MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis and Shelby County leaders are begging members of the community to join them in their efforts to stop gun violence and are planning events that will give them the tools to do it.
Fresh off a deadly few days in Memphis — where police say at least four people have been shot and two people killed– action is being taken as the city searches for solutions to its crime issues.
Community leaders and officials are planning various events aimed at reducing crime in the city.
Erika Kelley with Mom’s Demand Action believes those events are what the community needs to have their concerns heard.
“This is a movement to end gun violence, this is a movement for our voices to be heard. This is a movement for us to come together and get out in these communities and let these people know that we are with you,” Kelley said.
As of Monday, there have been 268 homicides and currently the city is on pace to surpass last year’s record of 323 homicides.
Memphis police Chief CJ Davis acknowledged staffing issues have hampered the department and believes it could be 2 years before the city sees a substantial decrease in crime, but in the meantime they are making the most of what they do have.
“What we have to do is look inside at what we have to work with today and start reallocating man power toward the priorities of the police department and the community. To answer your question we are already starting to see that needle move,” she said.
In an effort to reduce crime, a gun buyback is being hosted by MPD this weekend. Davis said they have also created a fugitive unit, where they will work with the Shelby County sheriffs office to get violent offenders off the street.
“We need a group of individuals that are laser focus on the worse of the worse and that’s what we’re gonna be focusing on and also having that soft presence and visibility in our communities, especially, areas that see violence over and over again,” Davis said.
Two of the scheduled events will be public meetings.
The meetings will be from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday Nov. 16 at Pursuit of God Transformational Center at 3759 N. Watkins in Frayser and on Thursday Nov. 18 at Riverside Missionary Baptist Church at 3560 S. Third St.
The purpose of the community meetings is to hear from law enforcement, prosecutors, health leaders, and other key community stakeholders about specific ways to prevent gun violence with the opportunity to give feedback and input.
Stevie Moore of Freedom from Unnecessary Negatives will moderate the discussions at both community meetings.
The third event is the Unity Walk Against Gun Violence which will be held Saturday Nov. 13 starting at 10 a.m. at Raleigh Egypt High School at 3970 Voltaire Ave.
Registration and assembly for the 1.6-mile walk begins at 9:30 a.m and masks are required.
Organizations that will be present and have resource tables at the event include:
- Alliance Healthcare Services
- Shelby County Crime Victims & Rape Crisis Center
- Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital
- YWCA Greater Memphis
- Regional One Health
- Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives/FFUN
- Shelby County Health Department – Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR)
- Shelby County Health Department – Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Moms Demand Action
- Memphis Police Department – Traffic Safety
- Shelby County Division of Community Services (Rental & Utility Assistance, Aging Commission of the Mid-South
- Memphis Office of Youth Services – MPLOY and Ambassadors Programs
- Shelby County Schools – Mental Health Center
- Mid-South Transplant Foundation
- Raleigh CDC
- State Farm Insurance
- Bell Financial Solutions LLC
- Pregnant Moms’ Empowerment Program
- Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County
- Memphis PAL
- Patch 55 (Providing Assisting Teaching Challenging Helping)
- Memphis Public Library JobLINC.
Chief Davis encourages residents to attend the walk in an effort to put an end to gun violence.
“Anyone who has said that they are tired of gun violence in the city of Memphis need to meet us out on the pavement this weekend as we walk,” Davis said.
The Unity Walk will be the sixth since the first walk was held in November last year in the Medical Center. More than 2,300 people have attended the walks.