by Senior Editor, Jim Memmott
Democrat and Chronicle

The magnetic Joy Powell has taken pain from her past and created a positive message. On wednesday, Pastor Joy Powell will find herself once again at the front of a group of people, marching against violence, deploring poverty, crying out for peace.

As Powell admits, she has taken a long and dangerous route to get to the head of the march against violence and its causes. Once part of the problem, she now sees herself as very much part of the solution.

“This is where I need to be,” she says. “This is my calling. To be in the streets, in a positive way.”

She has been reaching out lately to new groups, sometimes making unlikely linkages, such as that with the Green Party, another sponsor of Wednesday’s march.

“She’s one voice, but she’s one voice who has been heard in an awful lot of neighborhoods,” says Rochester Police Chief Robert Duffy. “The Joy Powells are important because they are out in the neighborhoods talking with people on their front porches and on street corners. We’ve got to keep on pushing.”

With the fervor of a survivor and a voice made hoarse from preaching, Powell tells her story at rallies, always emphasizing the time when she was running drugs, living in fear.

Her arrest in 1992 led to almost three years in prison, difficult years, but years that stopped her free-fall toward violent death, Powell says.

“God let me get caught,” she says…