For years the streets of South Philadelphia near 24th and Wharton have been plagued by violence. Monday night however, those same streets served as a path for peace.
Unity in the Community, a local non-profit organization, kicked off its second annual Peace Week with a March for Justice. The marchers gathered at Wharton Square Park around 6 p.m. and walked several blocks to 32nd and Reed at Stinger Square Park. The near mile-long march was organized to draw attention to gun violence and honor families who were affected.
“In order for us to really, really focus in on the violence, we have to see what we can do in our community first,” said Anton Moore of Unity in the Community.
Peace Week participants say the goal is to raise awareness and provide solutions to the problem of gun violence in the city. For 14-year-old Antonio James, the issue hits especially close to home.
“My Uncle Tyrone, he got killed in North Philly,” James said.
James marched tonight along with his twin brother Antoine and their mother, Ernie Bristow.
“No matter how much you teach them, they can also be a victim of violence,” Bristow said. “You can be just minding your own business.”
Organizers also say Monday night’s march was inspired by the death of Trayvon Martin and the aftermath of the George Zimmerman trial. Some attendees say they will always question if they are targeted because of how they look and what they wear.
“Just allowing them to go out to the stores, I always tell them to be careful because you are watched a little bit more,” Bristow said. “You are profiled.”
Peace Week will also include a college scholarship giveaway and a celebrity block party. View the full list of events and activities here.