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Activist says community must work together to reverse startling black homicide rate in Missouri

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Black people living in Missouri are being murdered at a higher rate than in any other state, according to a new analysis from a national gun-control organization.

The rate of black homicides here is nearly 35 per 100,000 black residents. That’s about double that national black homicide rate.

“It’s sad when we move up to number one for something like that,” said Pat Clarke, a community activist.

The Violence Policy Center published the study, which it created using 2012 FBI data. Those statistics show 84 percent of blacks that year were killed with a gun.

“At some point, somebody’s got to say, ‘Hey, I’m tired of this,’” Clarke said.

Clarke believes the root of the problem is black-on-black crime and thinks people in the community should be more open to working with – not against – organizations like the Kansas City No Violence Alliance.

“I’m going to keep it real to you: nobody kills us better than we do,” Clark said. “It’s horrible. NOVA cannot be NOVA without us.”

So how can we make things better? Clarke believes it will take the entire black community working together to create positive change.

“Once we start lifting each other back up, and saying, ‘Hey brother, I got you,’ then all of this other stuff that we do to each other will go away,” he said.

Specific to Kansas City, murders are actually down. In 2012, there were 106, in 2013 there were 100, and last year they dropped to 77.