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KC Common Good rallies community members, organizations to fight gun violence

Community members at KC United
Posted at 6:20 PM, Mar 05, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Saturday night, police were called to North Kansas City High School for reports of a shooting.

Two people, including a juvenile, were shot and are expected to recover.

Earlier that afternoon, KC Common Good gathered community members to address gun violence for their "KC United" event.

They're hoping to make sure incidents like what happened at the high school on Saturday don't happen again.

Klassie Alcine, the CEO of KC Common Good's, said it takes more than police enforcement to reduce crime.

Klassie Alcine, CEO of KC Common Good

"I feel like so many folks are suffering in silence," Alcine said. "The folks closest to the problem are closest to the solution."

It's all part of the group's KC 360 plan to combat violence.

It focuses on reducing gun violence, creating trust among community members and police, and fighting for responsible justice reforms.

KC 360 is based on the Enforcement Network's Omaha 360 initiative.

In 14 years, Omaha has seen a 74% reduction in shootings, with homicide rates dropping to the lowest it's been in 30 years.

"When people think about violence reduction, they think, 'Well, if we do a lot of enforcement, crime will go down,' or 'If we do a lot of intervention crime will go down,'" Alcine said.

But in reality, she said the plan goes deeper.

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There's a focus on mental health, something Pastor Clayborn Jones at Swope Health is invested in.

"People, their minds are messed up, and we have to reach them," Jones said. "It’s just a numbing situation and I feel it’s touched us because these are people who come for help and they leave out helpless."

Pastor Clayborn Jones, Supervisor of Group Homes at Swope Health

Then there's lived experience, something Ossco Bolton III can speak to.

He praises those who gave him his second chance. What ultimately pulled him out of violence was learning that someone does care.

"They want to see you continue to be with them, even when they mess up," Bolton said. "We just have to get more guys with my background, my experience, and then where we are today, at the tables to do the work."

Ossco Bolton can speak to his lived experience in violent groups

The group believes this multi-layered approach will create action, with everyone playing their part.

"How do we stop that story? Cause I love Kansas City," Alcine said. "That’s not our story, that will not be our story, we will not let violence win."