Do Something

Solutions for gun violence

Learn more here about Cure Violence, a broad community approach to preventing and reducing gang violence that treats violence as an infectious disease.

The Roca Impact Institute is offering communities and institutions that are committed to ending gun violence a coaching program to learn their CBT-based approach to violence intervention. You can learn more and support their work here.

Drexel University’s Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice operates Helping Hurt People in Philadelphia for survivors and witnesses to violence, from ages 8 to 35. Read more about the program and support them here.

State Senator Art Haywood, representing parts of northwestern Philly and eastern Montgomery County, has demanded Mayor Kenney take action on proposals other communities have used to curb gun violence. You can read these proposals, watch the April 2022 webinar on reducing violence, view proposed legislation, and sign up as an advocate for gun violence prevention on the Senator’s official website.

Read the proposal from former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart and Councilmember Jamie Gauthier delivered to Mayor Kenney last year on place-based strategies to reduce crime.

Community-based violence intervention programs have been used for twenty years to reduce violence in communities by as much as 60%, but they require funding and commitment. Read more about how CVI programs work here.

The CDC offers a comprehensive resource guide to preventing youth violence by addressing risk factors from the individual level to societal levels.


Citizen of the Year!

Submit your nomination now

For the first time, The Philadelphia Citizen is celebrating the all-star citizens among us with our inaugural Citizen of the Year Awards. Is there someone in your community you call a role model? Do you know an educator tirelessly working to uplift the next generation? How about a business leader investing in the community and generating opportunities?

Learn more about the Citizen of the Year Awards and nominate a good citizen, changemaker, a leader, right here.

Be a better Philadelphia Citizen

Here's how

One of the founding tenets of The Philadelphia Citizen is to get people the resources they need to become better, more engaged citizens of their city.

We hope to do that in our Good Citizenship Toolkit, which includes a host of ways to get involved in Philadelphia—whether you want to contact your City Councilmember about tackling rising gun violence, get those experiencing homelessness the goods they need, or simply go out to dinner somewhere where you know your money is going toward a greater good.

Find an issue that’s important to you in the list below, and get started on your journey of A-plus citizenship.

Vote and strengthen democracy

Stand up for marginalized communities

Create a cleaner, greener Philadelphia

Help our local youth and schools succeed

Support local businesses


To this story in CitizenCast

Welcome to a special author-read edition of LuQman Abdullah’s story

And go here for more audio articles from CitizenCast

Guest Commentary: The Team Philly Needs Now

A shooting survivor and anti-violence advocate has a plan — inspired by our pro sports teams — to get the whole city behind stopping violence

Guest Commentary: The Team Philly Needs Now

A shooting survivor and anti-violence advocate has a plan — inspired by our pro sports teams — to get the whole city behind stopping violence

Wherever you get your news, you probably see some of the same headlines:

Our gun violence prevention programs are failing to meet their goals!
People are up in arms over a proposed new Sixers arena!
The new mayor should do this or that!
We love our sports teams (when we’re not busy loving to hate them)!

With all of these ideas swirling in my head, we came up with an idea:

What if we Philadelphians approached our gun violence crisis as if it were one of our professional sports teams, like the Eagles or Sixers or Phillies? What if we rallied everyone behind this movement to prevent violence the way the teams rally everyone in the city behind their sports? What if we celebrated the heroes who are keeping our streets safe the way we do Jalen Hurts and Bryce Harper — and celebrate the wins the way we do when our teams bring home a banner (or even just eke out a victory)?

Here’s what it could look like.

Step 1: Hold a citywide “draft”

For just a minute, let’s stop debating the merits or shortcomings of a new Sixers arena, and focus our attention on using one of our existing arenas for a bold idea. Use the Linc, or the Wells Fargo Center, or the Bank, to convene every single individual and group who is currently involved with gun violence work or who wants to be involved with the work. I mean literally everyone — schools, City departments, nonprofits, businesses, politicians, kids, grandparents … .enough people to fill a Philadelphia sports stadium.

Get everyone — along with every pro athlete in the city who cares about our residents (we know there are a lot of them) — in one place. Invoke the kind of solidarity and spirit our city typically reserves only for Eagles games and post-season Phillies celebrations on Broad Street.

There is a lot of talk about how the next Mayor will be tasked with addressing our gun violence epidemic. And it’s true that Mayors can take action like declaring a state of emergency, directing resources, and hiring people to make a difference. But if we really want to change our gun violence problem, we have to come together as a community — as citizens who care.

The prevention, intervention, and treatment component of our city’s violence prevention strategy should address the needs of the community and help prevent crime and violence by addressing the risk and protective factors associated with drug abuse, violence, and crime. Coordinated efforts of law enforcement, community groups, social service agencies, private sector businesses, and residents help improve the provision of services.

