New Era Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama has a message for young black men. And it’s not the first time the church’s billboard has had controversial advice.
Earlier this year, the pastor of the church stood in front of another one of their signs:
Pastor Michael R. Jordan says he hasn’t heard any outrage over the sign. He put it up in April as a response to all the crime he sees and hears about right outside the church doors. He said “authority” in the message is not just police. It’s also parents, school principles, and pastors.
People in the community agree there are issues that need to be dealt with. But they aren’t convinced the sign will fix them. “I think the signs are good but I think there should be more action behind the signs,” said Jennifer Williams, “in order to promote change you have to do something not just put a sign up there and that’s it.”
Jordan said the message was never about race, just the community. “I know what’s going on in the black neighborhood and that’s what my focus is, right now, we need to work on in house the crime epidemic in West End, and it’s terrible.”