Statements on gun violence in Kalamazoo from mayor and vice mayor

At the Aug. 3 meeting of the Kalamazoo City Commission, gun violence was on everyone's mind. Much of the meeting was devoted to what could be done and the urgency with which it needs to be undertaken. The discussion began early in the meeting with a prepared statement by Mayor David Anderson and extemporaneous remarks from Vice Mayor Patrese Griffin. 

Mayor David Anderson

We have a gun violence crisis in Kalamazoo. And, although cities across Michigan and the nation are having similar experiences, we cannot accept this in our community.

Mayor David AndersonEvery resident has a right to expect that, no matter what neighborhood they call home, it will be a safe place for them and their families.

The tragic, senseless, and horrific deaths and shootings are devastating events for the entire community. 

It is a profound loss for children, for mothers, for family, for friends, for neighborhoods, and for our City. All of us experience the riptide of this trauma.  Everyone suffers. No one is unscathed. 

We must first hold a place in our hearts for the families for whom these events are front and center, forever and unalterably life-changing. 

And next, we must contemplate what daily path to tread so that the idea of serious violence in our shared community is an inconceivable notion. 

Our response will require us all to determine how we can be a part of the solution. What affects one of us, affects all of us. 

Ultimately what is the antidote for risk, or despair, or hopelessness or fear?

 It can only be hope, belief and trust. 

To hope, there must be opportunity. 

To believe, there must be values. 

And to trust, there must be honesty, decency, and integrity. 

We have a profound responsibility to help create a world of hope, belief, and trust. It is up to us. 

My heartfelt condolences go out to the families and friends of those who have come to harm. 

The gun recklessness and violence must stop. We must all do better together. 

Vice Mayor Patrese Griffin

Kalamazoo my heart is very, very heavy right now. Right before this meeting started I thought I heard gunshots in the back of me and I did, while we were on this meeting right now there were shots going off in the back of me.

Vice Mayor Patrese GriffinMy daughter had to run home from LaCrone Park when the gunshots were fired (July 31). I was on Park Street (with my husband) when those other shots went off (on July 29).

I live North.

A young man was shot yesterday.

We live in a crisis situation that has absolutely a ton of contributing factors to it.

My heart goes out to every last person who has suffered as a result of this gun violence.

Parents are having to bury their children.

People are not feeling safe inside their homes. Children can’t even play outside.

There have been many warnings, many asks, many outcries and I hope that now (there has been) enough, enough death, enough gunfire, enough bloodshed for us to do something collectively about it. 

Read more articles by Kathy Jennings.

Kathy Jennings is the managing editor of Southwest Michigan's Second Wave. She is a freelance writer and editor.
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