After violent week in St. Louis, advocates rally against gun violence, join national movement
St. Louis area politicians and organizations rallied against gun violence this weekend, joining a national movement, amid a run of gun-related deaths in the area. At least seven people have been shot and killed in the city of St. Louis since Thursday.
Activists with Moms Demand Action Against Gun Violence wore orange and held a rally Saturday in Tower Grove Park. Several dozen people attended the event to mark Friday's National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
“Today is not about taking a political action. Today is just awareness. Letting people know we’re tired of seeing this violence day after day and that there’s more that we can do,” said Becky Morgan, the leader of the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action.
The youth arts program St. Louis Story Stitchers performed at the event, kicked off with a rap by the non-profit’s music director, Jamie “KP” Dennis. He told the story of a teenager getting caught up with bad influences.
“That tends to be a typical situation in the urban communities, where the O.G.s and the dope dealers and the big homies on the block have more access to your kids at a regular basis while we’re out working trying to provide for these kids,” said Dennis.
He added that everyone needs to take action to reduce violence.
“If you just sit by and do nothing, then you’re just as guilty as those guys that are out there shooting because the no snitching is due to us not feeling safe or trusting law enforcement enough to be protected and remain anonymous,” said Dennis.
Dennis said adults from throughout the region can also help by getting involved with young people in positive ways.
Both St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and State Senator Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis) attended the rally. They said Missouri needs laws that get guns off the streets.
Krewson made a similar call for more gun laws the day prior, saying the city itself is "not able to turn that around." But she said a property or sales tax increase could help fund raises for officers to keep them from leaving the city for higher paying jobs in St. Louis County.
Follow Camille on Twitter: @cmpcamille