By: Erika Stanish / KDKA-TV
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The death of a teenager shot dead outside Oliver Citywide Academy this week has local gun violence advocates pushing for change.
On Thursday night, CeaseFirePA held a community meeting attended by a panel of experts from various violence prevention and intervention programs. They address community violence and the need to increase funding from public grants.
“We have to be proactive, not reactive. That’s what’s happening with sponsorship. Panelist Richard Garland said.
The advocacy group said the community must take urgent action to improve public safety in Allegheny County and across the commonwealth.
Dr Alison Culyba, an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh, said: “The murder of Marquis Campbell is profoundly affecting many of us. “It challenges us all to really think about how we shape violence and think of this as a real call to action for equality in health.”
Panelists called violence a disease that is killing communities.
Josh Fleitman, director of CeaseFirePA, said: “Homicides are skyrocketing due to increased gun numbers in communities.
Fleitman said gun-violent homicides increased 39 percent in Pennsylvania in 2020 compared with 2019.
“(Last year) was a violent year and passed a grim milestone in Allegheny County with over 100 gun-related homicides, with the majority being in our Black community,” said Fleitman.
He said 83% of gun homicide victims are Black in Allegheny County and under the age of 30.
Funding is needed more than ever at the city, county, state and federal levels, experts say, to help change those statistics. With more money in the budget, they said, there would be more community-based violence prevention programs to help reduce violence.
“We are doing important work day in and day out on the ground to address community violence, address racial inequality, and ensure that all youth in our community have the security they deserve and the opportunity they deserve,” Culyba said.
On Thursday. Governor Tom Wolf announced a $15 million increase in funding to further support grassroots gun violence prevention efforts.
“Pennsylvania, and the country as a whole, continues to battle a tragic gun violence crisis. We need to spark change at the local level, which is why I’m excited to commit to an additional $15 million in support for community-based gun violence prevention programs,” said Wolf. . “But I also want to call on our legislators to work with me over the next year to improve public safety and equity.
“This investment is part of the puzzle, but we also need to address the systemic and structural problems that cause inequality and harm in our society. We need to invest in schools, we need good jobs with fair wages, and we need to give communities across Pennsylvania the resources they need to have a good quality of life. “.
$15 million provided through the American Rescue Plan.
https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2022/01/20/ceasefirepa-meeting-to-address-community-violence/ Stop FirePA to hold meeting to address community violence in the Pittsburgh area – CBS Pittsburgh