Rally Laments SW Gun Violence Surge

U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (2nd from right) with City Council members Jannie Blackwell and Kenyatta Johnson march in protest to the epidemic of killings in the city and in Southwest, July 15.
U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (2nd from right) with City Council members Jannie Blackwell and Kenyatta Johnson march in protest to the epidemic of killings in the city and in Southwest, July 15.

U.S. Rep Scanlon joins Councilman Johnson to lament shootings

U.S. Representative Mary Gay Scanlon joined City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and community leaders the evening of July 15 in a march to protest the marked increase in gun violence in the Southwest and around the city.   The event, “Peace Not Guns,” has become a rallying cry that the Councilman has proclaimed for over two decades in the South and Southwest districts he represents.

The rally began at Myers Recreation Center at Kingsessing Avenue and 58th Street where the officials shared the podium with LaTonya Bond.  Bond emotionally related the story of her son Lamont Jones who was shot and killed 10 years ago.  Through her tears, Bond said, “This picture and my granddaughter without a father are all I have left… and it hurts and the pain doesn’t go away.”  She particularly expressed her anguish that other parents had to go through the same agony. 

Rep. Scanlon took time from deliberations on new pandemic subsidies in Washington DC to encourage people to take back their streets.  She is a member of the House Judiciary Committee which sponsored the Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act of 2020 which has been signed into law.

“Enough is enough,” raged the Councilman.  “The takeback is long overdue.”  

Latonya Bond bravely marches in the anti-gun violence rally in Southwest. She holds up a placard depicting her son Lamont Jones who was shot and killed 10 years ago.

“We need to organize and strategize how to address this issue. We have to keep marching and keep working, because we can’t get to the point where this is seen as normal.”  Gun violence is up 31 percent over last year as of mid-July.  This included the 31 people shot over the July 4 holiday which among the others took the life of an 11-year-old girl in Elmwood.

The march,  one of several that the Councilman has organized around his district, proceeded six blocks south to Reinhart Street where two men have been shot to death and two more people wounded in separate incidents during the past three months.  Councilman Johnson pointed to the fact that family and neighbors know these victims so that the loss is felt throughout the community.

Johnson is chair of the Philadelphia City Council Special Committee on Gun Violence Prevention.

(Information, quotes and photos for this article were graciously provided by Vincent Thomson, Communications Director for Councilman Johnson)

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