Abby Cruz and Kasim Kabbara, ABC News, October 24, 2021
Joshua Corneilius, 17, should be enjoying his senior year of high school, but instead, he is constantly worried about the violence occurring both inside and outside of his North Philadelphia school.
In the last year, nine kids at Simon Gratz High School were shot to death — three of them just last month, the school’s principal, Leyondo Dunn, told ABC News.
“It’s a war zone, like with the drugs, with the guns, with the violence, it’s a real war zone. It’s a real dog-eat-dog world, like it’s not for anybody that’s soft,” Corneilius said. “If you live in Philly, you’re going to naturally become hard … like you’re going to have armor, like you’ll have a shield.”
Since 2015, more than 10,000 people have been shot in Philadelphia, and of those, three out of four were Black males. More than 80% of homicide victims in the city over the las year were Black males, according to city data.
In 2019, Black children and teens made up only 14% of all children and teens in the city, and yet they accounted for 43% of child and teen gun deaths and are four times more likely to be killed with guns than their white peers, data from The Children’s Defense Fund shows.
Philadelphia has seen 41 victims under the age of 18 die from gun violence so far this year, according to the City of Philadelphia’s Office of the Controller.