Michael D’Onofrio, Philadelphia Tribune, September 18, 2108
With shootings on the rise in the city, Solomon joined a coalition of Black men and community groups — along with Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams — who called for a cease-fire and halt to the shootings.
“We are in a crisis, particularly the African-American community,” said Bilal Qayyum, founder and president of the Father’s Day Rally Committee.
The city has logged 234 homicides this year as of Sunday, an increase of 8 percent from the same time in 2017, according to the Philadelphia Police Department’s online database.
About 84 percent of those killed have been overwhelmingly Black: 177 Black men and 20 Black women, according to a police spokesman.
Through Sunday, there also had been 1,193 shooting incidents with 961 shooting victims among them, said the police spokesman.
Williams, the sheriff, said he and groups have been working for years to reduce gun violence, “but the message is just not getting there.”
Mell Wells, president of One Day at a Time, said Black communities have to admit there is a problem.
“It’s time to start raising hell about what we’re doing to one another,” he said. “About these babies who are dying in our street. … we’ve got to start … putting down the guns and start helping out one another by watching each others’ back.”
Terry Starks, founder and executive director of the Urban Crisis Response Center, said neighborhoods need more community organizing, community engagement and youth programs.
Qayyum said the coalition will initiate jobs projects and programs to encourage the proliferation of Black-owned businesses before the end of the year with the goal of reducing gun violence.