The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is joining more than a dozen other community partners to sponsor a walk to take a stand against gun violence. The Unity Walk Against Gun Violence is set for Saturday, November 14.
The purpose of the walk is to bring awareness to the alarming rate of crime, especially gun crimes, in the Memphis community. This year, 29 children have been victims of gun violence.
“It’s a sad day in our community when the homicide total in just nine months surpasses the record total for 2016,” Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said at a press Monday at the Crime Victims & Rape Crisis Center to raise public awareness for the walk. “How do we respond as a city? How do we put our words into action? We say enough. We respond with peer pressure. We respond by picking up the phone and calling CrimeStoppers and reporting what know.”
The community is invited to participate in the two-mile walk. Registration for the walk is not required. Participants should assemble at 9:30 a.m. at the West Tennessee Regional Forensic Center parking lot at 637 Poplar Avenue. The walk will begin at 10 a.m. and end in the parking lots of the Shelby County Juvenile Court and the West Tennessee Regional Forensic Center on Poplar Avenue and N. Orleans Street. Masks and social distancing are required.
Stevie Moore, Sr., founder and president of Freedom from Unnecessary Negatives, who is also a sponsor of the event, knows the effects that gun violence can have. His son, Prentice, was killed in 2003. “We want the community to get involved to save our children from senseless killings and help reduce crime,” he said. “It’s beyond this event. We must always be a voice on behalf of the deceased and their families who will forever be impacted by their loss.”
Other event sponsors include the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office; the Shelby County Health Department; Safeways, Inc.; Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital; the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County; the Shelby County Crime Victims & Rape Crisis Center; CrimeStoppers of Memphis and Shelby County; Alliance Healthcare Services; Lifeline to Success; the APW Agency; Moms Demand Action; and the Soulsville Neighborhood Development District.
If it rains, the walk will take place Saturday, November 21.
In April 2019, the UTHSC was among sponsors of the inaugural Responses to Community Violence Summit, a forum that discussed solutions to violence in all forms in the community.