Community members and Mothers In Charge -- an organization that supports victims and families while advocating for change-- gathered at The Let Out Event Center on the 1600 block of Cecil B. Moore Avenue.
"A club that no one wanted to be a part of, there are some other things that we could do other than support mothers who have had to bury their children," said Dorothy Johnson-Speight, the founder and executive director of the organization.
Many mothers stood in front of the group to talk about losing their children to gun violence.
"I lost my son 24 days ago," said Michele Parker of West Philadelphia. "It has been the most traumatic experience of a lifetime."
On the afternoon of June 19, Parker said her 23-year-old son, Evan Baylor, was gunned down in her West Philadelphia neighborhood as part of a triple shooting that also injured a 3-year-old.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw spoke with families affected by gun violence, to listen to their concerns, and discuss solutions to tackle the city’s growing gun violence pic.twitter.com/nCwcBFgSt0— Katie Katro (@KatieKatro6abc) July 14, 2021
"I'm sorry for the shaky voice, but it's just a lot losing my son. My son was murdered May 9, 2018," said Linda McNeil of Germantown.
Commissioner Outlaw, a mother herself, came to listen to the group's concerns and solutions. She acknowledged a program to work on is grief counseling, which is in short supply.
"So to hear and read something like the numbers are going up so much and we don't have the ability, or the capacity, or the bandwidth to address a lot of what we're seeing in real-time -- is disheartening," said Outlaw.
Ruth Donnelly clutched her necklace with her son's name on it. He was killed in 2001. Donnelly's hoping people will speak up if they know the person responsible for a crime.
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"We need to know what's going on in our neighborhoods," she said.
Speaking out could prevent another crime so that no other mother has to plan her child's funeral instead of the future.
Part of the solution is a gun buyback event being held by Philadelphia police and City Council.
The event will be held at two locations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday:
- Mt. Enon Baptist Church at 500 Snyder Avenue in South Philadelphia
- Upper Room Baptist Church at 7236 Ogontz Avenue in West Oak Lane
A $100 gift card to Brown's ShopRite will be given to individuals who turn in a working handgun or semi-automatic firearm.