PHILADELPHIA - City leaders and grieving mothers came together to remember the victims of gun violence in a vigil at the Broad Street Ministry Wednesday night. This year alone, 45 mothers have lost a child under the age of 21 to gun violence.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney was in attendance. Last month, he pledged to make fighting gun violence a top priority of his second term, using $5 million dollars to fund a new crisis prevention team, improve street lighting, and carrying out blight remediation, cleaning up abandoned spaces where guns may be stored.
“It’s all about money,” said Mayor Kenny. “If you look at the things we face, two major issues in Philadelphia are gun violence, homicides and drugs. It all came about because of greed.”
- Mayor Kenney unveils new plan to prevent gun violence in Philadelphia
- Philadelphia looks to crack down on gun violence with comprehensive new program
- Gun violence forum draws hundreds in North Philadelphia
Vigil organizers say the city is in crisis and task forces are not enough.
“This is my son. He was 24 years old and shot seven times over a parking space” said Dorothy Johnson-Speight who held her son in a gold picture frame. She would give anything to hold his hand. “It’s a pain that is unbearable. A pain that no one should endure.”
Aleida Garcia was also at the vigil to honor her son. She tells FOX 29 she remembers where she was when two detectives told her Alex Garcia was shot fifteen times and killed after a night out in North Philadelphia in 2015.
“I lost it. I fell to the floor. I started screaming. There was another teacher in the area that was holding me,” she said.
Mourners read names of those who died and shared their stories in front of portraits of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre. Dec. 14 marks seven years since 20 children and six educators were murdered at the hand of a gunman.
Garcia shares her words of encouragement to mothers grieving the loss of a child.
“Don’t lose faith, hang on. This is the worst thing that could happen to you,” she said.
For resources for victims of violence in Philadelphia, see here.
For the latest local news, sports and weather, download the FOX 29 News app.
DOWNLOAD: FOX 29 NEWS APP