Operation Hug The Block: Anti-violence groups march through troubled Philly neighborhoods at night

Organizers in Philadelphia believe it will literally take a sleepless effort to stop the alarming trend of gun violence plaguing the city.

Members of anti-violence groups Philly Truce and Stop Killing Us have come together for ‘Operation Hug The Block,' a self-described "peace patrol" that marches through troubled Philadelphia neighborhoods from 10 p.m. through 4 a.m. 

The peace-keeping mission, now in its fourth week, was threatened over the weekend when organizers encountered a man who they say intimidated them at the intersection of A Street and Indiana Avenue in Kensington. 

Mazzie Casher told FOX 29 a man in a mask and hoodie road past the group on his bike and "circled around for a while." He eventually demanded the group to stop marching through the street, then threatened them with violence when they ignored him.


The threat hasn't wavered organizers who say they refuse to give in to threats of gun violence. Operation Hug The Block is now demanding members of Philadelphia City Council denounce threats of violence made against them. 

"We asked them all to come out publicly and denounce this type of behavior," Jamal Johnson said. "We're even going as far as to ask for consideration of a funded pilot program of this that could make this a sustainable option to police shortages."

Councilmember Kendra Brooks recently met with members of Hug The Block, and offered her assistance to promote and protect the group. Organizers want councilmembers to patrol with them for at least one night.

"I'm definitely 100% on denouncing this behavior or these threats to our folks that are on the ground making sure our communities are safe," Brooks said. "Whatever they need, I'm willing to be available and whatever services I can do to assist."

Organizers say while the threat is concerning, it's also encouraging to their effectiveness of their overall goals. 

"I think if we weren't being effective, we wouldn't have gotten the threat," Johnson said.