CHICAGO (CBS) — A new organization called “Fierce Women of Faith” was meeting at the University of Chicago on Friday, declaring a state of emergency over the gun violence in the city.

WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports the multicultural group of clergy and lay people from the city and suburbs share a belief that faith, as a foundation, can lead to change.

“What affects the city affects all of us, in terms of the violence,” said Rev. Marcenia Richards, pastor of the Life Center, and founder of Fierce Women of Faith. “Let’s talk about it; the difficult questions. Let’s ask ourselves what are those questions that are keeping us so segregated?”

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell is part of the effort. She said there is no greater injustice than the murder of children.

“These women have a clear understanding that it all begins with faith. We must believe that we can find the answers, and that if we pray fervently, that God is going to hear those prayers, and direct us with the Holy Spirit,” she said.

Rev. Victoria Curtiss, an associate pastor at Fourth Presbyterian Church, said the group knows prayer alone isn’t enough.

“In our church, we used to have a phrase, ‘picket and pray,’ so you need to help God implement the things that we’re praying about,” she said. “We feel like, if we pool strength, and our faith, and our energies together, that hopefully we can have an impact.”

The group was hosting a “Stop The Violence” symposium at the Chicago Theological Ceremony on the U. Of C. campus on Friday, featuring discussions on advocacy, awareness, and community building.

Curtiss said she can’t help but feel energized by the movement.

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