Rally to prevent homicides of children

Posted: August 09, 2014

The violent deaths of five children in eight days, including three who were mowed down by a hijacked car in North Philadelphia, are sparking outrage in communities around the city and calls to action by antiviolence activists.

Those activists, from a spectrum of community antiviolence groups, held a rally Thursday evening at LOVE Park to talk about ways to prevent homicides among children and young people in the city.

In an interview before the rally, Anton Moore, an antiviolence advocate in South Philadelphia, said adults must engage young people and talk to them about ways to avoid violence.

"When you talk to somebody about stopping the violence, you have to offer them some alternatives and also build a relationship with them," Moore said. "It comes down to trust."

Moore, 28, a producer who has worked in radio and television, has organized street events in South Philadelphia that have drawn hundreds of young people.

"We need to show the younger people . . . that society cares about them, that there is room for them, that they can go somewhere," Moore said. "It needs to start with building a relationship with them."

The antiviolence workers are pointing to the July 25 killing of siblings Keirearra Williams, 15; Thomas Reed, 10; and Terrance Moore, 7. The three, their mother, and another woman were struck by a carjacked vehicle that crashed through the fruit stand they were operating at Germantown and Allegheny Avenues.

On Aug. 1, 3-year-old Tynirah Borum was having her hair braided as a gunman opened fire, fatally striking her and wounding two adults, in the 1500 block of South Etting Street in South Philadelphia.

That same day, 2-month-old Hassan Armstrong was brought to Einstein Medical Center with extensive injuries to his head and body. He died two days later. His father has been arrested and charged.

The rally was organized by Bilal Qayyum, head of the Father's Day Rally Committee, a group that encourages men to be good fathers and works to combat violence.

"I think there is this outrage coming from the community that says, 'Enough is enough,' particularly when our children die," Qayyum said. "We have to do something."

He said the aim of the rally was to try to ensure there were no more youth homicides this year.

Chantay Love, a leader of EMIR (Every Murder is Real), a group in Germantown that offers counseling to those who have lost loved ones, said that stopping youth violence should be one of the city's top priorities.

"Violence happens every day. We need to find a way to stop the violence so that we can have time to heal from the pain," Love said. "The resiliency we have in us is getting weakened because it is happening so often."


vclark@phillynews.com

215-854-5717

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