. Action, yes.

Pastor Kelvin Cobaris at Stop the Killing, Start Living Rally.


I missed some of the “Stop the Killing, Start Living” rally but what I did catch spoke volumes about people’s genuine love of the Pine Hills community. There were prayers, inspirational dances, free food and drinks, booths with helpful information including on restoration of rights and voter registration, along with thought-provoking, soul-stirring speeches.

Pastor Kelvin Cobaris, of Livingston Street Church of God in Christ, main speaker at the rally, talked about what we know: We know about the senseless crimes that have taken place in Pine Hills and Orange County recently. He rattled off the horrific details. One very young man was kidnapped, beaten and set on fire. Young Danielle Sampson is still fighting for her life after being shot in her family vehicle, riding home from church. There are many other stories: Organizers displayed a handmade storyboard with a map of those killed in the Pine Hills area recently and placed their names and/or pictures on it.

There is still hope and Jesus Christ is that hope, Cobaris said. We still have to do the work.

“The stories ought to make everyone mad,” Cobaris said. “Mad enough to do something about it.

“It’s up to us to make a difference…everyone on this ground can make a difference,” said Cobaris, who along with other pastors in the Pine Hills area have had to preach the funerals of some of the victims in the latest rash of crimes in the area. “It’s up to us to take our community back.”

Three things he suggested:

Tell. You hear people say: ‘You need to mind your own business’ but it is our business, if something is going wrong in our neighborhoods, Cobaris said. Call the police. Tell them what you saw or heard when they are investigating a crime.

Volunteer. The light, he said, has to go into darkness to make a difference and offer the community hope. “If they have dropped out of school, we connect them with the program to drop back into school.”

He acknowledged that we may not be able to reach all the people struggling in the community, but we can reach some. Contribute your skills and talents to the community, things that you like to do.

Train. Train children the right way while they are young, Cobaris said. Even mentors can do that.

I heard good stuff at the rally. I hope and pray we all get up and do the good stuff…right here at home, in our neighborhoods.


K.N.E.C. is Kingdom Network Empowering Communities — faith-based group, made up of churches and concerned residents with goal to find ways to stem crime in Orlando’s inner cities. Contact: Bishop A.L. Helligar, 407-721-4817 or Pastor Michael Kimbrough, 407-234-9619. The group’s website:

Evans High Community School. At the high school, 4949 Silver Star Road, Orlando, FL 32808. Support Services for students, parents and community. Contact: Sherri White,

© Orlando Community News, 2012

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