Local group travels around Kansas City, praying at homicide scenes for end to voilence

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A local group spent Saturday morning trying to curb Kansas City's recent violence with prayer.

Bishop John Birmingham Jr. organized Violence Free KC's Prayer Caravan.

"This is an outward expresssion," he explained, "of an inward rage against all the killings and murders in this city."

For 20 people, Saturday was a day of reckoning.

"I got the idea of a prayer caravan going straight to these spots where the murders took place," Birmingham said.

So that's what the bishop and several others from the metro did.

"I'm here because I love people," Sharon White said. "I love God, and I want people to know that there's something better than how they're doing things."

The group stopped at four different locations in Kansas City, including the intersection of 23rd and Lister and an open space off 35th Street between Wabash and Prospect.

Each place carried a history of blood shed. Each was a place the group thought would benefit from prayer.

Those who prayed carried small white crosses with the names of the person killed there, along with their age. Next to that was a number, noting which homicide of 2018 the victim was -- the first, the 44th or the 83rd.

"There's a movement," Birmingham said, "and we're just sick of it. Some have lost loved ones, have lost babies to this madness."

He gestured over to a woman in a teal hat. She lost her great-great-grandson to a drive-by shooting.

After all the names on all the crosses corresponding to a specific location had a prayer said in their memory, the group released balloons. The balloons, just like the prayers, went into the sky.

And each time, the group waited for a change in the air.

"I am expecting a tremendous change in this atmosphere in the near future," Birmingham said.

As of Saturday, Kansas City has had 87 homicides, which is less than the 97 the city had this time last year. Click or tap here to see the stats.

Studies show some proven ways to reduce violence in cities are stricter alcohol policies, eliminating blighted housing, and behavioral interventions.

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