Community forum generates ideas for curbing gun violence

Pat Toddy
July 15, 2019 - 8:15 am
Community activist Darryl Shuler shakes hands with Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross.

Pat Toddy / KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — An event organized by Pa. Sen. Sharif Street and community activist Darryl Shuler drew about 1,000 people to the Met Philadelphia auditorium for a forum about solutions to gun violence on Sunday night.

Community forum participants submitted ideas aimed at stopping the rise in gun violence.
Pat Toddy / KYW Newsradio
Parents who lost kids to guns, and kids themselves brought pages of handwritten solutions aimed at stopping the rise in bloodshed. Shootings in his North Philadelphia neighborhood turned Jamol Manigault, just 14 years old, into an anti-violence advocate.

Manigault listened intently to ideas unveiled at Sunday night's forum and inspired those attending with his own strategy toward peace.

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"I think the best way to solve it is having youth talk to more youth, and positive youth talking to youth that's being affected out here on these streets," Manigault said.

Through the group he created, called Kids Count, Manigault visits teenagers who have gotten into trouble with guns and convinces them to take a more positive path.

"People actually came to me and said, 'You changed my life when you said, so and so.' 'You changed my perspective on life and how I can change my life for the better,'" he said. 

The meeting drew lawmakers, anti-gun activists, and religious leaders.

Shuler, president of antiviolence group "Put it Down," and event co-organizer, was impressed that Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross showed up and stayed for hours.

"The top cop stayed here," he said. "Been here for at least five hours. I'm humbly grateful for that."

To help steer people away from gun violence is to make sure they get jobs, community leaders say. Shuler plans to create a list of all of the ideas and make sure they get to all of the groups fighting for peace in the streets.