Combatting gun violence: Philly community gathers to discuss violence prevention efforts

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Coming off a violent weekend in the City of Philadelphia, community members are continuing to get engaged in ways to combat gun violence.

In Southwest Philadelphia, a peace walk started at 60th Street and Elmwood Avenue Tuesday night.

Pastor Beverly Clayburn, who leads Straight Gate Church and serves as a Philadelphia police chaplain, led the group around the neighborhood and connected with neighbors.

Inside the Transfiguration Baptist Church in West Philadelphia, the Office of Policy & Strategic Initiatives for Criminal Justice & Public Safety continued its Philadelphia Roadmap to Safer Communities (PRSC) 2022 Community Listening Tour Series.

The listening tour is an opportunity for community members to share their opinions and thoughts on the city's violence prevention efforts and learn more about the Roadmap to Safer Communities, all while building community connections with leaders, residents, and city agencies alike.

"When we think about community meetings, we have this traditional mindset of panel and then Q&A. I think what we're doing differently this time is we're actually in conversation with community members," said Erica Atwood, senior director of criminal justice and public safety for the City of Philadelphia.

Tuesday night's meeting is the seventh of 10 meetings in the series.

There was food and members of the community were able to interact with city leaders, including those who pitch and create policy.

Stacy Phillips, the CEO of West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary School, was among those in attendance. Just a few weeks ago an 8-year-old student brought a gun to the school that discharged in the student's backpack.

No students were shot, but one student was taken by ambulance to the hospital after suffering a panic attack.

The incident shows the layers and different types of trauma being faced by the youngest in the community.

Phillips said she likes the new style of the format.

"It's better than the lecture style in small groups. You get a chance to hear and be heard, and those things in a small group setting can be put into a bigger format to see what's good coming out of this," said Phillips.

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