By KYW community affairs reporter Cherri Gregg


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  Today, marking Gun Violence Awareness Day, a North Philadelphia antiviolence group says it is joining a new national effort to curb the homicide epidemic.

Wearing orange ribbons and orange clothing to symbolize life, two dozen people stood in the headquarters of the group “Mothers in Charge,” on North Broad Street, reciting the names of loved ones who had been murdered.

They chanted “stop the violence” and pledged to stand for peace in the community.

“We look at homicide as a public health epidemic,” said Dorothy Johnson Speight, who started Mothers in Charge after her 24-year-old son, Khaaliq, was murdered several years ago.

Now, she’s partnering with other Philadelphia antiviolence groups, including Every Murder is Real and Justice For Alex Now, to join a national rally this Saturday on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

“We have buses that are coming from all over the country to join many of us who have lost loved ones, to say enough is enough,” Speight (wearing orange dress in photo) said today.  “We have five or six buses leaving from our headquarters here, we have buses leaving from Chester, (and) New Jersey.”

She says the groups plan to lobby for legislation to combat violence and to deal with the resulting trauma.

Also on hand today was former state senator and unsuccessful mayoral candidate Milton Street (far left in photo), who said that more adult men need to get involved in fighting violence in their communities.