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'How can we fix this?': Kansas City advocates use music to heal, call for an end to violence

Community advocates using music to call for an end to violence
Posted at 8:35 PM, Sep 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-01 23:12:48-04

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Kansas City, Missouri, is on pace for one its deadliest years in history; the majority of crimes this year involved a gun.

On Friday, community advocates came together to re-create a fake crime scene with crime scene tape, sheets and bodies. It's all too familiar for 132 families this year.

"Lord have mercy," said Kevin Morgan, founder of Sent1One Ministries.

Morgan, a musician and founder of an organization for previously incarcerated men who need a fresh start, had no idea KCMO reached that number already.

"I got the banner of Jesus right here," Morgan said.

His shirt with the message "give hugs, not slugs" sends the same message as his new song and it resonates with families who've had loved ones taken from them too soon.

"I'm out here today because not only am I standing for my nephew who was gunned down two weeks ago, but I'm standing here for all children of America," said Ollie Perkins, an advocate for Brothers Loving Brothers.

The gathered near east 54th Street and Prospect Avenue for teenagers like Zafir Amir Perkins.

17-year-old Zafir Amir Perkins was killed in an overnight shooting on August 9, 2023.

"My heart is broken because when I took onto this group, Brothers Loving Brothers, I never knew one of my family members would be a statistic," Perkins said. "My nephew, my great nephew, Amir Perkins, happened to be one of them."

Stephen Ames, a member of Brothers Loving Brothers, also knows what it's like to lose a loved on to violence.

"If you stay anywhere in the inner city, the core city, you'll know someone who has been touched by this," Ames said. "I had some nephews myself get killed out here."

Several cars stopped, took pictures and asked questions that even backed up traffic for a few minutes.

This is more than a music video. For victims and advocates, the lyrics tell their stories.

"I have cousins in the grave who didn't make it to see age 24," Morgan said.

If this group can get through to at least one person, that's enough.

"We as Black men should stand up but who's going to stand up for us? That's why I'm here today," Perkins said.