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Gun violence symposium coincides with deadly week for Kansas City children

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Posted at 6:08 PM, Apr 19, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been a violent week for young children in Kansas City, Missouri.

Friends, family and activists on Monday gathered to remember Kourtney Freeman.

The 11-year-old, sixth-grade student at Ewing Marion Kauffman School died April 10 after she was shot when someone opened fire outside her home.

A five-year-old boy died Tuesday after accidentally shooting himself in the face with a gun in his home.

KSHB 41’s JuYeon Kim sat down with Grandparents Against Gun Violence the next day.

Less than 24 hours later, a 6-year-old boy was shot in his own neighborhood at East 33rd Street and Bales Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri.

“We so divided, it’s not just a divided city, it’s a divided community,” said Pat Clarke, a community advocate KSHB 41’s Alyssa Jackson spoke with Thursday in the neighborhood where the boy was shot.

That division Clarke spoke of is what inspired Mayor Pro Tem Ryana Parks-Shaw to host the city’s first public safety symposium aimed at preventing and reducing gun violence.

“The thought was if we combine our resources, we work together collaboratively, and come up with one comprehensive plan, that we can grow and build our success,” Parks-Shaw said.

Unfortunately, the timing for the symposium was fitting.

“We did a press event about the children's memorial that we are starting at Hibbs Park, which is actually in my district," Parks-Shaw said. "And I tell you what, the goal was not to add a bunch more names to it, but unfortunately, on the heels of such a bad week, I think it makes this event that much more important to make sure that we're really working, and as I said, about action."

Local violence prevention groups were invited, as well as state and federal experts.

Friday’s event was considered Part Two.

Part One of the discussion took place in March.

Parks-Shaw said the purpose of Friday’s event was to publicize the action plan summary, which outlines what groups would work together, and groups taking pledges to hold true to their commitments.

We asked about how the city plans to measure its progress.

“When we go into our breakout sessions this afternoon, that’s part of what we’ll be asking is 'How do we know we are successful, what are the things that we need to make up our metric, our dashboard,'" Parks-Shaw said.

The dashboard, she added, will be available online and will be a way for groups to track their progress, as well as members of the public who would like to participate.

“I want the public to hold themselves accountable and join in and play their part because there is a role that we all can play in this,” Parks-Shaw said.

Here is a copy of the action plan summary:

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Action Plan Summary Page 1.
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Action Plan Summary Page 2.