Toledo organization honors those lost to gun violence

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 11:24 AM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Coalition for Peaceful Toledo Neighborhoods hosted a memorial service and reception Wednesday at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral for families of gun violence victims. Families shared their stories and grief at the event while discussing solutions.

“Practically everybody here tonight has lost a loved one who has been shot dead because of gun violence. We’re offering to help, but also that we see them and hear them,” says Dr. Stephen Swisher, one of the Coalition’s founders.

Families in attendance say they feel that it was a bonding experience.

Claudia Kemp’s son, Travis Glenn, was killed in October when bullets rang through the walls of his house as he was playing with his children. It’s a tragedy they are still working to recover from emotionally.

“It’s a wonderful feeling seeing other mothers come together, trying to uplift instead of put down. To show that there is support out here for us,” says Kemp.

Lashawnda Kinnebrew lost her son, Christopher Kinnebrew, in a shooting in July of 2021.

“It gives me a sense of comfort that they are doing this. I don’t feel like my son’s murder is going to fall dormant. I don’t get that much from the detective, but with this group and how they’re doing and treating us I feel that it’s not just a dinner, it’s more than talk and something’s gonna happen from this,” says Kinnebrew.

Dr. Swisher says it’s time for action and they are working with city officials to make a change.

“Our numbers are higher than that of Chicago, we’re up there near New York City, which is completely unacceptable. The good news is that at the next City Council meeting they’re voting on a proposal that we brought forward which is calling this a public health emergency,” says Swisher.

The Coalition for Peaceful Toledo Neighborhoods is holding a meeting to discuss it’s findings on February 2nd at Epworth United Methodist Church.

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