MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - More than a dozen organizations involved in health care, social services and criminal justice are asking the community for help.
The 16 organizations hope to stop the rising Memphis crime rate, and they plan to start that mission, with a unity walk.
“Let’s get out in the streets y’all, let’s change this,” said Stevie Moore, founder of F.F.U.N.
City and county leaders along with anti-violence advocates are asking the community to join them in a “Unity Walk Against Gun Violence” Saturday, November 14.
“The unity walk against violence is our opportunity to come together, demonstrate our commitment to work together towards something better for all of our children,” said Dr. Alisa Haushalter, Shelby County Health Department Director.
District Attorney General Amy Weirich called the rise in gun violence a public health crisis.
“Never has gun violence taken such a toll on our citizens, and never have so many concerned leaders from so many different organizations felt compelled to do something more than just talk,” said Weirich.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said compared to last year the murder rate is up almost 63%, aggravated assaults are up 27%, the number of incidents involving guns are up 19%, and overall 65% of all incidents involve guns.
“There are people out there right now who know who committed these terrible acts,” said Strickland.
The group knows there’s no easy solution to this problem, but they hope the walk is a step in the right direction.
“It really gets back to what are you going to do when you leave that walk? What are you going to do back in your neighborhood to spread the message of non-violence?” said Weirich.
Haushalter said the county is in its early stages of working with Cure Violence, a national anti-violence organization, and we can begin to hear more about that next year.