Following a wave of gun violence in Detroit over the Fourth of July weekend, Detroit City Council members, community leaders and victims of the violence gathered in a park Wednesday night to send the message that “it takes a village” and not just politics and policing to stop the violence.

Laws and policing cannot instill values ​​such as peace and respect for life, said Council President Mary Sheffield, who represents the 5th District, at the gathering of several dozen people in the city's Edmore Marbud Park. “But the community can do that.”

She said tackling the root causes of violence, such as mental illness and poverty, as well as providing access to education, mentoring and strong family ties, were key.

“Let us abandon the idea that guns and violence are an acceptable part of our culture. Let us demand that we value life over reputation,” Sheffield said.

Between July 4 and July 7, 27 people were shot at six illegal street festivals in Detroit, according to Detroit Police Chief James White. A shooting at a street festival on the city's east side around 2:30 a.m. Sunday on Rossini near Gratiot Detroit left the most victims in a single mass shooting in Michigan history. Several gunmen opened fire during the gathering of more than 300 people, killing a 20-year-old woman and a 21-year-old man while wounding 19 others, police said.

Eight victims from Detroit, Clinton Township and Warren are still in the hospital, while 11 have already been released, Detroit police said Wednesday. Those released are from Clinton Township, Detroit, Eastpointe, Taylor, Southfield and Warren.

Police said this week that more than one shooter was involved in the violence, but did not name any possible perpetrators or a motive.

More than 80 Detroit police officers will be deployed on weekends to new neighborhood response teams that will focus on curbing violence at illegal street parties, city and police officials said after the shooting.

“We can't allow the village to exist for just one day,” said William Nicholson, who spent 10 years in prison, was shot and lost friends to gun violence. Today he works for the nonprofit family counseling organization Black Family Development.

Without more urgent action to prevent violence, Nicholson said, “there won't be many young people walking around here anymore. And we need them out here because at some point they're going to have to teach somebody to do the right thing.”

The series of shootings over the weekend prompted White and Mayor Mike Duggan to develop a plan to combat organizers of illegal large parties by prosecuting violations of city ordinances or asking the Wayne County District Attorney's Office to issue arrest warrants.

Some vigil leaders said the goal is not to stop the parties, but to ensure the gatherings are legal and people can have fun in a responsible way.

“We also need to come together as legislators,” said Third District Councilman Scott Benson, “to see how we can provide the resources and the help we need to get out of this situation when it comes to morale, when it comes to working with the community, when it comes to making sure we're making the investments necessary to help people make their conflict resolution decisions.”

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