Marine veteran and anti-violence activist ends hunger strike after Mayor Kenney's response

A Marine's weeks-long hunger strike got the attention of Major Jim Kenney. It was a personal sacrifice to get the mayor to take action on a city council resolution on gun violence. 

"Friday I went out in front of City Hall as usual.  I fell asleep in the chair and I was awaken by the mayor," said Jamal Johnson.

He was taken by surprise when Mayor Kenney showed up on day 26 of the hunger strike Johnson started on MLK Day. 

"He basically fulfilled what I wanted. He's had the resolution for five months so he knows what it entails," said Johnson.

FOX 29's Shawnette Wilson interviewed him Feb. 4 with a statement from the city acknowledging Johnson's hunger strike which was also covered by several newspaper and television outlets. But it wasn't until last Friday as seen in a video provided by Purple Queen an internet radio personality and community activist that the mayor showed up. 

"The mayor said I do acknowledge the resolution and I will make efforts to try and implement all of the things within the resolution and then he asked me if I would get out of the cold," said Johnson.

Purple Queen says she caught up with the mayor earlier that day at one of his public appearances and questioned him about Johnson, encouraging him first to help get Johnson out of the cold because of his age and health. The mayor agreed. 

"I want to pledge the work to do what we can to fulfill the resolution and to get this gun violence under control and to keep young people from being killed," said the mayor to Johnson Friday. 

Johnson also feels if he had more visible support the mayor would have responded sooner. He hopes organizations and the community will band together more on gun violence. 

"Avoidable death ought to be avoided whether it's by the hands of police or us. And the death happening on our streets I truly believe can be avoided," said Johnson. 

I contacted the mayor's office for comment. A city spokesperson gave us this statement which reads in part:  

"The mayor said his administration continues to review our policies to better address these issues, and he is reviewing additional ways to draw public attention to the gun violence crisis." 

Johnson says he expressed that he wants the mayor to go forth with something from the resolution by this Friday. 


Marine veteran on hunger strike to draw attention to Philadelphia's rampant gun violence


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