GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - In a community wearied by nine homicides since Dec. 14, 2012 -- four of which remain unsolved -- Thursday's meeting at Gerald R. Ford Middle School focused on unity.
It was the latest in a series of community meetings organized by Stop It! that are focused on decreasing violence in Grand Rapids. Attendees pledged to stand up against violence and stop it.
"That's really the message in a nutshell: Accountability and coming together as a community," said event organizer Willie Patterson.
In small groups, attendees talked openly and worked to solve the problems that contribute to violence.
"We try to work with our young people to keep them from going into prison,' said Ross Hayes of CLEAR.
Hayes came to listen so he can speak on the streets.
"I've done 35 years in prison, so I believe I can talk to these young kids and give them that experience that I had," he said. "Relate to these young kids' feelings and emotions."
This is still work to be done, everyone agrees, as the group continues to try to tackle the incredible challenge of stemming violence.
There are more meetings scheduled in the coming weeks:
- February 21 at 5:30pm: Clergy. 618 Jefferson SE
- February 25-28: Several evening meetings regarding systems, mental health. Urban League 745 Eastern SE
Stop It! on Facebook
In front of a festive downtown crowd at Rosa Parks Circle.
Two people were taken to the hospital after one vehicle crossed the center line, causing a head-on crash in Ada Township Friday night.
Mirror parts found at the scene indicate it may be a 2005 Chevrolet Uplander.