Do Something

It's past time to address violence with action, not just words

We have data-driven, research-backed, proven methods of curtailing gun violence in our city at our disposal. What we need is for our city government to take action.

  • 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 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 City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart and Councilmember Jamie Gauthier delivered to Mayor Kenney last year on place-based strategies to reduce crime.
  • Gun buyback programs help reduce guns on the street. Stay updated on gun buyback events in Philadelphia here.

Find out who represents you on the city council and reach out to let them know that you want to see programs and initiatives that curb gun violence implemented immediately.

Here you can find the schedule for the Philadelphia City Council meetings as well as instructions on how to sign up to speak. You can review the agendas on the calendar here and watch meetings live here.

The official website for the Office of the Mayor provides basic contact information including the phone number, but you can also reach out using this form.

Make sure you are registered to vote and cast your ballot! The general election is on Tuesday, November 8th. Here is everything you need to know about how to vote!


More than numbers

What data tells us about gun violence in America

An image of a city in crisis, no matter how disheartening, can be more impactful than raw numbers. From the Office of the Controller, this is an interactive map of violence in Philadelphia. View and interact with data going back to 2015 on homicides and shootings in the city. Each data point is a person injured or killed.

For a national context, The Gun Violence Archive is a stark repository of the statistics on gun violence in America. Here you can export research data, view maps and Congressional reports, and review almost in real-time the toll that guns have exacted on us. Remember that each of these numbers is a person with a story. 

Get Involved

Engaged citizens strengthen democracy

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 to voice your concerns about 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.

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To this story in CitizenCast

Welcome to the enhanced audio edition of Daniel Gurevitch’s story

And go here for more audio articles from CitizenCast

Guest Commentary: “I want to go home. I want my brother”

A bystander of the Fourth of July shooting points out a fact of gun violence in America: Most are not mass shootings, but the everyday violence that plagues communities.

Guest Commentary: “I want to go home. I want my brother”

A bystander of the Fourth of July shooting points out a fact of gun violence in America: Most are not mass shootings, but the everyday violence that plagues communities.

I see Adam, a 10-year-old stranger, outside a random apartment building on the Parkway. His head rests in his hands, his feet shake, and his voice whimpers. As an unsettling bombardment of fireworks and gunshots fire 50 feet away from us, I walk up to him, and he looks up to me. The words barely tumble out of his mouth, the shock still placed on his young shoulders, as he says to me, a near stranger, “I want to go home. I want my brother.”

There was an active shooter less than a three-minute walk from where we were. Adam’s parents weren’t answering his calls and he couldn’t find his brother. They, like my friend group and many others, fled from the Art Museum and were separated when shots were fired nearby around 9:47pm Monday night. A few gunshots had punctured the blissful festivities of July 4th, causing a blend of fear, adrenaline, and anxiety to gush out, all of which twisted through Adam.

While I was thankful that Adam and his brother were home safe, I couldn’t help but replay Adam’s fearful words. “Why is this happening? Is it safe to leave now?”

Despite the chaos, the national media has scarcely reported on the shooting in Philadelphia as it does not qualify as a mass shooting. Therein lies the problem: While a disturbing epidemic, mass shootings account for a sliver of a fraction of a minority of gun deaths in the U.S. The larger issue, the one rarely focused on, is daily shootings like the one in Philadelphia where “only” a few people are injured or killed. The majority of gun murders result from handguns, and, despite public outcry, just 3 percent from assault rifles. Moreover, to date in 2022, over 22,000 people have died as a result of non-mass shooting gun deaths compared with the 340 people murdered as a result of mass shootings.

These statistics paint an explicit picture: The U.S. has a gun problem predominantly centered on one-off murders and handguns, not on mass shootings and AR-15s. Maps displaying mass shootings are shocking; maps showing the number of deaths from all shootings appalling. Solving the mass shooting epidemic must go hand-in-hand with everyday gun violence. This isn’t to diminish the atrocity of a mass shooting, but to point out that, unfortunately, there exists much more that is wrong in our country and much more that we can do about it.

Philadelphia is a prime example of the issues with everyday gun violence as 2021 was the deadliest year on record for homicides in the city, and this horrific trend has continued into 2022. In mid-June, a lawyer was shot dead on Penn’s campus at 38th and Spruce, and on May 30, a father and his 9-yearold son were killed in Philadelphia driving home from a Memorial Day barbecue. The shooting on the Fourth painted an even clearer indictment of the mass of shootings, and not just mass shootings, plaguing the U.S. These events, unfortunately, have led to hundreds of Adams throughout the United States. Clearly, something must change.

Solving this larger gun problem first requires a cultural shift by the media, politicians, and everyday individuals to focus on mass shootings as well as other gun violence.

One institutional-based idea: instituting community-based gun buyback programs which will create a difficult-to-attain yet possible balance between respecting gun rights and promoting safety for non-mass shooting violence. The appeal of gun buyback programs lies in their ability to simultaneously reduce the amount of guns in a community, provide a method to safely dispose of rearms, and, importantly, to lead to a cultural shift away from guns.

The need for a solution became painstakingly clear when I woke up the morning after the Fourth of July to a phone call from an unknown number. The voice on the other line sounded young and shy, no more than 6 years old. He said to me, “Hi, I am Adam’s brother. Thank you for helping him get home safe.” He hung up before I could reply, the static of the now-empty airwaves leaving an eerie silence.

While I was thankful that Adam and his brother were home safe, I couldn’t help but replay Adam’s fearful words from the building lobby I had found him in just a few hours earlier.

“Why is this happening? Is it safe to leave now?”

DANIEL GUREVITCH is a freelance journalist who has been published in The Daily Pennsylvanian,, the South Philly Review, and The Northeast Times

The Citizen welcomes guest commentary from community members who stipulate to the best of their ability that it is fact-based and non-defamatory.



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