Group gathers to speak out against gun violence in Beloit, promotes cooperation with police

BELOIT, Wis. – An increase in gun violence has a group in Beloit coming together Saturday night to find a solution, urging members of their community to work together with police.

Members of the Beloit Brown Community Liaison met at New Life International Ministry to give people in the community affected by gun violence a chance to speak up.

“Lately it’s just been getting like I don’t know, it’s getting out of hand,” said event speaker Bonnie McAlister.

McAlister said she lost her daughter to gun violence back in 2010 and on Saturday at the “We hear you, now hear us” event she shared her story with attendees calling for an end to the violence.

She’s hoping her story will help make a difference and help more people speak up. So she can get the answers about her daughter’s unsolved murder she’s desperately looking for.

“Just say something, to where we can put this to rest,” she said. “11 years is a long time. To not have nothing, no answers no nothing.”

The event was organized by founder of the Beloit Brown Community Liaison Lexi Payton who herself has been affected by gun violence.

She said her cousin was killed at a party just over a year ago.

Payton is hoping the stories of those affected will help change the narrative in her community around sharing information with the police.

“Show that it’s ok to work with the police, that it’s a safe place for you to talk to them,” she explained.

She also said she knows gaining that trust won’t be easy but hopes Beloit Police and those in the community can meet halfway.

“It can’t just fall on the police. It can’t just fall on the community,” she said. “It has to be a joint effort.”

Beloit police were not in attendance at Saturday’s meeting and Payton said though she was disappointed the group has had positive experience with them in the past.

In 2021 the Beloit police department investigated four homicides twice as many as they did the previous year.