Groups lobby for statewide ceasefire initiative - WNEM TV 5

Groups lobby for statewide ceasefire initiative

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

Communities across Michigan are teaming up to ask government leaders to implement a statewide ceasefire program, to cut violence in some of the state's most dangerous cities.

"Here in Michigan we have four of the nation's top 10 most violent cities to live in," says pastor Ira Edwards, who is also the co-chair of Flint Area Congregations Together.

Several community groups, faith-based organizations, police officers and city leaders joined together today for a rally at Catholic Charities Center for Hope in Flint.

The keynote speaker was David Kennedy, who designed a program called Operation Ceasefire. He discussed how the program has helped reduce violence in several major cities including Boston and Chicago.

"To stop gang violence you need a working partnership between social service providers and law enforcement," said Kennedy.

Kennedy says statewide ceasefire programs are possible to implement because other states are already doing so.

"It's the coming thing. In California, Ohio, North Carolina and Connecticut the states have done their homework and said they are behind it and support it," said Kennedy.

The event was part of a statewide bus tour that made its last stop this afternoon in Lansing.

Edwards said the group is asking Gov. Rick Snyder to help fund a statewide ceasefire initiative.

"We've had good conversations with the governor before but now we want to go further. If you can save one life, it's worth it," said Edwards.

Pastor Larry Camel from Parishioners on Patrol in Saginaw agrees. He says a statewide ceasefire program is what's best for Michigan's most violent cities.

"We need this program to be statewide so we can address the violence in all of our cities at once," said Camel.

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