MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Local leaders are calling for a city-wide 30-day non-violence challenge for the start of the New Year.
“We are a community in crisis,” Tennessee State Rep. G.A. Hardaway said.
On the final day of 2020, Hardaway along with city leaders and activists made a plea to put the guns down as we head into 2021.
“We can’t change this thing in the white house, we can’t change this thing in the capital building, we can’t change this thing on these computers. We got to face this thing head-on,” Keith Leechman, Director of the organization, Stop the Killing and Cut the Beef, said.
Leechman is asking people to participate in a 30-day challenge of non-violence in Orange Mound and surrounding communities.
“It’s time for a change. Would you accept the challenge?” Leechman said during the press conference Thursday.
Representatives of the Memphis Police Department were there in support of this challenge.
In 2020, there were 332 homicides compared to 228 in 2016 as well as 83 interstate shootings this year.
School Board Member Stephanie Love says change starts at home.
“Yes, education is an issue, but it’s not the first issue. We have so many parents who cannot provide for their children,” Love said.
Memphis Rapper MJG was there and is also hoping for change in the new year.
“If just my presence and me being me...if you look like me, if you come from where I come from, if you like my music...if that’s enough to make you be a part of this to understand bring peace to the city and be done with it.”
Stevie Moore, Founder of Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives (F.F.U.N.) also making a plea by asking people not to participate in celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Eve.
“When you shoot that gun, that bullet goes up but that bullet got to come down and you don’t know where it’s going to come. Some innocent child might be in the street shooting at the fireworks and get hit by that bullet,” Moore said.