Group calls for residents to stop the violence

Posted at 11:00 AM, Dec 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-11 12:00:30-05

After a violent week, community leaders gathered Thursday to call for action from the entire city of Omaha.

Leaders with Omaha 360 demanded people band together to stop the violence and made promises to put the bad guys away.

The group wants your help as the city's murder rate climbs to its highest level in 20 years.

“It's time to stop burying our children. It's time to stop innocent babies from dying. It's time to stop keeping the secrets and come forth,” said Barbara Robinson.

There have been four murders in one week, so far, with multiple other shootings, too.  These community advocates cannot stand by and watch.

“My message to you, put [the guns] down. Because at the end of the day, the ones you're hurting are the ones that love you: your mother, sister, brother, uncle, your cousin. Anyone that loves you, that's who you are hurting,” said Buffy Bush, with Families of the Stolen.

So, they are taking action as former gang members stood next to families who have lost loved ones to guns, civic leaders said they wouldn’t back down.

“We are going to continue to move forward in spite of the foolishness. It's that simple,” said Gray.

Community builders vowed to help get everyone safe and make the community whole again.

“If you're involved in your church, there's a way for you to participate. If you're in a neighborhood association, if you see something, there's someone you can contact. If you're a business there's something you can do to provide employment opportunities,” said Willie Barney.

At an emergency Omaha 360 action session Thursday evening, they discussed plans of action like jobs, highlighting re-entry initiatives and encouraging faith leaders to step up, too.

The goal is to rebuild and restore the problems from all sides and end the violence for good.

“Take that extra minute. Take that extra --if just an hour, take that moment to unwind your mind and think about what's going to happen afterwards, because nobody wins,” said Bush.

They say one of the biggest issues is still jobs. Events like an expanded summer work program mean more than 300 jobs available, but that's not enough. Community leaders say, when given the opportunity, people will choose a job over violence.