Violent Crime in the City Memphis, Tennessee is more 2.5 times the National average. On January 27, 2010 a 27 year old nursing student Sony Millbrook did not return that evening to pick up her children from the ADT Child Development Academy. She was reported missing by a family member, and on March 17, 2010 she was found dead, in a needless act of violence, in a motel room in the Whitehaven area. Some of the relatives of Sony Millbrook are members of our church (Apostolic Deliverance Temple). One month later on February 27, 2010 Marques Rainey a security guard for Southland Mall in Whitehaven was shot and killed, in an unnecessary act of violence, just trying to do his job.

In the words of Apostle Perry Maples, pastor and overseer of the Apostolic Deliverance Temple Churches Worldwide, he recants the experience he had about this incident: I live in Whitehaven, and two days after Mr. Rainey was murdered, as I drove pass the mall there was a phenomena that I experienced. As I thought on what happened to the security guard, it was as though my spirit left my body and went into the mall where I saw Mr. Rainey after he was wounded. I saw the look on his face and at that moment his thoughts were on his wife. At that time I began to meditate and ask God for wisdom. And God said, “People need to think before they act. The person that committed this act did not think.” And He said to me, “go and tell everyone to THINK BEFORE YOU ACT” because there are consequences to all of your action.

With a mandate from God, Apostle Perry Maples and several members of the community began to establish the foundation for the Think Before You Act campaign. On March 23, 2010 the Memphis City Council passed a resolution that on April 4 through April 10 the City of Memphis will honor Think Before You Act Non-Violence Week every year in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King’s, Jr. legacy of non-violence.

The campaign has also received endorsements from Mayor A.C. Wharton and a resolution from State of Tennessee legislators to show their support of this effort to help end crime in the city of Memphis. In addition, TBYA has also gained support from the Memphis City School system in which area schools participated in the Stop the Violence poster contest. The top twelve winning posters received monetary prizes and will be used in the 2011 I Am My Brother’s Keeper Calendar.

Local churches, schools, businesses and citizens were targeted to help promote this initiative. Pastors were urged to address their congregations, teachers utilized the first five minutes of their classes to talk about non-violence, business owners displayed posters in their establishments and concerned citizens canvassed neighborhoods, shopping malls, sporting events and where ever people gathered to pass out fliers. In addition, TBYA used public service announcements, interstate billboards to help inform the public about this effort. All volunteers wore TBYA T-shirts and/or lapel buttons as they campaigned their assigned areas throughout the city reminding people to Think Before You Act.

The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. must live on. The only way to spread this message of non-violence is to instill a hope in people and that violence only leads to destruction. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. successfully demonstrated that when people get together anything is possible. In turn, the Think Before You Act Non-Violence Week campaign was orchestrated in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the purpose of this effort is to reduce crime in our city because I Am My Brother’s Keeper.

Think Before You Act

Apostle Perry Maples