'We shouldn't stand for it': Community advocates react to violent week in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — At first glance, 107th and Greenwood Road is a quiet intersection in the Ruskin Heights neighborhood.

When a woman was found dead there early Sunday morning, it became one of five crime scenes the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department investigated overnight. 

"I walk by 107th and Greenwood a lot, so it really hits home," said John Sharp, a former Kansas City councilman and longtime community leader. 

The issue of violence is personal for Sharp. His stepdaughter was a homicide victim in 2000. 

"We shouldn't stand for it," Sharp said. "I mean, there should be outrage throughout the city when we have a murder rate this high, and there should have been outrage for years now, quite frankly,"

Sharp's outrage was shared by people who gathered Saturday to remember Deandrea Vine, a 27-year-old mother who was fatally stabbed July 28 in southeast Kansas City.

Monica Roberts was one of the organizers of the vigil.

"There are so many loved ones behind these numbers and behind the stories," she said.

Roberts is the founder and executive director of Healing Pathway, an agency that supports kids who have lost a parent to homicide.

Through the group, licensed therapists offer mental health services to the children, including lessons on conflict resolution and communication.

"If we can reach them now, if we can support them and love on them and show them the world is bigger than just what's in front of them, that gives me hope every day," Roberts said. 

Sharp agreed education is key, but said money is important as well. He was thrilled to see the maximum reward upped to $10,000 for information provided to the Crime Stoppers TIPS hotline.

However, he hopes it will one day be increased to $25,000, the current figure in Omaha.

Sharp also realizes that money alone won't solve the escalating violence.

"It will take more than just higher rewards," he said. "It's going to take more cooperation with police, and it's going to really take more people getting involved to change this culture of violence."

Healing Pathway works in cooperation with several other community organizations. For more information or to get involved, click one of the links below:

Healing Pathway

Corey's Network

Momma on a Mission

Giving Hope and Health

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