Kay G abandoned the home he had known for three months—the bench in Loring Park—and set out to fight for the Twin Cities. He resurrected Hope Ministries, a street outreach he had first started in Chicago. He ventured out to circulate among the roughest neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St. Paul, stretching out his arms to pray over street corners and people.
“Give the drugs a break and come over here,” Kay G called through a bullhorn to the drug dealers, pimps, and prostitutes milling about on Franklin Avenue in south Minneapolis. “I know where you’re coming from.”
But they had seen him before, and so they ran away. Because sometimes love is frightening.
The locals eyed Kay G’s work. “He’s turning the dope spot into a hope spot.”
And law enforcement watched him blasting out words of healing on some of the worst corners in town.
“If we ever needed you, God, we need you now,” Kay G cried out into the streets as traffic whizzed by.
The officers saw him performing vigils and memorials for victims of violent crimes in the inner city; they showered him with accolades. And he counted the police as his best friends.
But one day in 2007, Kay G’s heart nudged him to return to Chicago—his home and the birthplace of Hope Ministries. So, in his apartment, while his seven-year-old daughter played in the bedroom, he packed his bags, and then strode to the living room to watch TV. He settled into a chair and flipped on the news.
“When four young men were turned away from a house party on 33rd and Humboldt Avenue in north Minneapolis, they shot at least a dozen times, accidentally killing fourteen-year-old Charez Jones…”
Kay G lowered his head. He had heard violent news stories all too often and followed them into the homes of the victims’ loved ones where he prayed with them. But this time, a father in Minneapolis had lost his daughter. Tears washed away Kay G’s plans for Chicago. The thought of his own girl—alive and breathing in the next room—pierced his heart. He stood up and went to her.
“What, Daddy?” She studied his face, her eyes wide.
Kay G brushed away his tears, picked her up, and carried her to the living room. He sat down with her. "A young girl was shot and killed. They just said it on TV." He cupped her face in his hands. “Baby, you have to help Daddy unpack. I’m not going anywhere.”
After that, Kay G visited Guy Jones, Charez’ father, and stuck with him day after day, propping up the grieving man when he couldn’t stand by himself. In those early days, Guy started a foundation in his daughter’s name, but it was birthed out of pain, and his daily tears blurred his vision. Kay G took up the load and carried the foundation for Guy, and a visit to Charez’ grave each year bolstered his mission to keep preaching on the city's street corners.
On a summer day in 2011, fourteen-year-old Quantrell Braxton was found shot in a north Minneapolis street. Days later, Kay G and three dozen men, women, and children from various churches gathered on the four corners of Broadway and Lyndale in north Minneapolis to remember Quantrell and to pray for a death to violence.
Always on guard for bullies, Kay G scanned the area. Yards away, he spied some teenagers—a guy and three girls—hanging out together at a nearby gas station. At each passing city bus, the guy threw up gang signs.
Kay G shook his head. “That kid needs prayer.”
He motioned for the boy to join them, but the teen ignored him. After a while, the sun sank, and Kay G frowned at the fading daylight. Concerned for the safety of the group, he called for the prayer warriors to come from their spots and gather all together on the bus stop corner.
“Let’s all pull in close and lock arms while we pray,” one man said.
Expand the circle!
“No,” Kay G told the group. “We should hold hands and make the circle bigger.”
The group did as Kay G said. Then he looked over at the teen at the gas station as the kid made another gang sign—this time at a passing car. The boy’s face shifted, though, and his cocky expression morphed into a look of fear. The three girls with him made a beeline for the bus stop where Kay G and his people stood. The boy darted looks around him as he followed them. Soon, the four teenagers hovered near the prayer group. Kay G lowered his head to pray, and in that second, a young man—with a gun—sped by on a bike.
POP! POP! POP! Eight close range gunshots blasted through their circle, and everyone dropped to the ground—except for Kay G. A scream shredded the air. One of the girls from the gas station collapsed into his arms. Unscathed, the gang sign guy sprinted off.
“I’m gonna die!” The girl wailed, blood soaking her clothes. “They shot me! I’m gonna die!”
“No, you’re not.” Kay G carried her to his car, begging God for her life with every step. He yelled back to the group. “Call an ambulance. Now!”
A bullet had grazed one of the men in the prayer group, and the girl—wounded by a gunshot to her hip—later had surgery and recovered. But the rest of the men, women, and children were unharmed. The bullets had zinged between them—through their widened circle—and they were saved.
Over the years, Kay G developed a herniated disc, and in early 2014, the condition stole his ability to walk. The searing pain landed him in the hospital, and there he awaited surgery. But thoughts of his ministry called to him, and so he phoned his boss to come and drive him home. The man did as he said and carried Kay G from the car up to his second-floor apartment.
But minutes later, after his boss had left, someone called, alerting him to the news: A duplex fire had claimed the lives of five children belonging to a single father in north Minneapolis.
"Lord, I have to get to him." Kay G crawled to his walker, pain tearing through his body. He struggled down to the first floor and drove his truck through snowy streets to the man's house for the vigil. In the freezing cold, he prayed for the father who had lost so much.
Every day in the city, Kay G ministers to those who are empty and mourning. No guns, knives, or bulletproof vests. He doesn’t have money either—or a big church with a beautiful choir. But with the authority of God, he speaks Truth over the bullies of homelessness, prostitution, drugs, gangs, and violence. And he brings his church—and hope—wherever he goes.
The Star Tribune's documentary of Kay G's ministry: https://www.facebook.com/hatin2krazy/videos/224214997630105/?pnref=story
"The Message from the Park Bench": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVWmiD6hzzU&feature=share
Follow Kay G on these two Facebook pages: Kay G Wilson and ALL LIVES MATTER MPLS, MN. 2015
*Kay G Wilson is a friend to north Minneapolis, mentor/international peace activist, founder and president of Hope Ministries, spokesman for the Charez Jones Foundation, co-facilitator of Criminals and Gangs Anonymous (CGA) Minneapolis, founder of 500 Man Peace March Minneapolis, spokesman for United in Peace, Inc., Minnesota, and humble servant of Jesus Christ.
*Miss an installment of the blog? Or want to catch the story from the beginning? Visit http://www.tamarajorell.com/blog-entries-by-date
*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.