PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A Philadelphia neighborhood is getting ready for an annual festival meant to bring the community together and promote anti-violence.
The 21st annual Giveback Community Outdoor Festival and Concert is happening Friday and Saturday at Nicetown Park, a community space that the neighborhood's community center worked hard to revitalize.
"The lights were out for 15 years, we had abandoned cars, over 100 in here," said Zakariyya Abdur-Rahman, the president and CEO of the Nicetown CDC. "Today, you see a park that's cleaned up, lit up."
The park is the center of the festival, which features live music, resource booths, and food.
"We know that there's a higher power and we know that we have to continue on with what we started," he said.
"People want to feel safe and enjoy their community, and I think that's what the festival is about. But there's a purpose more than just having a party - the purpose is to make sure people have access to resources," said State Senator Sharif Street.
Organizers believe that if they can help improve the quality of life for people in the neighborhood, it will help curb the tide of gun violence too.
"A lot of people feel nothing's going to happen good to them or nothing's going to help them. So we try to show them ways that they can break that cycle," said Majeedah Rashid, the COO of Nicetown CDC.
That cycle of violence is still prevalent in Tioga-Nicetown. There have been 76 shootings in the neighborhood so far in 2023; 15 were fatal.
Adbur-Rahman knows all too well the pain that violence brings. Both of his sons, Zakee and Zafir, were murdered in Philadelphia. He carries on their legacy by promoting peace in his neighborhood.
"They're telling me, 'Keep it going, dad," he said. "This is part of your passion and your love. You taught us this. We're here behind you so keep moving until we see each other again."
Both men were fathers too. Zakariyya started a scholarship in his sons' names. His grandchildren will be presenting it at the festival this weekend.