Kalamazoo pastors, community rally against gun violence

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Community leaders in Kalamazoo are calling for an end to gun violence after a recent surge in violence this summer. 

The Speak Up, STOP Gun Violence event Tuesday afternoon at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park was organized by pastors from across the city.  

Many speakers spoke about the need for opportunities to keep kids away from violence and the need to reach out and mentor them. 

Dr. Addis Moore, the president of the Northside Ministerial Alliance, says everyone needs to come together to make real change. 

“Gun violence is almost happening every day in our community. Lives are being lost, individuals are being injured, children are being injured, property is being damaged, and so it’s spreading and so if we don’t do something now, it continues to spread like a cancer, it just keeps growing and growing,” Moore said. 

Community leaders gathering in downtown Kalamazoo for a rally against gun violence. (Aug. 4, 2020)

Chief Karianne Thomas with the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety says the city has had nine homicides in 2020 — eight were committed with guns. She says since June 1, officers have investigated 72 shootings. 

“We want the entire community to not just to know but to lend their voices because we’re actually saying speak up. We want everybody to say something because we think that evilness, actually, it thrives in silence. If we don’t say anything, we give evil permission to continue to grow,” Moore said.