Detroit – A dozen members of Detroit’s delegation to the Michigan House of Representatives met with faith leaders during a community forum on gun violence on Detroit’s east side March 6.
The event, hosted by End Gun Violence Michigan and the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity, took place at Jordan Missionary Baptist Church.
“For 15 years, politicians have come to my church and said how horrible gun violence is and how things have to change,” said Pastor Barry Randolph of Church of the Messiah in Detroit.
“Then the same politicians would come back the next year and give the same speech,” Randolph added. “Nothing ever changes. I am so glad that now we have leaders like Speaker Tate who are now actually holding hearings and votes on laws that will save peoples lives.”
The discussion was framed by the testimony of Tawanna Rankin, whose daughter Jada was killed during a drive-by shooting at a birthday party. Rankin now runs “Justice for Jada,” a local charity that raises funds to support the funeral costs of other children who have been killed by guns.
Elected leaders who spoke at the forum include Speaker Tate, Speaker Pro Tempore Pohotsuky and Representatives Edwards, McKinney, Young, Aiyash, Price, and McFall. All pledged to advance bills for universal background checks, safe storage and extreme risk protection orders.
“We are tired of burying children,” said Rev. Richard White III, president of the Council of Baptist Pastors.
“In fact, guns have now become the number one cause of death for children,” White added. “We should not forget all the victims of school shootings that we are finally honoring with action in Lansing. I also do not want to forget the innocent victims of gun violence in Detroit that often go unremarked.”
“We will get this done,” promised Speaker Tate to thunderous applause.