Hello and thank you to all who are present. My name’s Irving Quintero, the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force intern. I would like to begin by stating that 58% of the population in the US has experienced gun violence directly or indirectly. So there’s a huge chance that you and/or your loved ones have been affected by this pandemic. ISAAC continues its efforts on reducing gun violence by asking individuals like prosecutors and law enforcement to participate in training like T.R.I.P. (Trauma Reduced Informed Practices), to help them deepen communication with community members through interactions and reporting. In our path to healing together it has been hard to meet in person, but we’ve come together virtually to remember those who have been lost to nonsense gun violence through the Annual Gun violence Vigil. Moving forward we ask people to safely store their firearms, push for healing as a community, and continue to ask people in leadership positions to work with us in building community.
Good evening, my name is Ed Genesis. Trauma was not being discussed as it relates to gun violence. On October 30, 2020, we presented, It’s a T.R.I.P. which stands for: Trauma Reducing Informed Practices, the panelists were made up of community leaders and also Dr. Jess Clemons who is a board certified psychiatrist to discuss not only the trauma but ways we can start to identify and address the leading causes of gun violence and the trauma related to it.
On Friday, May 27 2022 at the Arcus Center for Social Justice, we presented part 2, It’s a T.R.A.P. which stands for, Trauma Reducing Applied Practices: Taking it from discussions & conversations to actionable steps & demonstrations.
This panel discussed the contributing factors to gun violence such as poverty, social determinants of health, homelessness, school to prison pipeline as well as hearing from directly impacted people in the community.
Another It’s a TRAP discussion which will be part 3 in the series, will be held in 2023. Stay tuned for this ongoing powerful conversation!
One of the panelists for the first conversation, It’s a T.RIP, was County Commissioner Tami Rey who not only serves as an Elected Official but is also directly impacted. She selflessly serves and continues to organize grassroots work around gun violence prevention, awareness, healing, wellness, direct community engagement/services, advocacy for community safety.
My name is Tami Rey and I serve as County Commissioner. In early 2021 members of the City and County commissions came together to discuss the severity of community gun violence and strategize ways to support those in the community working to mitigate the issue. That group consisted of Kalamazoo County Commissioners Tracy Hall and myself, Mayor David Anderson, Former Vice Mayor Patrese Griffin and Former city commissioner Eric Cunningam. Many ideas were lifted and implemented but most importantly the first ever County/ City partnership came out of these meetings.
In September of 2021 the City and County of Kalamazoo came together and passed a joint resolution drafted by Gwendolyn Hooker and myself declaring gun violence a public health crisis in Kalamazoo County and allocated $1 million each for prevention and intervention. Both entities acknowledged that the issue of gun violence is rooted in racial and health inequities and injustices experienced for generations by people of color. The resolution stated that the administration will establish working relationships with other local municipalities, community partners, and community members to establish an evidence-based public health response to address the underlying social, economic, and systemic factors that promote gun violence, which is currently being done. The community is working together to build out a long term strategy that will work specifically for our community. The remaining funds will help support those efforts. The leadership and advocacy of ISAAC has been a tremendous help in getting us this far. I am hopeful that we are on the path to safer communities together. Thank you.
Good evening, my name is Rick Omilian, member of the ISAAC Gun Violence Prevention Task Force since its inception in 2019. Each year since, we have reported on the increasing number of shootings and gun deaths in Kalamazoo. It persisted under Covid-19 lockdowns and has increased each year since then.
Data from the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety shows 90 people were shot in Kalamazoo in 2021, including 14 who died. The number of shootings in the city has rapidly risen over the last few years jumping from 29 in 2018, to 38 in 2019, to 87 in 2020 and 90 in 2021. So the work continues.
With the increasing annual levels of shootings in the Kalamazoo community and neighborhoods, the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force will work with the BLOCKS Club, the BE SMART team of Kalamazoo Moms Demand Action, ISAAC and partners to create a set of culturally competent gun safety/secure firearm storage workshops to make available to groups and organizations in Kalamazoo. The intent is to present information to gun owners and others in the community to help reduce gun violence and protect youth and others at risk from access to unsecured firearms.
Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Asks
Kalamazoo City Commissioners and Kalamazoo County Commissioners/ Candidates and Portage City Council,
Over this next year, to better understand how to factor racial equity into policy making, to advance racial equity in your work as an elected official and to help dismantle systemic racism, we would ask for your commitment to participate in the following:
Since our City and County have declared gun violence a public health crisis, do you commit to attend/view, and invite staff, to a Gun Violence Prevention workshop focused on addressing Gun Violence using a holistic, collaborative, public health approach, hosted by ISAAC and Community Partners?
Do you commit to attend/watch It’s a T.R.A.P. (Trauma Reducing Applied Practices) Part 3, which focuses on trauma, social determinants of health and community gun violence, and to debrief with our Gun Violence Prevention Task Force?
ISAAC Member Congregations/Organizations,
Do you commit to co-host and/or attend and to invite others to a culturally competent gun safety workshop for your congregation, organization or network?
Leaders, Officials and candidates who verbally responded
Listen to the verbal responses at [59:52] from all these officials and candidates:
Top row: Kalamazoo City Commissioner Stephanie Hoffman, State Representative Christine Morse, County Commission candidate Peter Strazdas
2nd row: State Representative Julie Rogers, State Rep. candidate Justin Mendoza, County Commission candidate John Taylor
3rd row: County Commissioner Jen Strebs, Judicial candidate Josh Hilgart, Portage City Council Member Vic Ledbetter
4th row: Kalamazoo City Commissioner Jeanne Hess, Judge candidate Becket Jones, HOPE Thru Navigation CEO/Founder, Gwendolyn Hooker
5th row: Kalamazoo City Commissioner Chris Praedel, Judicial candidate Ken Barnard, Judicial candidate Julie Jensen
Elected Officials and Leaders who committed via Chat/via emailed response: County Commissioner Candidate Abigail Wheeler (unable to attend but sent response), Judge Candidate, Julie Jensen; County Commissioner Candidate Stephanie Willoughby; Judge Candidate Lana M. Escamilla; and County Commissioner Monteze Morales.