Rev. Nick Hood, III Asks Southeast Michiganders Not to Use Guns During New Year's Eve Celebrations

Dec 30, 2010, 12:53 ET from Health Alliance Plan

DETROIT, Dec. 30, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the thirteenth consecutive year, Rev. Nicholas Hood, III, Senior Minister, Plymouth United Church of Christ, is campaigning to save lives during New Year's Eve celebrations.  Rev. Hood, in partnership with Citizens for the New Millennium and Health Alliance Plan (HAP), is asking Detroiters and Wayne County residents to celebrate the New Year without gunfire.  The hope is that there will be no injuries or tragic accidents throughout Wayne County.

Joining Rev. Hood this year at the press conference were William Alvin, Health Alliance Plan; Benny Napoleon, Wayne County Sherriff; Detroit Police Department Chief Ralph Godbee; Maureen L. Stapleton, State Representative-Elect; local clergy; and community and school representatives from throughout the Detroit area.  

The Ring in the New Year with a Bell Campaign originated in 1997 after a stray bullet killed Sandra Latham, a Detroit grandmother who was in her home sitting at her dining room table.  Her daughter, Charlotte Jackson Bell, will be the family spokesperson at the press conference.

The dangerous tradition of shooting guns at 12 midnight on New Year's Eve has resulted in many people being wounded or killed.  The use of firearms in the Detroit area impacts hundreds of lives every year. Sometimes citizens are hurt; at other times they are killed.

"Overall incidents caused by gunfire during New Year's Eve celebrations are down," said Rev. Hood. "I believe our campaign works. The support from our citizens gets bigger each year because all of us want to end gun violence.  Over the years, we have seen fewer and fewer injuries between the hours of midnight and two o'clock a.m."

The Bell Campaign officially started on Monday, December 27 with announcements featured on-line followed by television spots on three of the major networks beginning today.  The annual press conference is the cornerstone of its activities.  Local businesses distribute bell cards to remind citizens to leave their guns at home.  HAP ( is a corporate sponsor for the second consecutive year.

"Health Alliance Plan is proud to sponsor the 'Ring in the New Year with a Bell, Not a Bang' campaign and we applaud Reverend Hood for bringing attention to the important issue of firearm safety year after year," said William Alvin, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit health plan headquartered in Detroit. "Our hearts go out to families who have lost a loved one to gun violence.  The greatest tragedy is that these deaths were preventable."

SOURCE Health Alliance Plan