Peace Week Began with a Roster of Luminaries

The scourge of gun violence has claimed many victims in Philadelphia.  Last night, I attended a Rally/March intended to decrease shooting incidents and increase peace in our city.  The kick off for Peace Week was held at 23rd & Wharton Street last night.  It was sponsored by Unity in the Community.  This organization is headed by Anton Moore.  In my opinion, Anton is the most influential non-elected official in our area right now.  He was responsible for giving clothing to students who needed them to attend proms recently.  He has the community in his heart.

It was a block party atmosphere last night.  Music abounded and everyone was in a great mood.  The actual event opened at around 6:30 PM.  We were honored with Islamic and Christian prayer.  State Senator Hardy Williams offered his opinion on the root causes and solutions to violence.  City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, State Representative Jordan Harris and State Representative Brian Sims also gave comments.  Tyrique Glasgow, founder of Young Chance Foundation, was there also.  Meeka Outlaw, Bilal Qayyum, Jahmall Crandall and Rodney Muhammad were also in attendance.

I passed out information about an upcoming meeting concerning Focused Deterrence.  This is an initiative sponsored by the District Attorney's office in conjunction with the Managing Director's office.  This effort is designed to identify individuals who are inclined to be involved in gun violence.  If a shooting occurs in the vicinity of a repeat gun offender, it will trigger a visit to the individual previously identified as a repeat offender.  It seems like profiling but shootings have been down in Philadelphia and I want to credit police work and identifying suspects quickly.

Many people referenced the fact that shootings are down in Philadelphia.  Overall, violent crimes are trending down in most major cities right now. It is a relief to all of us involved in community improvement and outreach that injuries and bloodshed are decreasing.  The one statistic that bothers me the most is that 80% of shootings, in which a victim is not murdered, are not solved.  I don't know if this a result of witness intimidation or some other factor, but this low rate of solving shootings demands an immediate response.

There are a number of other activities planned as part of Peace Week.  I give credit to the organizers of this event for the variety of events offered for our youth.  There will be a youth dance tonight with a college prep event before the week is over.  A basketball tournament will take place at the Vare Recreation Center also.  Keep up the great work and Increase the Peace.  Our community thanks you for these efforts.  Our children are emulating your efforts to attain more unity and peace in South Philadelphia.  They want a future without gun violence and intimidation.

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