PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It may be the holiday season, but one group is taking “no days off” from addressing the city’s gun violence.
Dozens of elected officials, including Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, community stakeholders and supporters showed up to Canaan Baptist Church for the day-long summit. Many also came out to turn over their weapons, no questions asked, in exchange for a $100 gift card.
“There were people that had guns that were in their homes and they didn’t want them in there any longer,” said Carol Parkinson-Hall, president of the Omega Omega chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. “We had a couple of women that brought in several guns and were able to get gift cards. We gave $100 for every gun and so I think it was successful. It’s a good start.”
Parkinson-Hall helped organized the event, called “Gun Violence: Beyond a Conversation.” The 39th Police District helped coordinate the gun buyback program.
The opening panel was headed by commmunity activist Michael Coard, and featured Krasner, along with survivors of gun violence and advocates for the reduction of gun violence. Following the panel, there was an overview from state and city officials to talk about legislation in the works.
In addition to getting some guns off the street, Parkinson-Hall said the day was also productive because they formed a coalition to help put their goals into action. “We’re gonna look at some of the laws, and some that are still in committee, that need to be out of committee, and to be passed and voted on,” she explained.
“We are formulating a plan that will go into effect following the summit,” added Pastor Derick Brennan, Sr. “It was critical for us to come together to collaborate so we can have exponential impact.”
In addition to future meetings, Parkinson-Hall suggested more gun buyback events were on the agenda. “We need to promote that so that we get the guns off of the street,” she said.