South LA pastor bringing law enforcement, communities together through food

When COVID-19 forced the closure of most restaurants, a South Los Angeles Pastor created Taco Tuesday, a weekly pop-up food stand in front of his church as a way to bring communities with years of conflict together.
SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- While there are policy makers trying to bring the nation together, there's a pastor in South L.A. who's focused on bringing his community together -- trying to remove the invisible barriers that bring conflict and violence. He's doing it one person, and one meal, at a time.

When COVID-19 forced the closure of restaurants all over the country, Pastor Tyrice Cagle saw an opportunity to bring communities together.

Taco Tuesday, served in front of his Redemption Church in South L.A., is a way for Cagle to bring communities with years of conflict together.

"Sometimes we have Bloods way off from the east side, sometimes we have Crips from maybe two blocks over," said Cagle. "And if you eatin', you don't have time to be upset about where everybody else is from. You have one thing, one goal of the matter of eatin'."

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South L.A. Pastor Eddie Anderson says he is heartened after seeing the number of young people and diverse faces who took to the streets to make their voices heard. His message to them: keep the fire.

For 13 years as pastor, his message of peace goes beyond his small church sanctuary, and he is very clear about how his positive relationship with the LAPD is critical.

"Just like them, I'm a first responder and I got to have my back against their back. I can't be angry when we trying to do the same thing: save lives and stop the next retaliation," said Cagle.

"What Pastor Cagle does is the answer to what a lot of people are looking for. Allowing people that grew up in the community, that know the community, within the community to help address the conflict, address the needs," said Capt. Emada Tingirides with the LAPD Southeast division.

"I have let him into my home, he know my kids, he knows my family, I have been to his church. I trust him. When people tell me, 'man don't go over there. Don't go to the playboys,' I look at them, if pastor over there, I'm over there," said Andre Vickers, a community member.

Cagle and his volunteer organization, Strong Shoulders, also worked successfully with the city of L.A.'s Safe Passage Program for the last two years and hope to continue that work this summer.

But for now, laughter and good food are helping him reach his ultimate goal.

"What I'm trying to do in my community is to be the bridge over troubled waters between law enforcement, intervention and community," Cagle.
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This openly gay preacher and his congregation believe that God's love is for everyone.

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