PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Not long after a group in Philadelphia marched to end gun violence, a teenager was shot in the face in the city’s Overbrook neighborhood. Already this year, 97 people have been murdered in the city, which is more than this time last year.
People from all across Philadelphia, including from all walks of life and faith, took a stand against gun violence in the city on Friday.
“We pray for the day when parents don’t need to worry about whether or not their children will come home,” a Philadelphia woman said.
Living in Philadelphia, that’s a real concern for parents hoping their child isn’t the next statistic.
“I have a 16-year-old here, standing next to me and I need him safe,” Gail Sullivan-Ford said. “I don’t want to be the mother with the tears because she’s lost her child. This has to end.”
Sixty T-shirts lined the outside of St. George St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in West Philadelphia with the names of 2018 murder victims in the city.
That’s why people were marching – to try to prevent someone else from pulling the trigger.
Some who marched know the heartache of gun violence all too well.
“I heard a car screeched to a halt and two loud booms,” Pennsylvania Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell said. “The next thing I remember is that my pretty two-piece was covered in blood and my mother lay on the porch cupping my father as his chest lay wide open.”
Johnson-Harrell’s father was gunned down with a double-barrel shotgun. But years later, her own son’s life was taken in a case of mistaken identity.
“It’s not a Muslim problem, it’s not a Christian problem, it’s not a Jew problem,” Johnson-Harrell said. “It’s a green problem. It’s a money problem.”
But those who marched are hoping to be the change to that problem – even at just 16 years old.
“We are the people that are going to make a difference and I want to be a difference maker,” Sullivan-Ford’s 16-year-old said. “I want to be a changemaker. I want to help our society grow and comet together.”
And it’s that hope that is stronger than fear.
“We have so much hope for the future,” Gail Sullivan-Ford said. “Our young children in education – that’s where our hope is.”
Many faiths were present at the rally. Unfortunately, the Jewish community could not be there due to Passover but say they stand in solidarity.