Creators of Philly Truce app hope to prevent gun violence in Philadelphia

A local group is calling for a homicide-free holiday. The creators of an app and community organizations came together Tuesday for a launch event at Muhamad Park in West Philadelphia.

Mazzie Casher is the co-founder of the app. The idea behind the Philly Truce app is to squash the beef before they turn deadly and to engage people in the fight for peace.

"Canvass this immediate area, share some information and ask them to come out under direction and patrol and canvass their own neighbors," he said.

A lot of times when something violent happens people are too afraid to speak up. The app allows people to volunteer to help out or give anonymous tips so that violence interrupters can get involved.

"We are also letting people know that their desire, their deep longing for peace is not insanity," said Brother Tommy Joshua Kaison with Partners of Peace.  "We believe that a miracle is going to happen here in Philadelphia.  That miracle is going to be a reality of peace."

Last year, 59 people were shot and 10 people died during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The group says the bar isn’t high to lower those numbers this year with the hope of a day when no one associates the holiday with loss.

"I am sickened," said Andrea Custis.  "I am sad when I look at the number of people that are killing each other and hurting each other."

Custis is the President and CEO of the Urban League of Philadelphia. She said it’s important to give people opportunities when they reach out.

"It’s critical that people are well educated.  Job, the people who are killing people don’t have jobs. We have to invest in our people, the people that look like me.  Give them an opportunity for fair sustaining wages."

With the launch of the app, the group was out in person recruiting people to sign up to spread the word.

"We have been calling for a truce this Thanksgiving, also a ceasefire.  "So far we have distributed over 5,000 pieces of literature.  We have knocked on over 450 doors.  We have discussed a strategy going block by block with over two dozen local business leaders in the Carrol Park Section."

This is one of the hardest-hit areas in the city.

Volunteers went out into the neighborhood to recruit people to share their message of peace.

"When I hear the call that they are doing things like this I want to come out and support," said Ira Lark.  "That’s why I’m here hoping I can make a small impact with this big thing they are doing."

Marcetta Bellamy had a big smile on her face as the group walked by.

She said it’s good to see this group going door to door— but the entire community needs to buy-in.

"It can but we got to start inside," Bellamy said.  "They can come out here all they want.  It’s got to start inside we got to take back our families."

Pastor Keith Bethel with Christian Strongehold Baptist Church helped organize the kickoff event and he invited local politicians to join them and bring resources.

"Life matters and life is sacred, Bethel said.  "Somehow we’ve lost the idea that there should not be outrage when it comes to the loss of life in the city of Philadelphia."

After this ceasefire, they are calling for a Holliday Ceasefire around Kwanzaa and Christmas.

To download the app or sign up for a walk, please click here.



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