Buffalo family urges witnesses to come forward

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Having been the victim of violence, one Buffalo family is urging those who’ve seen something to say something.

They steer clear of calling it “snitching,” instead calling it “straight talking.” The family is hoping to turn tragedy into action to stop community violence.

Kareema Morris created the “Bury the Violence” campaign to raise awareness about senseless tragedy in her community and the need to speak up.

“There are people being killed in front of other people. In broad daylight. People see, hear and stand by and watch. They say nothing,” Morris said.

Efforts were put in high gear after a 14-year-old boy was shot and killed on Oakmont Avenue, last week. Tips from the community led police to the man who they believe pulled the trigger.

Councilman Rasheed Wyatt says the “Bury the Violence” campaign is a positive step forward.

“To see the number of people that have been affected by these murders or these situations, speak to the urgency of us as community [coming] together and do something,” Wyatt said.

Pastor Al Wislon works at the Martha Mitchell Community Center. It’s a safe space, where he sees and hears what others have seen and heard.

Wilson says community leaders have taken guns and drugs off the streets, as part of the “Bury the Violence” campaign.

“They’re coming in here for help and we’re giving them the attention they need,” Wilson said.

Last September, Morris’ own family needed help. Her niece, Lanasha Rollerson, was found dead on Hagan Street. She was stabbed to death.

Morris says she became an activist, using her personal tragedy to try and stop violence. She hopes other families won’t experience the pain she’s endured.

“It’s other kids in the community that need that same life given back to them, because they didn’t ask to see what they saw, they didn’t ask to hear what they heard,” Morris said.

She has also created the Lanasha Rollerson Foundation. It targets at-risk girls and women, who may become victims. The foundation urges them to come forward.

Rollerson’s killer, DarShawn Morris, is serving a sentence of 39 years to life in prison.

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