Ahead of a gala to celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson announced a proclamation inspired by the civil rights leaders who dedicated his life to the practice of nonviolence.
Johnson suggested 2020 could be a “Year of Nonviolence” if the community bands together to support city leaders and law enforcement in eradicating crime.
“We need people to hear this message from the pulpit. They need to hear it at our schools. We need them to hear it at home from all of you. We need to hear from our city leaders that enough is enough,” Johnson said.
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The announcement came just hours after 1-year-old Rory Norman was laid to rest after he was struck by stray gunfire while sleeping in his South Dallas home.
Shortly after, police confirmed 18-year-old Marc Strickland had succumbed to his injuries a week after a shooting at a high school basketball game.
Their deaths are two of nearly a dozen murders just 18 days into 2020.
In 2019, the city experienced one of its deadliest years on record with 209 people murdered, many of whom were people of color.
Johnson pointed to several initiatives enacted during his seven months in office to curb the crime, including an increased police budget, a special task force and a new plan by police.
Still, as parents like Shamekia White wait for the arrests of their children’s murderers, some question whether enough is being done.
“This was said at the end of last year. And since the beginning of this year, there’s already been 10 murders. So now, it’s not about speaking about it anymore. It’s about putting those things into action or into motion,” White said.
The mayor said that simply takes time.
“One month or one week doesn’t tell the whole story. We don’t know where this year’s going to go," Johnson said. "But I wouldn’t be up here, and these community leaders wouldn’t be here behind me, if we didn’t think we could turn these numbers around."
So far in January, the number of murders, aggravated assaults and robberies are all up over this time last year.