For The Citizen’s original podcast, Philly Under Fire, journalist, author and podcaster Jo Piazza and associate producer Nadira Goffe spent a year on the streets of Philadelphia trying to understand Philly’s gun violence epidemic—and exploring ways to solve it.
As of April 20, 2021, there have been 154 homicides in Philadelphia—a 36 percent increase over 2020—and 440 nonfatal shootings. That’s on top of a year when shootings skyrocketed: By the end of 2020, 499 of our neighbors had been murdered, and another 2,200 shot.
For their reporting, Piazza and Goffe talked to victims, mothers, health care providers, city officials, journalists who have covered the violence, and dedicated grassroots leaders here and around the country who are devoting their lives to stopping the spread of this violent epidemic.
You’ll hear from all of them and more in Philly Under Fire. The deeply reported and heart-wrenching seven-part series will alternately devastate, move and shock listeners—and, hopefully, fuel action. Find the full episode guide below.
In the first episode, Piazza speaks with the founder of the Philadelphia Obituary Project, an initiative that seeks to honor victims of shooting homicide with thoughtful obituaries, as told by family and friends. Piazza also looks at what local leaders are doing to stop gun violence in Philadelphia, and calls out those who have failed to take enough tangible action.
Piazza talks to Philadelphia health officials, who equate Philly’s gun violence trauma to something we can all understand: an epidemic.
In this episode of Philly Under Fire, reporter Jo Piazza introduces listeners to organizations in Philly and elsewhere—Chicago, Oakland—that have made meaningful progress to reduce shootings, even if it hasn’t been easy. Can we bring these ideas here?
In this episode of Philly Under Fire, The Citizen’s look at the stories and solutions to gun violence in Philly, reporter Jo Piazza introduces listeners to organizations in Philly and elsewhere—Chicago, Oakland—that have made meaningful progress, even if it hasn’t been easy.
In this episode, we talk to a handful of young people in Philadelphia who have spent their entire lives surrounded by gun violence and its impacts, and have had enough: They’re taking to the streets, with protests and community gatherings, to demand things to do after school and on weekends, mentorship, work, support. And we meet some of the players trying to meet those needs, from Councilman Isaiah Thomas to nonprofits like Mighty Writers and Philadelphia Youth Basketball.
In this episode host Jo Piazza introduces listeners to a handful of local survivors of gun violence—from a former history teacher who’s now devoting his life to uplifting youth before they have a chance to engage in violence, to men whose primary source of support comes from spending time with other survivors. We also learn about government and nonprofit agencies working to help victims and their families.
In the final and arguably most heartbreaking episode of Philly Under Fire, we’re introduced to the women who go from “mourning mothers” forced to identify their children at the city morgue to “women on a mission, detectives intent on solving their children’s murders,” because they don’t believe anyone else will.Photo by Elevated Angles / Visit Philadelphia