Community members gather for Unity Walk, gun buyback events

Published: Nov. 13, 2021 at 4:14 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Community members gathered for a couple of events Saturday aimed at stopping gun violence in Memphis.

As Memphians head into the holiday season, violent crime numbers appear to be headed in the wrong direction.

Homicides, for instance, are on track to tie or even break last year’s record.

Statistics show guns are by far the weapon of choice in most homicides.

“We should be marching every week. We should have signs up every week. Save our children. Enough is enough,” said Stevie Moore, co-founder of Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives.

While it might seem like a losing battle, community members who gathered on Saturday at Raleigh Egypt High School for the sixth Unity Walk Against Gun Violence say they’re not giving up.

For many like Erika Kelly, it’s personal. She lost her son to gun violence.

“This is a movement for our voices to be heard, for us to stand up and say enough is enough,” said Kelly.

Across town at Hickory Ridge Mall, MPD hosted its annual “Groceries or Gas for Guns” event.

“We’re seeing people who have had weapons that they couldn’t figure out how to, you know, release themselves of them. This is an opportunity to do it without any questions asked,” said Memphis Police Chief C.J. Davis.

Along with the Unity Walk, it represents what Chief Davis calls a “myriad” approach to make the streets of Memphis safer.

Davis says several initiatives are underway, and while it might take time to do some things, like hiring 300 police officers, other changes are being implemented more quickly like reallocating manpower to focus on priorities.

“With some of the initiatives that we’re implementing in the police department, we believe that we’ll start seeing some change, but it’s going to take all of us and our community,” said Davis.

Community members say it will take everyone working together and doing their part one step at a time.

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