Community members gather to discuss ways to eliminate gun violence in Topeka

June 7, 2019. KSNT

People in the Topeka community are taking a stand against gun violence. 

One of them is Angela Lee, whose 18-year-old son Justice Mitchell was shot and killed in 2017.

The annual basketball tournament to honor his memory was held Friday at Hillcrest Community Center.

Lee said seeing how much her son was loved by those who knew him makes it difficult to know he’s not here to see it.

Dozens of churches come together for ‘Action Assembly’ on issues facing Lexington

May 7, 2019. WKYT.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – More than 2,000 people met in downtown Lexington as part of B.U.I.L.D.’S 2019 ‘Nehemiah Action Assembly’. B.U.I.L.D. stands for ‘Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct action’. The group is made up of 26 different congregations.

A goal of their annual meeting is to urge leaders to take action on several issues they say they are seeing in their community.

The topics discussed include drug addiction, the rates of students suspended in Fayette County Public Schools, and violent crimes.

Police chief plans to pursue carrot-and-stick strategy to take aim at violence

May 4, 2019. The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Chicago police warned gang member Daniel Alcantara in the summer of 2015 that he was at high risk of killing someone or being killed, and offered him help leaving the gang life, according to the Chicago Tribune.

But Alcantara declined, and was fatally shot during a gang war in June 2016, that newspaper reported the following month.

The warning given to Alcantara was part of Chicago’s use of a “group violence reduction strategy” of the type pioneered by the National Network For Safe Communities, a carrot-and-stick approach that Topeka police Chief Bill Cochran intends to pursue in this community.

Topeka JUMP gathering draws more than 1,200 people

April 29, 2019. Topeka Capital-Journal

Religious fervor filled the Rev. Christine Potter’s voice Monday evening as she addressed more than 1,200 people from 23 Topeka-area congregations who packed into Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church.

“Oh people of God — this beautiful, diverse body of God — we are called together to work our justice muscles in unity,” said Potter, associate pastor of Countryside United Methodist Church. “We are called to jump with our voices, with our hands, with our feet and our legs, our entire bodies. Topeka JUMP — jump for justice!”

Does Lexington have a gang problem? New study plans to find out.

November 13, 2018. Lexington Herald Leader.

The city of Lexington took its first step Tuesday toward hiring a group from New York to analyze crime data for the past five years to determine if Lexington has a problem with crimes committed by groups and gangs.

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council voting unanimously during a Tuesday work session to approve a $35,000 contract with John Jay College for Criminal Justice’s National Network for Safe Communities. A final vote is expected in December.

An interfaith coalition of leaders has pressed Mayor Jim Gray, police and other city leaders for four years to implement the National Network for Safe Communities model, which uses direct intervention methods in neighborhoods to address group crime activity.