In 2008, Tennessee had the nation’s fifth-highest rate of black homicides, says a Violence Policy Center report quoted by The Tennessean. Nashville, with 42 black murder victims, had a rate higher than the state overall. In Nashville if you are African-American, you are four to five times more likely to be murdered than if you are white. While the rate of white homicides has declined over the past several years, black homicides have increased.
The victims range in age from a newborn who was beaten to death to a 54-year-old man fatally shot in his car on his drive home from work. Motives vary: abuse, domestic problems, drugs, gang activity, robberies. Some were students, parents. Others were gang members and drug dealers. “We cannot wait until some prominent person gets killed or is the victim of a crime to wake up and say let’s do something about it,” said Councilman Jerry Maynard. “This is a crisis, and we have to have ownership by the entire community.”