HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Days after the South Street mass shooting, survivors of crime and their families headed to the state capitol on Tuesday demanding support from lawmakers.
“I am not powerless. I have power inside of me. My voice matters and that’s why ‘Survivor Speaks’ is so important,” survivor Valerie Todd said.READ MORE: Man Killed In Apparent Road Rage Shooting In Springfield, Authorities Say
Using their voice as power, about 500 survivors of crime and their families rallied in Harrisburg calling for more support for victims and communities. Among other things, Todd says she’s survived being shot and assaulted.
“Every individual is an encyclopedia of their own experiences and trauma needs to be addressed and dealt with effectively,” Todd said.
They’re calling for lawmakers to pass the Safer Pennsylvania Act. It would add protections for victims and incentivize rehabilitation programs for offenders.
“It’s important for us as survivors, as families who lost loved ones, to advocate for them, to help our communities heal,” Aswad Thomas, National Director of Crime Survivors for Safety & Justice, said.READ MORE: 21-Year-Old Woman Killed After Disgruntled Patron Fires At Least 15 Shots Into Northeast Philadelphia Bar, Police Say
State Rep. Amen Brown says that shooting is just the tip of the iceberg. Philadelphia police say 218 people have been killed so far this year and 946 have been shot.
“What we need to do is man up and do what we need to do for the people of Philadelphia because like everyone says, enough is enough,” Brown said.
While a gun control measure failed last month, there is bipartisan support for survivors.
“Today is just the beginning of a long march toward safety and healing in Harrisburg. I’m with you every step of the way,” state Rep. Natalie Mihalek said.MORE NEWS: Wawa Hoagie Day Giving Away Free Hoagies At Independence Mall Wednesday
“We need to see where there are gaps, how many families are left trying to do a GoFundMe to bury their loved one who was taken in such a tragic violent, traumatic manner. We can do more in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” state Rep. Joanna McClinton said.