CHOP dedicates garden to gun violence victims in Philadelphia

Dr. Joel Fein has worked to provide resources for families to heal from gun violence-related trauma.

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Thursday, July 21, 2022
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Dr. Joel Fein is a co-director of Philadelphia's Center for Violence Prevention. Since its origin, he's worked to provide resources for families to heal from trauma.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A pediatrician from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is helping the youngest victims of the city's gun violence epidemic while also providing the community with a space to heal.

Dr. Joel Fein is a co-director of Philadelphia's Center for Violence Prevention. Since its origin, he's worked to provide resources for families to heal from trauma. His most recent project is a memorial to the victims.

"We love you always," he said reading off one of the stones at the Philadelphia Gun Violence Victims Memorial.

"The CHOP PICU remembers you," read another.

For Fein, the messages on these orange stones bring both hope and heartache.

"They're names of people we have lost to violence," he explained.

The memorial at Karabots Center for Pediatric Care in West Philadelphia contains a sculpture, butterfly benches, and the stones.

As Philadelphia grapples with a gun violence epidemic that has claimed the lives of 40 children 18 years old and under this year alone, Dr. Fein is among the leaders looking for answers.

"Exposure to violence is not just about being injured, it's about being around it and it being around you," said Fein. "We know that if we can reduce trauma and the impact of that trauma in our families and our kids, then they'll go on to lead healthier lives."

The purpose of the memorial is to give victims a place to reflect. It was unveiled this summer in partnership with Moms Demand Action, a nonprofit focusing on protection from gun violence.

"It is in complete memory of the victims, but it is also in the hope of the families and the people that those victims were loved by," he said. "It's about people, and every single one of those kids is someone's friend, someone's child. We need to focus on that."

In focusing on that, he's arrived at this space in the CHOP garden, where everyone can wish for a more peaceful future.