PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Residents gathered in Southwest Philadelphia on Wednesday night to demand justice and find solutions as the city's gun violence surges out of control.
Commissioner Danielle Outlaw was there to listen as the emotional conversation got underway at the Francis Myers Recreation Center.
For Odess Blocker this is personal. Her son, Albert Lee Jr., was murdered over a violent Fourth of July weekend. His killer is still on the loose.
"It's horrible that so many people are being killed in the streets of Philadelphia," she said.
Names and faces paired with a growing murder rate, which is up 31% from this time last year, with almost 250 homicides.
The pandemic, guns on the street and lack of resources in the community are believed to be some of the factors.
"Because there's so many variables it's important for us to be available for things like this, so we can actively listen to find out creative solutions to get ahead of the next one," said Commissioner Outlaw.
"But we really need the help of our community," she added.
It's a call to action Akayla Brown is already doing.
Having raised over $1,000 selling "chill" pins for gun violence prevention, the 17-year-old started her own nonprofit "Dimplez 4 Dayz" and is doing her part to make her block safer.
"I'm a regular teenager trying to maintain a 4.0 GPA and now I have to worry about if I'm going to be safe on my way to school," said Brosen. "There's no reason the rate is up this high and the year isn't even finished yet."