HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A group of crime victims and their allies rallied in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on the state Capitol steps Tuesday to call for changes, three days after the shooting on Philadelphia's South Street killed three and wounded 11.
The Survivors Speak Pennsylvania event, hosted by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, drew some 100 people to Harrisburg to urge lawmakers to act on a set of proposals designed to stem crime and aid victims.
A group of activists from Philadelphia were in attendance.
Valerie Todd, of Bridesburg, said it's not just about changing laws, it's about changing hearts.
"...A lot of people feel like, 'I need a gun to protect myself. Where I'm from, you can't be without a gun.' There's a message for these young kids that killing somebody is a badge of honor. I think what is healing right now is changing the message, changing the narrative. No, what is really strong is waking up, being responsible, being honest every single day," she said.
Some are calling on lawmakers to pass a legislative package called the Safer Pennsylvania Act, policies that tackle the causes of crime and to aid survivors through housing and employment support, compensation and programs to reduce recidivism.
Nicole Dorrell, of Tacony, said the longer politicians sit on their hands, the further the City of Philadelphia goes down a path of darkness.
"We need change in Philadelphia. Too many of these things are norms. To get beat up by your boyfriend or husband is the norm. To walk down the street and see somebody with a gun or somebody with a fist fight is a norm. That's not normal. You should be able to come out of your house in peace, barbecue in your backyard, and not have to worry about a bullet flying by you. It's about education. It's about people standing up. Stop being afraid and start using your voice," she said.
Robert Rooks, a leader in the effort, told rallygoers it's been a decade since he and others set out to change a system in which they felt victims of crime were not heard or seen and were routinely left out of discussions on justice policy making.
"There's no better time than now to listen to victims," Rooks said, bringing up the Philadelphia shooting. "What should we do? Well, I have an answer for you: listen to victims."
Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice claims nearly 5,000 members in Pennsylvania and more than 90,000 across the United States.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.