Guns are the problem. Congress and the President can fix that.
We know thoughts and prayers won’t stop access to military-style weapons. Tweeting condolences without following it up with legislative action does absolutely nothing to stop this daily violence — 33,000 Americans die from gun deaths every single year.
But Congress and our President have decided that this is acceptable.
They’ve made the deliberate choice to swap our children’s futures, their lives, for campaign contributions and political support from the gun industry.
Here’s what we’re doing in Philadelphia
We have taken action on the local level to help. We created the Office of Violence Prevention last year, which is reviewing the City’s spending on violence prevention and trying to make it more effective.
We’re also investing significantly in our education system, starting with pre-k and through 12th grade, and looking to create supports for some of the unique challenges our students face.
We’re adding 22 social workers to schools to help with behavioral health supports. So many of our students grow up around violence and trauma. These social workers will try to help stop them from getting stuck in that cycle of violence themselves.
But still more must be done…
I wish we could say we are proud of Congress for taking action.
I wish we could hear Congress say that our kids should be safe in schools — and that the people on the streets of Philadelphia do not deserve to die because it’s too easy to get a gun.
I wish we could do more to pass legislation in Philadelphia to ban assault style weapons. But when City Council has tried to pass legislation to ban guns, the Pennsylvania Courts have struck down our bans.
On March 27, I attended a youth-led town hall on gun violence. Too many of Philly’s children have experienced heart-breaking violence in their own lives.
This event allowed them to share their stories and talk about solutions. It was inspiring to see so many residents committed to creating safer communities.
If we’re going to make meaningful change, we must work together.
We cannot become numb. We cannot let our pain prevent us from action.
For those of you who continue to advocate for gun control, thank you — and please don’t give up.