Meeting held in Saginaw on President Obama's 'Gun Violence Day o - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Meeting held in Saginaw on President Obama's 'Gun Violence Day of Action'

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SAGINAW (WJRT) -

(02/22/13) - It's no secret Saginaw is facing challenges when it comes to public safety.

Violence is up, the number of officers patrolling is down, and the city has a big budget hole to fill.

"I said, 'We've got to do something,'" said Dr. Stephanie Baiyasi-Kozicki, community organizer.

That's where a meeting at First Congregational Church comes in - on President Obama's 'Gun Violence Day of Action'.

"What has not worked in the past, is everybody's talking about what they're going to do. But this group is going for the grassroots up," said Grady Holmes, of the Ezekiel Project.

They plan to turn talk into action, and they hope others join them.

"That's what we need to do is have people step up and say we're not going to tolerate crime any longer," said Lisa Hall, of Underground Railroad.

At Underground Railroad, people - mostly women - turn for help after suffering domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

Hall believes much like the people her organization helps, community members have been victimized and are fearful.

"We want to get back to a neighborhood-type of community where, you know, people are talking with one another," she said.

The basics of their plan: get the right people and the right resources working together.

"We've got to consider this an epidemic here, and an emergency. And with an epidemic, how do you treat that? You put all available medical forces to do that and that's what we have to do in this community," Holmes said.

Another way this group hopes to treat the so-called 'epidemic' - ask the governor for help.

"We're hoping that he'll send 25 troopers to increase the force because we need to do a massive effort to stop the epidemic," Dr. Baiyasi-Kozicki said.

The group says it has a 'big' announcement to make on March 6. It will happen at the Saginaw County 'Courts and Public Safety' committee meeting.

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