LANSING, Mich. — After a long process, the Advance Peace Lansing initiative is finally “in motion.” It's part of a national push that focuses on bringing community leaders together with a common goal - combating gun violence.
“This project has been implemented in other communities and has been evaluated and has worked for different communities, so we think we have the evidence to bring a solution like this to Lansing,” said Paul Elam with the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI).
Lansing has already secured $2 million that will help get the initiative up and operating. Officials said it was a well worth the investment, especially given the number of shootings in the city.
The Lansing Police Department said, so far in 2022, there has been 43 non-fatal shootings and 12 fatal shootings.
“Here in Lansing, we have a target of reducing gun violence by at least 40% over the next 3 years,” Elam said.
MPHI will be spearheading the initiative.
“When the community asked up to step up, we felt like we were in the right position to support the community,” Elam said.
We’re told MPHI will be in the community trying to reach those who are at high risk of being impacted by gun violence.
The organization has hired three neighborhood change agents to help.
“They’re full time employees out in our community eight to 10 hours a day, almost every day,” Elam said.
One of the neighborhood change agents is Marlon Beard, who knows how important this cause is.
Last year, Beard lost his 16-year-old son Marshawn to gun violence.
“I connect well with other parents because only we know exactly how it feels to lose a child to gun violence, and that’s really the most important part of this job we have connect with the people that is most affected,” Bear said.
The initiative will also be pulling high-risk groups off the streets and providing them with resources through an 18-month fellowship.
“We would be touching bases them daily, providing them with resources and taking them out of that bad community, and letting them know that can accomplish things outside of that. We want to change their attitudes and behavior,” Elam said.