KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Bishop Frank Douglas stood blocks away from where he attended kindergarten, pleading with the Kansas City, Missouri, community to stop the violence.
“We have called a ceasefire, and in the first three days of the 21 days, we have experienced the taking of life of two individuals,” said Douglas, a Southern Christian Leadership Conference board member who works with the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, “and it is incumbent that we do not allow this to be business as usual in our community.”
Douglas was joined by Vernon Howard, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City, and Donna Simon, pastor at St. Mark Hope and Peace, to repeat their calls for 21 days without gun violence in the city.
“We are committed to lift up a problem in our community called homicide, which is the most severe kind of violence that can be thrust upon a community,” Douglas said.
Clergy and activists, according to Howard, will continue to have a presence in neighborhoods where shootings occur and “will no longer be silent” about violence.
“Where the bloodshed is, we will be there,” Howard said. “Where the pain and the violence is, we will be there in love and in peace, pleading with our brothers and sisters to stop. To cease the violence.”
Following any homicide that occurs within the 21 days, clergy and activists, according to Howard, will respond to comfort those who are grieving and pass out pamphlets and flyers.
“For those who are thinking about violence, don’t do it. For those who are thinking about retaliating, don’t do it. For those who are so hurt and grieved that you want to strike out at somebody, don’t do it,” Howard said. “Things don’t become better after we take a life. Things become worse.”
It’s “imperative,” according to Simon, that everyone show up against violence in the city.
“We’re a city where east side, west side, north, south, we gotta learn to love each other,” Simon said.
As of Wednesday, there were 69 homicides in the city, compared to 83 on the same date in 2020.
For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.