According to Averill Woods Neighborhood Association president, Melissa Quon Huber, â€œThis is a very professional and well-educated neighborhood with an extremely low crime rate. So the intensity of this crime was completely out of character for our neighborhood. We extend our condolences to the family and friends.â€
Dr. Huber, who has conducted community and youth development research for Michigan State University, admonishes â€œThis incident shows very clearly how even kids on the right educational track, with great family and friends, and living in a top-notch neighborhood can be vulnerable to violent crime.
â€œThis is not just a â€˜Lansing problemâ€™ either,â€ says Huber. â€œThese tragedies can occur anywhere. Youth from Lansing, East Lansing and surrounding areas are connected to one another through their friends and their activities.â€
â€œItâ€™s a difficult job parenting in todayâ€™s high risk environments with drugs and guns so readily available everywhere. It can be hard for even the most involved parents to keep their kids safe from these influences. And we have lost part of our safety net. The network of extended family, friends, and neighbors are no longer there to provide additional support and watchful eyes when youth are away from home and out in the neighborhood or community.â€
â€œAs a neighborhood we are only as strong as our connections to each other. So weâ€™re making our neighborhood network even stronger. Weâ€™re fortunate to have a tight knit group of enormously talented and dedicated residents here and weâ€™re building on that strength.â€
Averill Woods Neighborhood invites the community to join the events, Sunday April 18th at Averill Park.
The event begins at Averill Park with an opening prayer at 2:00 p.m. by Pastor Dixon of the neighborhood Trinity AME Church. The walk and bike ride will begin at 2:10 p.m. and will commence through the neighborhood, including remembrances at the crime site.
The route will return to Averill Park where the community is invited for a sack lunch picnic beginning at 3:00 p.m., even if they did not participate in the walk/ride. Participants are asked to bring their own lunch and (non alcoholic) beverages along with chairs or blankets.
Lansing Police Department will provide cars at the front and end of the procession. No road closures are anticipated along the route which can be viewed at www.AverillWoods.org
â€œWe want to provide this walk and ride as another space to take strength and solace from being together. We all suffered a loss in these recent tragedies, whether it was a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or our sense of security thinking violent crimes wonâ€™t happen in our neighborhood.â€
â€œI donâ€™t worry that weâ€™ll have more violent crimes in our neighborhood. I believe as LPD has told us, this is an isolated incident. I still feel safe here and know that everyone is watching out for each other here. But we canâ€™t become complacent. It takes effort to get to know your neighbors, but weâ€™re here to help and make that easier.â€