Advocates hope to designate Flint Gun Violence Awareness Day on May 1

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FLINT (WJRT) (2/19/2020) - A group in Flint is pushing for action against gun violence at the city level.

Communities Against Gun Violence wants to work with the Mayor to bring about real change by declaring May 1st 'Flint's Gun Violence Awareness Day.'

Mayor Sheldon Neeley said he's in support of their efforts and plans to sign the proclamation.

The goal is not only to honor victims, but to also raise up their families.

"Getting the proclamation passed is just the start," co-organizer Ryan LoRee explained. "After the proclamation's passed, we can start about policy changes. We can start to talk about City Council resolutions, things that we can put in place that maybe protect people from having these kinds of things happen again."

LoRee is hopeful the proclamation will open up doors for positive, real change.

He said the goal is to bring the several groups already working to end violence in the communities together under one team.

That way, he explained, they'll have a louder voice, larger presence and ability to get the necessary funding.

The group plans to focus on police and community relations, mentorship programs and bringing the community together.

"Without something like this, nothing ever happens. It just kind of stays in the background, another person gets murdered tomorrow from gun violence and then another person and then that person before is forgotten about," LoRee added.

The new group was the idea of Joe Pettigrew, of Flint.

Joe's Dad was shot and killed in May 2018. And the shooter has not yet been caught.

"We see it so much and it's like normalized to us," Pettigrew said. "But in the back of my mind, you know, this is a life that we live, you know. And if we keep letting it happen, and don't do anything about it, I think it's going to continue to happen. I feel like we have to get to a place where we actually value life. And not just say it, but actually mean it."

To join in their efforts, click on the 'Related Links' section of this story.

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