PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Gun violence in Philadelphia is prompting some young people to say enough is enough. Students from several schools across Philadelphia rallied Tuesday to demand action from officials.
Children growing up in Philadelphia know gun violence is a major issue. Some are used to hearing bullets blast through their neighborhoods. Some have also had loved ones injured or killed in shootings.READ MORE: 21-Year-Old Woman Killed After Disgruntled Patron Fires At Least 15 Shots Into Northeast Philadelphia Bar, Police Say
On Tuesday, students gathered to call for action.
“Who’s city? Our city!” students chanted.
Holding signs that read “stop the shooting,” hundreds of students from several Philadelphia schools rallied against gun violence outside of City Hall Tuesday.
“Hands up, don’t shoot! Hands up, don’t shoot!” students chanted.
These are also just some of the 1,300 Philadelphia students who filled out a new survey from the Students Against Gun Violence campaign.
It found that 50% of youth worry about their own safety.
“Did you hear the gunshots last night, awaking kids on school nights?” a student said.
Eyewitness News found some of these students are used to hearing gunfire, like Asanyi Clark-Bolden.
“It’s been happening all my life, so when I hear I just be like ‘Oh, that’s just somebody else being killed.’ It’s really nothing new. Yeah, it’s normal,” 11th-grade student Asanyi said.
Eyewitness News covered the aftermath of the murder of Asanyi’s cousin, who was gunned down two years ago. He was just 12-year-old. Police never made an arrest.
And kids continue to be killed.
Eyewitness News found of the more than 200 homicide victims in Philly this year, 17 victims have been children.
“Why are you shooting our babies?” a student asked.
Tuesday’s anti-violence rally comes a week since the school massacre in Texas and after a very violent Memorial Day weekend in Philadelphia where 15 people were killed in shootings between Friday and Monday.READ MORE: Man Killed In Road Rage Shooting In Springfield Identified, Authorities Say
“This weekend was one of the bloodiest weekends that we’ve seen in Philadelphia,” Philadelphia City Councilmember Isaiah Thomas said.
But students say there are solutions.
“Stricter laws,” Asanyi said.
“Guns being taken off the streets,” said another student.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw tweeted that far too many people have illegal firearms, adding officers are doing everything they can to bring justice to those impacted by gun violence.
The violence that we experienced over the holiday weekend is unimaginable. Far too many people are illegally utilizing firearms, and their actions are destroying lives & entire communities. We cannot allow these crimes to go unanswered, and will do everything in our power to…
— Danielle M. Outlaw (@PPDCommish) May 31, 2022
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf also tweeted in support of the students rallying, saying “you shouldn’t have to beg your legislators to keep you safe at school.”
To the Philly students rallying against gun violence: I see you.
You shouldn’t have to beg your legislators to keep you safe at school.
We must close background check loopholes, enact red flag laws, add safe storage requirements, and strengthen mandatory reporting of lost guns.
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) May 31, 2022
“We didn’t get here overnight,” Steven Pickens said.
Pickens is the co-creator of the Philly Truce app. This platform allows anyone who senses danger to anonymously get help and resources and stop the violence before it escalates.
“We primarily target the youth because they hear things and they know things long before they happen,” Pickens said.
Pickens knows that young people are key to solving this problem. He’s always trying to reach kids by visiting schools or being present in Philadelphia neighborhoods.
But to tackle the crime, Pickens says it’s going to be a team effort.
“Let’s be hopeful, let’s work together and know that we can get through this,” Pickens said.
Philly Truce is always looking for volunteers. Commissioner Outlaw also reminded everyone that there is an anonymous tip line for any shooting or homicide.MORE NEWS: Crime Without Punishment: Homicide Clearance Rates Are Dropping In Philadelphia As Murder Rates Skyrocket
CBS3’s Ross, DiMattei, Matt Petrillo and Kerri Corrado contributed to this report.