By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
Saturday is a celebration for two groups hoping to put an end to the violence on Kansas City's streets.
"Celebrating our year of anti-violence efforts so far. We've had over 500 community people come out and participate with us, walking, telling neighbors about violence prevention and how it's everyone's responsibility," said Stacey Daniels-Young, the director COMBAT.
Young said the anti-drug, anti-violence group has been canvassing neighborhoods all over Jackson County this year urging people to step up and speak up. Saturday's picnic at Central Park was a thank you to everyone who has helped.
"Law enforcement can't do the job alone. We can't put an officer on every corner. Without citizen help, we can't solve as many crimes," said Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp.
Stacey Odum's son was murdered in 2011. His killer was never caught. She came to the COMBAT celebration hoping to start her grandkids on a path of non-violence.
"I know people know what happened. I'm here to try to make a difference. I have grandkids and a daughter and nephews. I want them to live to be a prosperous age and not see something happen to them or their kids," she said.
Daniels-Young said it's tragic to see violence like Friday night's double homicide at 55th Street and Wabash Avenue, an area that was canvassed about a week ago.
"Little baby walking around. The whole idea of why you would kill a kid, that's why we are out here. We know that by us being done with canvassing, it doesn't solve anything, we just have to get more and more people out to change the hearts of people who would do that sort of thing," she said.
Just a few blocks away at Ashland Park, the 24th Street Non-Violent Marchers gathered to stop violence in their neighborhood.
"The event started 10 years ago when my grandson died. Since then I've had another grandson murdered," said Joyce Riley, the president of East 23rd Street Neighborhood Association and founder of the 24th Street Non-Violent Marchers.
Riley said something as simple as knowing your neighbors can go a long way towards reducing crime.
"It brings the people together, the neighborhood together and we're doing much better," she said. "We're saving one child at a time."
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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