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Community members call on Lansing officials to tackle the city's violence with love

Lansing City Hall Plaza
Posted at 10:55 AM, Dec 19, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — Community members gathered at the Hive in Lansing on Saturday to talk about the high rates of gun violence in the city.

Residents say they want to see the police work on better engagement with the community and respond to issues with love, not force.

“What I'm watching from our leaders is not meeting the people of Lansing with open arms," said Melik Brown, the event organizer. "If you were, you would witness the pain and the hurt from someone who loves Lansing and believes Lansing is a place that a person can thrive rather than barely survive.”

Strong words from Lansing residents at Saturday's meeting— which came in response to a press conference hosted Monday by Mayor Andy Schor and Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth.

"It’s heartbreaking to me every time I hear that another young life was lost in our city due to gun violence," said Schor on Monday.

Community members like Jerry Norris are calling for peace.

“We can’t keep shooting, we need a cease fire," Norris said. He is also encouraging officials to better engage with the community. “Get involved with the people who are involved with the problem.”

Gun violence has killed 23 people in the city over the last year, officials reported in their press conference Monday. The violence isn't unique to Lansing, the whole country has seen a significant rise.

"We all have the same goal, to reduce the amount of violence, especially gun violence plaguing our community," said Wriggelsworth in a statement Saturday. "Fighting for justice for victims all the while making every effort to significantly reduce victimization going forward. The Ingham County Sheriff’s Office continues to increase resources and collaborate with our community to find solutions both now and in the future."

Brown says he doesn't have the answers.

"[But] I do know what's happening right now isn't working and if people don't have hope and can't see happiness and joy anywhere in front of them at all whatsoever, they're going to be disparity, depressed and paralyzed," he said.

Attendees say there are already people in the community doing the work to address gun violence.

“There are people who are doing this work already. Let’s come together, bring them all into one space and place," said Angela Matthews, an event attendee. "Let’s talk to our young people and find out what’s going on. What do you think? How are you feeling? What’s happening? What can we do to help you and set ourselves to service.”

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