Gun violence in Philadelphia has prompted many groups to raise proposals to address it; among those voices is the Black Clergy, which has presented a plan to reduce the surge of this terrible plague.
According to a Philadelphia Tribune report, Rev. Gregory Holston, chairman of the Criminal Justice Reform and Violence Prevention Committee for the clergy group, compared gun violence with a virus behavior.
“It’s spreading to our children and our young people who are picking up the habits and the culture and the anger and the hostility that is happening in their own community and they are picking it up and spreading it, one to another,” he said during a news conference Thursday at Janes Memorial United Methodist Church in Germantown.
Holston believes that just as in the treatment of a virus, prevention plays an important role in solving the problem of violence. “We have to intervene early in their lives to be able to make sure that we stop the spread of this virus.”
Considering that one-third of the shooting victims this year has been under the age of 18, the Black clergy group has made four recommendations to help curb the violence.
One recommendation calls for the organization to work with City Council, District Attorney Larry Krasner, Mayor Jim Kenney, and state and federal elected officials to create a public-private partnership to raise $100 million for grassroots organizations that are offering community-based violence solutions.
Another proposal from the Black Clergy group recommends that Kenney appoint a deputy mayor to address violence suppression comprehensively. Holston said that this official should be empowered to summon the city government and officials responsible for public safety.
The organization also urged officials to fight in Harrisburg for city schools to be fairly funded. “If we want to change gun violence in our community, it also starts with bettering our schools,” Holston said. “Let’s fight for fair funding for our schools and make a difference for our children.”
In addition, the Black clergy group also called for the development of a Philadelphia Marshall Plan to rebuild the city, which has been impacted after losing thousands of factory jobs. The initiative would be patterned after the Marshall Plan developed by the U.S. to rebuild Europe after World War II.
Holston’s recommendations were accompanied by the presence of other clergy leaders, elected officials and leaders of community-based organizations.
The organization´s plan comes as more than 100 people have been killed in Philadelphia so far this year.