DETROIT (WXYZ) — Gun violence continues to impact the youth across Detroit. Detroit Police Department’s crime statistics show in 2021 a total of 77 individuals under the age of 18 were victims of gun violence, seven died.
While so far this year, a total of 38 young people have been shot, six have lost their lives.
The community came together recently to cherish the memories of 14-year-old Kaniyah Bryant.
"Growing up with her since elementary school, seeing her grow into the person she is, it was hard ... it still is," said Samya Walker, a friend of Kaniyah's.
Kaniyah died on July 10 due to a senseless act of gun violence, something Walker says, should've never happened.
"It's never just the, 'Maybe I need to put the gun down. Maybe I need to step away from the violence because it's killing my friends.' I just feel like it's never going to be fixed. I wish it could be ... it's not worth it, not worth a life at the end of the day," Samya said.
Sierra McClaughlin says she stays awake at night, wondering when the gun violence will end.
"Our next generation is dying out, so who we going to have? Who going to take care of us when we get old if we burying them all," Sierra questioned.
And that’s where organizations like Ceasefire Detroit step in. They working tirelessly trying to connect with the youth and help them to understand that guns are not the answer to a problem.
Quincy Smith from Ceasefire Detroit says the youth of today lacks the ability to de-escalate a situation.
"It's learned behavior, a lot is what they see in their community every day," said Quincy.
Quincy addresses the argument about needing guns to protect yourself.
"You have to think about the entire community and what your actions, what it means to other people. It’s a tough conversation and you know, people have the right to bear arms, but at the same time, it's too much violence going on and we've gotta take a different approach," he said.
Besides parents monitoring their kids, the team is also urging the community to start speaking up.
"You got to put on empathy and understand what it may feel like. If I lost my loved one, I would want someone to speak up because I would want justice so you can't just think about yourself," Quincy said.
In the end, the message is simple: guns down, gloves up.
If you or your loved one need help when it comes to gun violence, reach out to organizations like Ceasefire Detroit.