Twelve Kansas City area religious leaders gathered Tuesday to urge residents to unite in prayer against violence this weekend.
“One more baby was shot last night,” said the Rev. Tamara Miller during a news conference at Linwood United Church, where she is pastor. “The violence must stop.”
Miller was referring to a shooting Monday night in the 3900 block of Bellefontaine Avenue that left a 21-year-old man wounded and a 10-month-old girl in critical condition.
Some prayers, her colleagues added, will be offered in memory of another child, 3-year-old Damiah White, whom authorities found shot and killed with her mother, Myeisha Turner, in August.
The religious leaders urged Kansas City area residents to participate in the prayer starting Friday and continuing through Sunday. They also encouraged other area religious leaders, as part of a Pink Weekend for Justice, to engage congregation members in dialogue about community violence during weekend worship or fellowship services.
The religious leaders gathered Tuesday under the auspices of MORE2, the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity. The local interfaith social justice organization is affiliated with the Kansas City No Violence Alliance, or KC NoVa, a coalition that includes the Kansas City Police Department, Jackson County and federal prosecutors, and other law enforcement agencies.
The leaders also will pray, they added, for justice.
The Rev. Bob Hill, senior minister of Community Christian Church, said two members of his congregation had lost family members to violence.
“To this date, justice has not been brought to them,” he said.
All 12 religious leaders ended the 15-minute news conference by signing a certificate pledging their support for the weekend of prayer.
Rabbi Doug Alpert of Congregation Kol Ami added that his congregation members have been offering such prayers for weeks.
“I pray for the day when this will no longer be necessary,” he said.