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Groups switching gears to stop violence and keep peace in Buffalo during COVID-19

Posted at 6:29 PM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 18:29:52-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Since June 1, shootings in Buffalo are up 85%. Local groups attribute this to the pandemic and are changing strategies to stop the disturbing trend.

"This is out of control, everything is out of control here. There is no excuse to go kill someone. It's rampant, it's going way too far with the murders in our city," said Bishop Perry Davis of Buffalo.

He runs the Stop the Violence Foundation, but during the pandemic, it's been harder to do outreach in the community. So he's switching gears.

"We're working on a virtual workshop. We're working on some things that can actually bring in some actual finances for our youth and some job skills," said Bishop Davis.

He's looking for volunteers to help facilitate this effort. Meantime, the Buffalo Peacemakers are making adjustments as well.

"We're going out to the West Side. We're going to have a meeting today with our staff and we're gonna have a plan together to walk through the west side and talk to people," said leader Murray Holman.

Holman says Buffalo's West Side has been a hot spot for violence, so Peacemakers will be focusing their efforts in that neighborhood.

"It's again been hard with the virus. We can do things and just keep a safe distance apart and be more present in the neighborhood and maybe that will help," said Elaine Grisanti, a member of the West Side Chapter of the Peacemakers.

They're also registering people to vote every Wednesday, so far they've registered 800 people. There are three more events at the following locations:

  • Delavan & Grider, August 12, 5:30pm
  • Main & Winspear, August 19, 5:30pm
  • Ontario & Tonawanda Harmac, August 26, 5:30pm

Both groups want the community to know they're here to help.

"It's a heartache, but I know we'll get through this if we all stick together, we all come together, I know we can get through this and we can come out better," said Grisanti.

You can reach Bishop Davis at 716-715-1375. You can reach the Buffalo Peacemakers at 716-912-7188.