Big Turnout at Meeting to Stop Violence in GR

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.– There was such a huge turnout for the community input meeting about violence that organizers say they just could not hear everyone’s passionate messages. But, it got the ball rolling.

It was standing room only as nearly 1,000 concerned parents and people from all types of community services came to Messiah Missionary Baptist church to brainstorm how they could stop crimes against teens and young adults.

If the topic of discussion sounds familiar, it likely is. The community has worked for years trying to stop the violence. But pastors say, this time is different.

“The failures of the past cannot keep us from initiating new energies in the present,” said Dr. Cliff Rhodes, pastor of Messiah Missionary Baptist Church. “So, if we fumbled before but the game still plays, we’re going to try to come up with better plays, try to execute better plays. I think this morning was a strong picture of that kind of execution.”

Bringing experts from all types of programs and services around Grand Rapids, this group plans to take the next one to two months go out into neighborhoods to find out where they need to concentrate resources.

“Getting some basketball started for the younger folks, shooting pool,” said attendee, Kenneth McAlpin. “Getting something positive started in the community would be great.”

Students Jaylynne Yancy and Robbyin Bell came to the meeting. They have been on edge since the recent shootings in their neighborhoods.

“I was surrounded by each shooting so its hard to be in that community and walk out of your own house and not be scared,” said Yancy.

“We go to school with these people every day and teens talk to teens before they talk to another adults,” added Bell.

Others feel the best way to end the violence is to come clean.

“Anyone with any information, bring it all in.” said attendee Rahen Brown. “Someone got to say something. Somebody got to know something. Bring it all in so we can put a stop to this.”

Organizers have set dates for what they are calling break-out sessions to better target where to put resources in neighborhoods and for what specific groups that need attention.

January 23: Life Quest will host a dialogue involving youth workers at from 6:30 p.m to 8 p.m, at 1050 Fisk Road.

February 5: Coffee with Captain Payne starting at 5:30 p.m, at 636 Bates Street S.E.

February 7: Link will host a dialogue at GR Ford Middle School from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at 851 Madison Avenue SE.

February 21: Members of the clergy will discuss congregational care and development at 5:30 p.m., located at 618 Jefferson Avenue SE.

February 25-28: The Urban League will host a discussion on mental health during the evening, located at 745 Eastern Avenue SE.

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  • Rallyagainstviolence

    With close to 1,000 people in attendance, your main focus should not be "in the limelight", instead.. if yoour intentions are true,participating in the "Stop it" rally against violence should be number one priority. News media only reports what they want to. Sincerity in solving the problem at hand, should not be in the form of a compaint on EVERY news outlet because you were not interviewed. Many people were interviewed, but not publicized.

  • JEFF

    The first thing that should happen is the police do search warrants on all houses the have warrants at the address's the second thing that should happen is houses of all on parole and probation get searched .After all is it not the law enforcements job to enforce the law and no search warrants are needed for either step so there is no wasted time waiting for warrants.If the police do there job everyday instead of just after the crime they will stop more crime then they would ever imagine by taking two simple steps that they already have the authority to take.And no repercussion from any civil rights activists.

  • T.Gillespie

    The outcome was great! I must say that the City of Grand Rapids has had enough of this senseless violence. I commend the attempt to start the conversation. But my question is, why is the conversation just starting. And not aiming at the Pastor's and Police who where concerned enough to put this event on. Our community isn't ran by the pastor's or the police, it's our job to do what we can as a collective body to make the necessary changes. It's not a problem that will be dealt with over night… But beefing up police, will only cause more terror in our community.. The police have a different agenda then we do, and we have to understand that.