LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A string of fatal shootings in Lansing has left residents disappointed and fed up with the violence.
On Saturday, on Lahoma Street on Lansing’s westside, the community gathered for an anti-gun violence block party. Mayor Andy Schor was there, along with several concerned citizens and activists.
“It really touches home, because my baby was shot and killed a few years ago on Lapeer Street,” said D.D. Yarber, who was at the block party.
Gun violence took Yarber’s son from her. Now, she is working to spread awareness.
“I’m still going through it when it comes to the loss of my baby, because he was my best friend. He was always there for me,” Yarber said.
One organizer described the importance of building community with those who might not normally feel included.
“The people that are committing these things, they don’t feel they’re a part of a community, and we want to let them know they are welcome at this table and to join us,” organizer Chris Murphy said.
Murphy said that after a fatal shooting happened right by his house, he knew he needed to take action.
“The people here are amazing. We’ve got families, kids, and they’re worth protecting and patrolling a lot more than we do now,” Murphy said.
Local anti-gun violence organizations set up booths with resources for education and prevention–like the “Be SMART” group, whose name is actually an acronym for ways to be safe with guns.
“S is ‘Securing guns properly,’ M is ‘Model responsible behavior around guns,’ A is ‘Ask about the presence of guns in other homes and how they’re stored.’ R is ‘Recognize the role of guns in suicides.’ And T is ‘Tell others about Be SMART,'” said Eric Gaines, a member of Be Smart with Moms Demand Action.
“Guns aren’t going to go away. The issue isn’t the guns; it’s the hearts behind the people pulling the triggers,” Murphy said.
Murphy said all donations from today will go to the Mikey 23 Foundation, a group that teaches young people valuable skills to keep them away from gun violence. The foundation was founded in memory of Mikey McKissic, who was murdered in Lansing in August 2015.
A community member wears a ‘Policy and Change’ shirt at an anti-gun violence rally in Lansing Saturday.