Philadelphia Black Clergy leader on violence prevention efforts: 'The time to save lives is now'

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia Black Clergy and local leaders are calling for more concrete, immediate actions to stop the soaring violence in the city.

On Monday, clergy members and city leaders, including District Attorney Larry Krasner and Councilwoman Helen Gym, commended City Council for giving preliminary approval for over $155 million in the 2022 city budget to fund violence prevention programs.

Black Clergy Philadelphia wants community input when it comes to deciding how the funds are distributed.

"We will not be silenced. We will not be satisfied until Philadelphia is rid of this gun violence pandemic, and it can be done," said Rev. Robert Collier with the Black Clergy of Philadelphia.

They also called for more immediate action including longer hours at rec centers, the appointment of an anti-violence czar, and matching funds from private groups.

"The time to save lives is now. The 2022 budget seems to provide some hope for cures," added Collier.

On Monday, DA Krasner also announced the awarding of $82,500 in grant money to four community-based organizations in support of violence prevention efforts.

"I'm thrilled that the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office is able to provide critically important funding for these grassroots organizations doing the important work of violence prevention. But we must also all work together to make sure that the level of support is even more robust so that we can save more lives going forward," said Krasner.

The organizations include: Kensington Soccer Club ($35,000); C.B. Community Schools ($27,500); The Jarell Christopher Seay Love and Laughter Foundation ($10,000); and the Potter's House Mission ($10,000).

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office anticipates announcing the next round of awards in 30 to 60 days.

Groups interested in applying for future violence prevention funding are encouraged to contact the Philadelphia Foundation at GrantmakingServices@philafound.org.

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