Prevention, intervention, and treatment must include youth services, school programs, and social programs. Safe havens in each area of the city, for example, could provide a mechanism for organizing and delivering an array of youth- and adult-oriented human services in a multiservice center setting such as a school or community site. Every violence prevention site should have at least one safe haven.

Step 2: Grind – together

Many of the groups who have received significant funding for gun violence prevention work have been coming under scrutiny for mishandling funds or not meeting their stated goals (or both). While I believe there are measures that should’ve been put in place to avoid these outcomes — like making sure organizations have boards, employees, and financial oversight in place — the bigger problem is that so much of the anti-violence work being done right now is taking place in silos, without any organized collaboration. What ends up happening is redundancies in some places, and total gaps in others.

Instead, we should run our violence prevention initiatives as a sports franchise would. We need a GM, a coaching staff, government relations, public relations, finance, social media, outreach, sales, and so on.

Critically, we need to ensure that all departments communicate with each other regularly.

So much of the anti-violence work being done right now is taking place in silos, without any organized collaboration.

Remember during the pandemic, how mayors from different cities would regularly meet via Zoom to discuss best practices and share resources? That’s what people involved in gun violence prevention need to do more of: Organize; delegate; communicate; collect data; iterate; improve. I’m not arguing for increased bureaucracy or hierarchical layers or middle managers for the sake of org charts. To the contrary, I’m arguing for efficiency, structure, and communication along the lines of what our city has done for mega-events like the Pope’s visit. We can do this. We have done it!

Let’s take the sports analogy one step further: We should create a citywide contest for citizens of any age to come up with a team name and a logo for this anti-violence team. We should sell merchandise to raise money for resources, and give away merch to anyone who wants to proudly wear it to spread the message against violence!

We should publish stats about violence every day — not just our murder rate, but other measures of violence and safety as well, like special community events that focus attention on crime prevention and help galvanize support for preventing crime, violence, and drug and youth-led community service projects that make their communities less vulnerable and hospitable to drug dealers. There is an age-appropriate way to involve every single person in our city in this work, to get everyone involved and invested.

Step 3: Review the tapes. Look for successes…and the failures. 

The way our athletes review game tapes to boost on-field performance, evaluating our community projects is very important. Almost as important as understanding what evaluation is, is understanding what it is not: Evaluation is not just summarizing what has been done, or reporting that there were no problems. It’s also not just seeking feedback from people who were involved to see whether they were happy with what we have done. And it’s not about saying that people who received the service or product we delivered are better off, simply because it now exists, without any evidence to support this conclusion.

A good evaluation can determine whether a project has been implemented as planned, what outcomes have been delivered as a result, and whether the stated objectives of a project have been achieved. It can also tell you the reasons that a project did or did not work. Thorough evaluation, especially when it comes to gun violence prevention, is essential, not only for the lives it may or may not have saved, but also to know if the program should continue, and how, and how much funding it needs, and what needs to change, and where else it might be successful.:

Step 4: Celebrate the wins

You know what the best part of being a Philly sports fan is? Being with other Philly sports fans. That’s why, working together, our city’s new “team” should celebrate its wins. When the murder rate goes down, we should have a parade. When school violence incidents go down, we should have a parade.

We should have trading cards celebrating folks who are making a real difference. We should have community dinners and award ceremonies. We should constantly cultivate opportunities for young people to teach and lead.

We should constantly reward and celebrate creativity, energy and effort loudly and with spirit. Whenever possible, let young people take the lead on the form the celebration will take.

With all of that in mind, let’s get to work, and let’s go Team!

The Citizen welcomes guest commentary from community members who represent that it is their own work and their own opinion based on true facts that they know firsthand.

This piece is supported by the Credible Messenger Reporting Project, an initiative of the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting.



The Philadelphia Eagles parade up Broad Street during a Super Bowl victory parade, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, in Philadelphia. Photo courtesy Visit Philly

The Philadelphia Citizen will only publish thoughtful, civil comments. If your post is offensive, not only will we not publish it, we'll laugh at you while hitting delete.

Be a Citizen Editor

Suggest a Story

Advertising Terms

We do not accept political ads, issue advocacy ads, ads containing expletives, ads featuring photos of children without documented right of use, ads paid for by PACs, and other content deemed to be partisan or misaligned with our mission. The Philadelphia Citizen is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization and all affiliate content will be nonpartisan in nature. Advertisements are approved fully at The Citizen's discretion. Advertisements and sponsorships have different tax-deductible eligibility. For questions or clarification on these conditions, please contact Director of Sales & Philanthropy Kristin Long at [email protected] or call (609)-602-0145.