A popular television show host ministered Thursday evening for the third day of special "healing" services to "fix" Baltimore in the wake of violent unrest that rocked the city recently.
The atmosphere for the gathering at Empowerment Temple AME Church was set by a choir singing a traditional church hymn, “Fix it Jesus,” as the service began. "The city of Baltimore needs fixing," said Iyanla Vanzant, author, life coach and host of OWN network’s “Iyanla: Fix My Life.”
Vanzant came to offer Baltimore support and advice as Maryland’s largest city tried to return to normal. She told the nearly 100 congregants gathered at the megachurch despite the Rev. Jamal Bryant’s absence, that the youth who participated in the violence and crime that erupted after Freddie Gray’s funeral needed guidance from parents and other elders and to learn to think for themselves. Many young people follow their peers because they weren't taught to hold their own, she said.
Gray, 25, died in police custody after being arrested in one of the city's poorest and most crime-ridden neighborhoods. Six city police officers have been charged in connection with his arrest and death.
“There is a fear of our sons and daughters and parents are scared of our young people themselves,” she added. Instead, she asked, “What if mothers were more cautious of their daughters or men saw young black men as suspicious and gathered them around for a serious conversation.”
She said that much of what Baltimore is going through is in the mind. “People are not in touch with themselves and blacks in this era do not have a common sense of value and principles. We have adopted these ways unlike indigenous people who live to help their communities grow not tear them down,” she added. She called the current situation “a mental catastrophe.”
However, Vanzant, an inspirational speaker, encouraged people to be change agents. “Change starts within yourself and everyone needs to get every aspect of your life to a good or satisfactory condition. This does not only mean mentally, but physically, financially and emotionally.”