Category: Community - Original Published on Wednesday, 03 July 2013 15:43 Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
Page 2 of 2
On June 26, 2013, Michigan Prophetic Voices (MPV) clergy met with officials from the Michigan Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives, to discuss their proposal to create and fund a comprehensive anti-gun violence initiative to bring support to Flint, Detroit, Pontiac, Saginaw, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.
The $3 million proposal will: Implement specific violence reduction strategies over a four year period, based on the highly successful Ceasefire model pioneered by the National Network of Safe Communities (NNSC), including hiring a State Coordinator to work with local law enforcement and community groups to assist in strategy implementation and results monitoring; Provide technical assistance to build the capacity of state and local law enforcement and community leaders and partners, to enhance and sustain violence reduction; Enhance and support effective community based organizing efforts targeted at violence reduction and integrated into and supportive of the NNSC effort; Launch a targeted advertising campaign and toll-free tip line to encourage citizens to report illegal firearm possession.
In the coming weeks, group plans to present their proposal before the Governor's Council on Law Enforcement and Reinvention (CLEAR) and meet with Gov. Snyder's Chief of Staff, Dennis Muchmore.
The June 26 meeting was held at the Governor's Southeast Michigan Office in Detroit, and the clergy present represented cities including Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Flint, Detroit and Battle Creek. All of which are among the 100 most violent in the United States.
Pastors shared powerful stories about the damage that gun violence is doing to their communities. Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist Church's Pastor Jeffrey Hawkins, who lost two sons to gun violence in Flint, spoke at the meeting and described his emotions during the trial of the young man accused of killing his son. He realized that the young suspect was losing his own life too and urged state officials to work toward solutions that save the lives of both the accused and victims.
Since the formation of MPV in 2012, the reduction of violence in urban areas across the state has been one of group's key issues. In December 2012, many of these same pastors carried names of murdered children to the steps of the Capitol in Lansing.
"Michigan Prophetic Voices is excited and hopeful about the progress being made and the commitment of the Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives in supporting the initiative," said Rev. Albert Hamstra, a Pastor from Grand Rapids. MPV is looking to integrate their efforts with the current Detroit One violence reduction program and the Flint Drug Market Intervention project.
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