Jun 6, 2022 - News

State and local leaders march for gun violence awareness

Marchers head down East Lafayette Street in Detroit to raise awareness for gun violence.
Marchers head down East Lafayette Street in Detroit to raise awareness for gun violence. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios

Hundreds marched through Detroit's east side Saturday to "silence the violence" as part of the Church of Messiah's 15th annual gun violence awareness rally.

  • Community members, clergy, local politicians and law enforcement leaders honored victims and demanded solutions before marching down East Lafayette Street.

Why it matters: Shootings in the city decreased in 2021, but Detroit police chief James White believes that could have been a result of the pandemic. While he credits his department's prevention efforts for last year's reduction in homicides and nonfatal shootings, he acknowledges policing isn't the sole solution.

  • "It's not going to come from Uncle James or your grandfather — it's going to take young people saying 'Enough is enough, guys,'" White tells Axios.

What they're saying: "(City leaders) talk about crime problems, gun problems — but at the root of this is a relationship problem," Bishop Daryl Harris tells Axios, referring to a lack of conflict resolution skills among people vulnerable to committing violence.

  • Harris is a faith coordinator with Ceasefire Detroit, a violence intervention group and one of many neighborhood organizations focused on quelling violence that participated in the event.
  • "Let's think about how we can take this past a rally and a press conference … How can we use our voices to bring about common sense laws," City Council President Mary Sheffield, said during the rally.

Driving the news: Democrats in Lansing have been pushing for gun safety bills since an Oxford High School student shot and killed four classmates and injured seven others on campus last year.

  • Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, promised Senate Democrats that their "red flag" gun bills would receive a committee hearing, which has yet to happen..
  • "They always say that they will but I don't actually believe that's going to happen," Sen. Adam Hollier, D-Hamtramck, told Axios at the event Saturday.

Zoom out: Thousands wore orange during demonstrations across the country Saturday for National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

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