GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Friday night, Greensboro Police and the Mount Zion Baptist Church of Greensboro will launch a downtown initiative that they hope will become a successful alternative to last year's curfew.
Greensboro mayor Nancy Vaughan said as of now, there are no plans to reinstate the curfew, which the city council implemented in an emergency meeting last July following a brawl involving hundreds of teenagers outside Syn and Sky nightclub on Elm Street.
Joe Frierson, the young adult pastor at Mount Zion Baptist Church said, "What happened last year is we sent a message by instituting a curfew. We sent a message to them (teenagers) by essentially saying you're not welcome downtown. A lot of people felt that way and took it as an offense."
So, Frierson said he and deputy chief of police James Hinson began examining other options to help maintain the peace downtown. They worked with city council member Sharon Hightower, who has held youth summits and attempted to work with teenagers to find feasible solutions to deter trouble downtown. Upon the city council's consent last week, they arranged for a new initiative called "The Movement" to begin this Friday night.
Each Friday and Saturday night from 9 p.m. to midnight, four to five Mount Zion Baptist Church members and two Greensboro police officers will walk the streets of downtown in an effort to "engage in positive interaction" with the youth and others who hang out downtown.
"It all boils down to a simple conversation," said Hinson. He and Frierson explained they want to create a joint presence that isn't threatening to youth. In doing this and building trust among the downtown community, Hinson and Frierson said they believe incidents like last year's brawl are unlikely to happen again.
"The Movement" is scheduled to run through Aug. 16.