By Madison Bickley, WIBW

Members of Topeka JUMP spoke out on Sunday regarding the increased crime in the capital city.

Pastor of Southern Hills Mennonite Church and Violence Reduction Committee member of Topeka JUMP, Gabriel Pennington, said every person has dignity in God’s eyes.

“I’m appalled and I pray for peace in Topeka. We need to remember that each person, each of the 30 homicide victims in Topeka this year has a name,” said Pennington. “They have family that love and care about them, and each one is horrific.”

Pennington said it is important that we remember every life lost and that starts with speaking out.

“Violence is an everyone problem. Violence does not belong in any side of Topeka, it’s everywhere in Topeka, and it needs to be addressed everywhere in Topeka. This is not a problem that happens on this side of town, not where I live, this is a problem for all of Topeka,” states Pennington. “We need to work together and that’s where we need to look to city leadership to provide that leadership and find a proven violence reduction program.”

Pennington said that community members can help by having peace in our homes and asking our city officials to provide leadership.

He asks the Topeka community to join in praying and working for peace.

“We are continuing to meet with city officials and try to find traction for someone that’s willing to champion a proven violence reduction strategy here in Topeka. We have been meeting with officials for the last five years and we’ll continue to do it. We’re not going to be quiet. We’re going to keep bringing this up and we’re going to keep fighting for a safer Topeka — for everyone.”

Topeka JUMP said the efforts have to come from the community as a whole — not just one organization.

View the original story here.