We didn’t know what to do when the Philly Geek Awards nominated the #GunCrisis Reporting Project for social media campaign honors, and offered us two tickets to attend their black-tie gala at the Academy of Natural Sciences.
So, we almost didn’t go — but we are really glad that we did. Not only did we win, but we were greeted with great enthusiasm by many new supporters, both online and off.
As always, we promised that we won’t celebrate before we can point to vast and sustained reduction in gun violence.
So, we dedicated the award to the seven people who had already been shot this weekend in Philadelphia.
We also said that the epidemic of homicide by gunfire in Philadelphia is worse than you are often led to believe, even in spite of this year’s dramatic reduction.
And we said that we know how to stop gun violence. Innovations in public health and criminology have led to double-digit, year-to-year reductions in gun violence — in other cities and in corners of our own. We just have to concentrate on what’s working, build a community that will accept no less, and the positive trends should continue.
Finally, we interrupted the party for a moment of silence, in remembrance of the hundreds of people who have been shot to death in Philadelphia year after year.
We regret that we forgot to congratulate the other winners and nominees, and to thank our presenter and hosts, but it was a great honor to be counted among the many people and projects working to make Philadelphia a better place.
And above all, it was indescribably encouraging to find our mission so warmly embraced. Even Philadelphia District Attorney Seth William followed up to Twitter, reaffirming our perceptions and thanking us for your work.
Next, we are planning to donate our prizes — two family memberships to the Academy of Natural Sciences — to two families impacted by gun violence. Let us know if you have suggestions.
Meanwhile, we found a nice place for the trophy, and got back to work a few hours later.
The Gun Crisis Reporting Project is an award-winning, independent, nonprofit journalism community striving to illuminate the epidemic of homicide by gunfire in Philadelphia — and to find solutions.