Rev. Nick Hood, III asks Southeast Michiganders Not to Use Guns During New Year's Eve Celebrations
Detroit - December 30, 2009 - For the twelfth consecutive year, Rev. Nicholas Hood, III, Senior Minister, Plymouth United Church of Christ, is campaigning to save lives during New Year's Eve celebrations. Rev. Hood, in partnership with Citizens for the New Millennium, Health Alliance Plan (HAP) and the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, is asking Detroiters and Wayne County residents to celebrate the New Year without gunfire. The hope is that there will be no injuries or tragic accidents throughout Wayne County.
The Ring in the New Year with a Bell Campaign originated in 1997 after a stray bullet killed Sandra Latham, a Detroit grandmother who was in her home at her dining room table. Her daughter, Charlotte Jackson Bell, will be the family spokesperson at the press conference.
The dangerous tradition of shooting guns at 12 midnight on New Year's Eve has resulted in many people being wounded or killed. The use of firearms in the Detroit area impacts hundreds of lives every year. Sometimes citizens are hurt; at other times, they are killed.
"Overall incidents caused by gunfire during New Year's Eve celebrations are down," said Hood. "I believe our campaign works. The support from the citizens gets bigger each year because all of us want to end gun violence. Over the years, we have seen fewer and fewer injuries between the hours of midnight and 2:00 a.m."
The Bell Campaign officially started on December 26 with television spots. The annual press conference is the cornerstone of its activities. Local businesses distribute bell cards to remind citizens to leave their guns at home. This year HAP joined the campaign as a corporate sponsor.
"Health Alliance Plan is proud to sponsor the Ring in the New Year with a Bell, Not a Bang' campaign to encourage a safe and healthy future for Detroit," said Bill Alvin, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit health plan headquartered in Detroit. "I applaud Reverend Hood for bringing attention to the important issue of firearm safety, and for continuing to make this a priority year after year."
There are several new participants in this year's New Year's safety team. The Wayne County Sherriff's office signed on as a sponsor. This year's honorary co-chairs are Wayne County Sherriff Benny Napoleon, Mayor Dave Bing and DPD Police Chief Warren Evans. Maureen Stapleton, the owner of Community Enterprises LLC, served as this year's co-chair.