Gun violence in this city—in every American city—is an untenable scourge. And it’s a scourge that unfairly affects those the least able to make change: Children, who can’t vote, don’t have the power of the checkbook, are often defenseless in the face of the horrors we adults afflict upon them.
That’s why Inquirer columnist Helen Ubiñas, our city’s leading voice for gun violence awareness, is asking for your help. For the fourth year in a row, Ubiñas is calling on every Philadelphian affected by gun violence—i.e., all of us—to fill the Art Museum steps to, as she puts it “stand shoulder to shoulder and commit to work against the violence and apathy that are constants in this city.”
Since 2016, Ubiñas’s rallying cry has drawn hundreds of people to the Art Museum. Last year, in the wake of the shooting at Parkland High School in Florida, Ubiñas passed the organizing reins off to students at Parkway Middle College High School, who drew triple the number of people to the event from 2017, including some Parkland survivors.
Columnist Helen Ubiñas witnessed a group of Philly students stand tall on Monday as they led a massive crowd that showed up to stand against gun violence. When she first met the children, they were unsure of whether to take part in the national school walkout in support of students from Parkland. They wondered why their lives didn't seem to matter as much.You showed them they do.
Posted by philly.com on Tuesday, June 12, 2018
This year—when more than 100 people have been killed already in Philadelphia—expect even more people to show up. They will be mothers, brothers, sisters, survivors, friends, doctors, neighbors from near and far—many of whose stories Ubiñas has chronicled in heartbreaking, galvanizing fashion over the last several years. Among the many people Ubiñas mentioned will be in attendance this week is Parkway teacher Maureen Boland, who will be there because of what she sees: “I will be standing on the steps with my students because 60 percent of my students report having lost a blood relative to gun violence,” she said. “This level of trauma is intolerable to me.”
Intolerable, indeed. Will you be a part of changing that?
See more from Philadelphians who plan to #FillTheSteps here.
Wednesday May 29th, 5 p.m., Free, Philadelphia Art Museum, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.Header: Tommy Rowan, via Twitter.