Stop the Funerals, Stop the Violence

By Rev. Julius C. Hope, National Director of NAACP Religious Affairs

One of the highlights of the 2010 Region III Civil Rights Advocacy Training Institute was the launch of the “Stop the Funerals,” /Stop the Violence,” campaign. This campaign, designed to address the high youth death rates from homicide and HIV/AIDS in the Midwest, is expected to attract youth activists and the faith based community from throughout the Midwest.

The Challenge: Along with the increase in the number of youth carrying firearms we now have a sharp increase in gun-related homicides Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Gary, Louisville, Milwaukee and other Midwest urban areas. The increased presence of guns means that disputes often escalate to fatal incidents. African Americans accounted for 51% of the 42, 655 (including children) new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in 34 state. Blacks accounted for 48% of the 551,932 persons* (including children) living with HIV/AIDS in 34 states.