Last Thursday’s launching of the Most Valuable Parents (MVP)-led anti-gun violence campaign was marked by  the unveiling  of city-wide billboards . That was just the beginning of an   unprecedented,  unified effort to stop illegal guns from flooding our inner city communities.

The Buffalo inititive  has far reaching, national implications, given that the  gun violence problem has reached epidemic proportions in  inner cities across the nation.  Bro. Neal Dobbins founder and president of MVP, gave a riveting introduction  to the movement and  outlined the framework of the organization’s  “2020 Anti-Gun Violence Action Plan marked by  the unification of all the front line anti-violence organizations; the formation of an Urban Think Tank; and  an on going education component (i.e. the billboards). He assured the overflow crowd : “We are together and standing on … unity and solidarity with each other. “ The organization  has launched a campaign to repeal  The Tiahrt Amendment,  passed in 2003 which  prevents the collection of valuable information, and the establishment of effective policies to  trace and prevent  the proliferation of illegal guns especially in inner cities.

Unity: (Standing from left) : Hollywood, Pastor Kenny Simmons, Leonard Lane. (Seated) Rev. William Gillison, Bishop Badger, Bishop and Mrs. Gelsey. Photo Tracey Mullin

The law itself is criminal! It was also announced that Congressman Brian Higgins is on  board  and did in fact champion the community’s  call for  the  repeal of the Tiahrt  Amendment last week on the House floor (see page 5).  Speakers at the press rally included Mayor Bryon Brown,  DA John Flynn, Bishop Michael A. Badger, Bishop Frederick Gelsey, Murray Holman, Sharon Belton-Cottman, Bro. Dahveed Muhammad, Pastor Kenny  Simmons and Police Commissioner Bryon Lockwood. 

“The question at the forefront of this movement,” declared Dobbins, “ is where did they get the guns? We don’t have an assault rifle problem on the East side of Buffalo  we have a hand gun  problem…This community is flooded with handguns!…..We have to find strategies to stop these guns from coming into our community”…and everybody  has to be a part of finding  a solution, he said. 

Pictured: Speakers: From top left Neal Dobbins, Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood, Pastor Kenny Simmons; (middle row) Bishop Michael A. Badger, Bishop Frederick Gelsey; Sharon Belton-Cottman School Board President; (last row) Minister  Dahveed Muhammad,  Murray Holman, Mayor Byron Brown and District Attorney John J. Flynn. ~Challenger Photos