LANSING, Mich. — Lansing’s Gun Violence Task Force is looking to support the work already being done community organizations as a way of decreasing gun violence among young people.
The collaboration comes not even two months after Mayor Andy Schor announced the task force.
“We looked at our dollars that we had from last year,” Schor said. “Our Gun Violence Task Force was set up and the people on the task force said we need to help out the programs that are out there right now.”
Schor is proposing that the city give $100,000 to organizations to put on events and provide activities.
The money comes from the city's rainy day fund. Schor said this effort is important given increasing violent crime the city. Seventeen people have been killed in Lansing so far this year, compared with 22 in all of last year. Five of those victims were teenagers.
“I’m hoping the money will go to organizations that will actually help,” said Tanaysha Beard.
Tanaysha’s brother, Marshawn Beard, was shot and killed at Rotary Park in June. He was 16 years old.
“Marshawn was an outgoing sports player,” Tanaysha said. “He played football for two years. He was also a humble family man. He had a lot of nieces that he loved.”
Tanaysha said she hopes that the money the city is giving out,goes to organizations that care about solving the problem.
“They need more people who actually want to be involved in the youth,” she said, "not give the money to people who are just working at these community centers to actually make a living for themselves, but people who are actually involved in the youth and actually involved with what’s going on in their lives.”
The Lansing City Council is expected to vote on the mayor's plan tonight. Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar, who is running against Schor in this year's mayoral race, said she thinks it sounds like a good plan, but hopes it’s coming from a genuine place.
“I find it interesting that it’s happening a week before the election, as opposed to any other time,” Dunbar said. “I hate to see anyone taking advantage of the crime and the gun violence and the deaths that have already happened here to make a pitch for an election. That being said, I’m glad he’s finally on board with funding these front-end programs.”
Schor did not respond to Dunbar’s comment, but he did said his focus is the city’s cooperation with community organizations.
“Certainly I want to build our reserve funding, but right now giving these organizations more opportunities is extremely important,” Schor said.