COLUMBUS, Ga. — African-American ministers and funeral directors are calling for an end to violence that has killed several young people in a Georgia city.

Twenty-nine people have been killed this year in Columbus, a city of about 197,500 residents. Police consider 23 of the killings to be homicides. Many of those who lost their lives have been young black people.

On Monday, nine hearses rolled in silent protest through the city, the Ledger-Enquirer reported. Funeral home owners held a news conference with leaders from the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, an organization made up mostly of black ministers.

“We are here today to acknowledge all of the vigilante activities that have been happening in our community because we’re concerned about the anarchy that has been going on in our community,” said the Rev. Ralph Huling, president of the alliance.

He said ministers and funeral directors are among the people who have to deal with the aftermath of the violence.

“We’re calling our community back to civility, back to the point where we used to love and care about one another and realize that we are our brother’s keepers,” Huling said.

Evone Taylor, owner of Taylor Funeral Home, said she is seeing young victims from poor families.

“It’s sad when there’s a homicide in the community and loved ones have to bury someone because their life was taken at the hands of someone else,” Taylor said. “It’s sad not only for the community, but also for those of us that work in the funeral industry to have help those that are grieving to get through this process, knowing that their lives were snatched from them.”

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.