YWCA, city leaders honor victims of gun violence and offer support

Posted at 9:55 PM, Oct 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-25 23:55:32-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- City leaders and the YWCA are planting flowers to remember and honor those who have been victims of gun violence.

Utah's YWCA invited city leaders to plant daffodils outside of the Public Safety Building in Salt Lake City this year to honor fallen and surviving victims of gun violence.

“We hope that they will see them and to remember that they are a colorful presence in our community that we care for, that we want to be protected, and to be safe,” Keri Jones-Fonnesbeck, Chief Program Director for the YWCA Utah, said. “They also serve as an acknowledgment of those that we’ve lost in our community.”

At the meeting, Mayor Ralph Becker said statistics show gun violence continues to increase.

“One in three people in the U.S. knows someone who has been shot,” Becker said at the event. “On average, 31 Americans are murdered with guns every single day.”

Becker went on to explain Utah is one of 14 states in which gun violence fatalities outnumbered motor vehicle deaths from 2009 to 2011.

“No community is immune to this problem, and as residents of Salt Lake City, we must find ways to prevent violence and provide education strategies for our community,” Becker said.

Reverend Scott Hayashi of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah was also there, sharing his experience as a victim of gun violence in 1970.

The Rev. Hayashi says everyone can take action in stopping gun violence.

“If all of us worked together, we actually might bring forth change in our country," he said. "So, it's always good to have company when you’re working on any issue in our society—especially this one, that seems to be so difficult for our country to handle.”

But when it comes to gun violence, it doesn't just happen out on the street.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown says most gun tragedies happen at home.

“The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488,” Brown said. “The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during that same time was 11,766.”

YWCA officers say while these numbers are high, there's help for those who are suffering traumatic experiences.

“To anyone who find themselves in need of support after experiencing your own abuse, the YWCA is here for you,” Jones-Fonnesbeck said.

The YWCA has a 24-hour service hotline. If you need help call 1-855-YWCASLC.