March against violence planned as Memphis faces record year for homicides

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — At least half a dozen agencies will gather this weekend for an anti-gun violence walk in response to record violence in Memphis this year.

The two-mile walk starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Shelby County Juvenile Court. Everyone is welcome to attend and organizer Stevie Moore is also asking for families who’ve lost loved ones to walk with pictures of them to really bring the message home.

“We have to go into the community and find out the source,” said Moore, founder of community group Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives. “We don’t know their story. All we do is see them shooting but we never ask why.”

The march is scheduled in a year when Memphis broke its own homicide record just nine months into the year. 

“No one should have to get a call saying your child has been gunned down,” said Erika Kelly with Moms Demand Action.

Memphis breaks 2016 record with 230 homicides

Local leaders say if we are going to effectively address what they’re calling a public health crisis, this walk has to lead to change in our community.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken and disrupted lives in a way we never could have imagined,” District Attorney General Amy Weirich said. “But think of the hundreds of families in Memphis and Shelby County who have lost a loved one this year to another kind of virus — gun violence.”

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland reports the murder rate is up 63% compared to last year while Crime Stoppers tips are down 10%.

That’s where this weekend’s walk comes in, spreading the message that enough is enough.

Sixteen groups are coming together in unity to speak against the growing violence, but they say it can’t stop there.

“By staying silent you contribute to this growing violence. You let the violence grow and continue,” Weirich said.

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