PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As Philadelphia continues to see rising gun violence, the Nicetown area has been particularly hit hard. This weekend marks the 18th year the Nicetown Community Development Corporation is giving community members a chance to embrace peace at its GiveBack Festival.
“We hope that they get a sense of community out of this weekend,” Zakariyya Abdur Rahman said.READ MORE: CBS3 Mysteries: Detectives Searching For Man They Believe Can Help Solve Santino Thomas' Murder Case
Abdur Rahman and his wife have been at the forefront of this initiative from the very beginning. It started with their two sons helping with the festivities, but for them, it’s become extremely personal after losing both sons to gun violence. They’ve created scholarships in their memory.
“The Zahir awards are for both our sons,” Abdur Rahman said. “They were not only both great young men who gave back to the community because they literally helped clean this park, set this whole thing up.”
Councilmember Cindy Bass represents the 8th District and sees the need for community events like this Friday and Saturday festival. It will provide entertainment, economic development, arts and culture.READ MORE: Sharon Hill Borough Council Launches Independent Investigation Into Fatal Shooting Of 8-Year-Old Fanta Bility
“Coming back into parks and into recreation centers and into public and saying we’re reclaiming this space,” Bass said. “This space may have been at one point used in negativity, but we’re turning that around.”
Nicetown Park is continuing to evolve into a safe haven for the community that surrounds it with a new playground. New walking trails will soon be coming as well as a new amphitheater for entertainment.
Stanley Crawford will be heading up a walk for peace to end gun violence. His son was murdered three years ago, spawning his organization Black Male Community Council of Philadelphia.
“Our motto is boots on the ground, all hands on deck and consistent consistency,” Crawford said. “So our goal is to be consistent in doing these things that we came up with, cleaning the community, securing the community.”MORE NEWS: 19-Year-Old Man Killed In Double Shooting Inside Port Richmond Home, Police Say
The free Give Back Festival runs from Friday, Aug. 13, to Saturday, Aug. 14, at Nicetown Park.