'We're tired of not feeling safe on our own blocks': Community leaders ask Mayor Kenney to invest $100M in gun violence prevention

Katie Katro Image
Saturday, April 10, 2021
Local groups ask Philly mayor to invest $100 million in gun violence prevention
With more than 500 people shot in Philadelphia so far this year, another group has called for the violence to stop.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With more than 500 people shot in Philadelphia so far this year, members of the community have called for the violence to stop.

At a rally outside City Hall Friday, community organizations urged Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney to commit $100 million to violence prevention programs.

"No family should have to suffer this. Our communities are traumatized. Our children are traumatized," said Movita Johnson-Harrell, from the Charles Foundation.

Gun violence has plagued the streets of Philadelphia, taking the lives of so many young people. Community groups are working to give the city's youth a chance by giving them more activities.

"We're tired of not feeling safe on our own blocks. Or feeling like we can't send our kids outside to play for fear that they'll be shot," said Philadelphia Councilmember Jamie Gauthier (3rd District.)

Organization leaders say the funds would be used to expand community-based violence prevention and intervention programs, and provide services like therapy.

"In the Black and Brown communities, it's a stigma to not talk about your emotions, especially as a Black man," said Brett Williams, chair of the Anti-Violence Partnership.

The acting U.S. attorney came to Philadelphia on Thursday to address the violence plaguing the city.

"We are on pace to surpass 600 homicides this year in Philadelphia," said Jennifer Arbittier Williams, the acting United States attorney.

One mother says she just moved, afraid for her 7-year-old daughter's life.

"It's so sad that I was so in fear for my children's lives in the City of Philadelphia. That I just recently moved from Philadelphia to another state," said Shawntia Jones, from Camden, Delaware.

A spokesperson for the city says the mayor will have much more to say about funding anti-violence initiatives when he presents his new budget and five-year plan to City Council on April 15.