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OKLAHOMA CITY– Local community leaders will host a training and strategy session with national gun violence experts and local leaders to organize the “2022 Summer of Peace” – an effort to curb gun violence, deaths, and incarceration of youth during the summer months in Oklahoma City.
The event will be held on Saturday, May 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the OKC First Church of the Nazarene (4400 Northwest Expy, OKC 73116) Pastor Jon Middendorf, a host for the event, says this community event is important because “the city faces an amplified problem of violence every summer and we have an opportunity to come together to find solutions and build peace,” according to a press release shared with The Black Wall Street Times.
Ward-7 Councilwoman Nikki Nice, Oklahoma City’s only Black woman city councilor, and local artist-activist Jabee Williams are key organizers of the OKC Peace Summit.
They say they’re eager to work toward plans for a Summer of Peace with gun-violence expert Pastor Mike McBride and others.
“Our communities within OKC are vulnerable to gun violence, and I’m committed to working with national and local leaders to save lives and promote peace over the summer. Our youth deserve it now more than ever,” Councilwoman Nikki Nice said.
Gun violence remains high in Oklahoma
As the nation continues to experience a spike in gun violence nationwide following pandemic lockdowns, Oklahoma remains high for gun deaths among U.S. states, according to a study by Everytown for Gun Safety published in 2020.
“Oklahoma has consistently ranked as a state with some of the highest rates of gun death in the country, highlighting a necessity for more control and better education of gun owners to prevent their firearms from being used for nefarious purposes,” a report from Everystat.org stated.
Gun violence costs Oklahoma $4.5 billion each year, according to the report.
Adding to the issue, Oklahoma has extremely lax gun laws that don’t require training or licenses. The state’s Stand Your Ground law adds to the issue, with some killings going unpunished based on the whim of a local district attorney or prosecutor.
OKC Peace Summit hopes to turn the tide on gun violence, youth arrests
Pastor Mike is the executive director of LIVEFREE USA – a national faith-rooted organization that “organizes communities directly impacted by gun violence and mass incarceration to build the necessary power and influence at the local, state, and federal levels” to support the implementation of strong solutions in communities.
Faith leaders, law enforcement personnel, system-impacted individuals and community leaders will be in attendance to learn, give input, and strategize plans for the 2022 Summer of Peace.
Organizers stress the importance of everyone from across sectors to participate on May 21st.
“Everybody is invited to attend the Peace Summit. It’s an important conversation to have before Juneteenth activities and before youth are out of school for the summer. We want to find ways to keep everyone safe and to keep incarceration rates down,” the release stated.
The OKC Peace Summit is free and open to the public. Click here to register. Free lunch is provided by Eastside Pizza House. All are welcome to attend.