PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Gun violence continues to be a growing problem in Philadelphia and more and more young people are being impacted. So far this year, 110 children have been injured or killed as a result of gun violence.
On Tuesday night, community members gathered at a town hall meeting aimed at fighting gun violence that’s striking the city’s youth.READ MORE: Driver Of Car That Hit Pennsauken School Bus Was Under The Influence Of Drugs, Police Say
It’s become a tipping point for many young people throughout Philadelphia.
A few dozen young people are gathering in hopes of curbing the violence plaguing those under 18.
“We have to wake them up and get them in the rooms to hear what they have to say,” Warren Upchurch, with the nonprofit New Options More Opportunity, said.
Upchurch says he’s glad more than three dozen teens gathered at the community center in Wharton Square Park in Point Breeze at a forum to show violence simply should not be tolerated.
“We see that there is a lot of normalcy when it comes to crime, when it comes to death, wearing the T-shirts and going to vigils. It’s become the norm and it’s become socially acceptable, even by the youth,” Upchurch said.
This year alone, 110 children and teenagers have been hurt or killed due to gun violence.READ MORE: Southwark School In South Philadelphia Becomes 5th School Closed Due To COVID Outbreak
Dajuan Williams is one of them. He was shot in the foot when a man he didn’t know opened fire into a crowd after a high school football game.
“Everybody was running and I’m bleeding on the floor,” he said.
Just 14 years old, Dajuan says part of the problem is a lack of male leadership in many households.
“Nowadays it’s just one-parent households, it’s just the mom. The dad is either behind bars or on the streets, not in the child’s life,” Dajuan said.
Seventeen-year-old Akayla Brown agrees with Dejuan and hopes her mission to speak out against violence leads to others her age doing the same.
“I think the community itself needs to change. I think everybody needs to come together and stop being a tough guy and realize these are people’s lives at stake,” Akayla said. “Picking up a gun is not respectful in any type of way.”MORE NEWS: 'It's Been A Dark 2 Years.' Silent Walk Held For Dulce Maria Alavez, Who Went Missing 2 Years Ago
Those in attendance also say drug dealing is a major factor in all of the violence, so they are also calling for more meaningful jobs, especially for teenagers.