Rev. Nick Hood, III Asks Southeast Michiganders Not to Use Guns During New Year's Eve Celebrations
DETROIT – December 29, 2011 – In an effort to prevent injuries and tragic accidents throughout Wayne County on New Year's Eve, Rev. Nicholas Hood, III, Senior Minister, Plymouth United Church of Christ, is asking Detroiters and Wayne County residents to celebrate the New Year without gunfire.
The "Ring in the New Year with a Bell, Not a Bang" campaign originated in 1997 after a stray bullet killed Sandra Latham, a Detroit grandmother who was in her home sitting at her dining room table. In addition to distributing bell cards through local businesses to remind citizens to leave their guns at home, the "Bell" campaign also includes television spots on three of the major networks. The annual press conference is the cornerstone of its activities.
"Overall incidents caused by the dangerous tradition of shooting guns at 12 midnight on New Year's Eve are down," said Rev. Hood. "I believe our campaign works. The support from our 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 two o'clock a.m."
Rev. Hood expressed his appreciation to the Concerned Citizens for the New Millennium Foundation and the following hosts and corporate partners for their support: Health Alliance Plan (HAP) Ambassador Bridge Company, and Associated Food & Petroleum Dealers (AFPD).
Joining Rev. Hood this year at the press conference were: Ring in the New Year campaign co-chair Maureen Stapleton, State Representative (District 4); Wayne County Sherriff Benny Napoleon; Detroit Police Department Chief Ralph Godbee; Wayne County Executive Robert A. Ficano; HAP President and CEO William Alvin; AFPD President and CEO Auday Arabo; members of the Latham family; children who created posters about the dangers of gun violence and local clergy, community and block club representatives. "Vision," an all-male choir from the Detroit School for the Arts, and The First Congregational Church of Rochester Bell Choir performed.
"Health Alliance Plan is proud to sponsor the 'Ring in the New Year with a Bell, Not a Bang' campaign for the third year, and we applaud Reverend Hood for bringing attention to the important issue of firearm safety year after year," said William Alvin, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit health plan headquartered in Detroit. "Our hearts go out to families who have lost a loved one to gun violence. The greatest tragedy is that these deaths were preventable."
"Since 1910 our store owners have had a close connection to the city and are significant members of the Detroit community," said Auday Arabo, president and CEO of AFPD, Voice of the Independent Retailers. "We very much support Rev. Hood's collaborative effort to ensure the safety of the citizens and the merchants in trying to end senseless violence. We must all work together and make real public safety our number one concern in the City of Detroit."