“I’m sick of teddy bear memorials in my neighborhood,” City councilman Curtis Jones told the crowd gathered in LOVE Park for a rally put together by PeaceNPhilly and the Philadelphia Youth Council to stand against violence in the city. Jones addressed the severity of the problem, but impressed upon the listeners that a solution is possible. He commended the large constituency of young people who came to the rally, encouraging them that “there is no movement in the history of this country that has done it without young people getting involved…. I’m proud of you, and we’re going to fight for you in city hall.” (Full video of City Council members Jones and Blackwell’s opening statements)
The event was hosted by Darcel Grant and Izzo from Hot 107.9, and also featured short speeches by rally-organizer Nehemiah Davis, city councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, the family of Maurice Kimble, Movita Johnson Harrell, the founder of The Charles Foundation and Tyree Dumass, the co-founder of DollarBoyz, who also performed. A number of local poets also took the stage, including Luis Marrero from Voices in Power.
The event organizers sold t-shirts and tote bags with the image “PEACE’NPHILLY,” the proceeds of which go entirely to supporting groups working to end the violence.