Councilman Kenyatta Johnson has been working in the trenches to reduce the virus of gun violence in Southwest and South Philadelphia for most of his adult life. His current campaign will culminate in a “Peace Not Guns” Town Hall at Myers Recreation Center at 58th Street and Kingsessing Avenue from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 27. Working with him on the upcoming gathering will be the City Council’s Special Committee on Gun Violence Prevention.
“We need to address this issue aggressively here in Philadelphia,” Johnson said in a phone interview with the Globe Times. “The public cost of this gun violence scourge is tremendous, not only here but throughout Pennsylvania,” he said, noting the fact that the state legislature in Harrisburg was continuing to block common-sense bills on gun registration and the collection of gun-related death and injury data by health authorities.
Councilman Johnson began his public career in 1998 with the formation of his “Peace Not Guns” program in South and Southwest following the tragic death of a family member to gunshots. He is presently responding to the 40 percent increase in deaths due to the use of guns – 35 people shot down in the city as of January 27, 2020.
The Myers event is part of a month-long series of events that included a round table discussion with the families of gun violence victims at Philadelphia City Hall on February 12. Sharing stories of the anguish these families have suffered, all agreed that the city needs to put a greater effort into preventing the violence plaguing our streets and homes. The sad event featured large signs and posters showing the faces of lost ones.
On Wednesday, February 19, Councilman Johnson slated a Safety Walk which focused on crimes occurring in or near the Girard Estates in South Philly. Partnering with him were members of the 1st Police District and Town Watch members in that area.
“Gun violence is a persistent, growing threat to the safety and well-being of communities throughout Philadelphia and America,” Johnson was quoted as saying. “City Council has recognized gun violence as a public health crisis in Philadelphia and these new Council hearings on the impact of gun violence will give the chance for victims of gun violence to voice their concerns and what resources the City of Philadelphia is providing to support them. The hearing will also examine what anti-violence programs are working, which programs are not and what we have to do as Philadelphians to reduce the murder rate plaguing our city.”
Added to the incessant murders were another 1,400 non-fatal shootings in Philadelphia in 2019 according to the Councilman. “The victims of violence often suffer long-term disability, including paralysis, organ malfunction, and chronic pain,” he stressed.
Councilman Johnson may be reached at his office, (215) 686-3412.