GERMANTOWN - Philadelphia officials, community leaders and concerned citizens all coming together to come up with a solution. It’s clear something has to be done to save our streets.
"The reason why people are out there selling drugs and robbing and killing is because of money," Nasir Shawqi stated.
Shawqi came out for a "Roadmap to Safer Communities" meeting Monday in Germantown, to talk about rampant gun violence across Philadelphia and what more needs to be done to stop it.
"What’s missing is that the kids need to see other faces like their face out there to be able to get a message out," Shawqi elaborated.
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Shawqi is the founder of "17 With Life" and says young people involved with crime need to hear from more people who have been in their shoes, but turned their lives around.
"My brothers had life in jail. They committed murder in the 14th Philadelphia Police District and they all received life at 17," Shawqi said.
He says they were released and that he, too, was incarcerated and now uses their story to prevent kids from making the same mistake.
"When you sell drugs, it puts you in an entrepreneur state of mind and then the job from the drugs…it’s hard for them to transition to that type of spot. That’s why you offer them entrepreneurship, such as food carts, such as detailing. The things that are out there that they think is not for them," Shawqi explained.
Bernadette Davis, Founder of "Restoring Our Hope and Belief" outreach came out to share resources.
"We want to make sure they have access to art and access to cooking and photography and things that will get them off the street and propel them into a future," Davis commented.
Davis says she is learning the 10 to 15-year-old age group is a good target. "Get them off the street and be able to provide them with skills and learning. Give them incentives for doing so."
The crowd broke into groups to share concerns and ask questions. Philadelphia police were in attendance and one had a message for parents.
"We need the parents, the adults in the neighborhood to talk to your kids, keep track of your kids, discipline your kids, so they don’t go off the tracks at some point. This will help us," Captain Frazer remarked.