PHILADELPHIA, PA (June 17, 2021): Philadelphia City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District) chairman of City Council’s Special Committee on Gun Violence Prevention, released the following statement on an agreement between City Council and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on $5.25 Billion Fiscal Year 2022 (FY2022) operating budget:
“We have reached an emergency status when it comes to gun violence and all Philadelphians must work together to create a short-term and long-term plan to address this senseless gun violence,” Johnson said.
“I led a group of City Councilmembers who originally proposed $100 million be added to the city’s FY 2022 fiscal budget to address the violence plaguing the city. We called it the Philly PEACE Budget. We sent a letter to Philadelphia Mayor Kenney on June 4 saying we wanted $100 million in funding for anti-violence measures in the final budget deal. The letter was signed by 13 members, a veto-proof majority of the 17-member Council.
“The End Gun Violence Coalition, which includes more than 40 organizations throughout Philadelphia, also called for a $100 million investment by City government in violence prevention efforts in FY 2022.
“I am happy to announce that the new budget deal will invest more than $155 Million dollars in next year’s budget for anti-violence prevention. Our Philly PEACE Budget will prioritize community-based organizations. This is a historic investment in anti-violence programs in Philadelphia and a paradigm shift in how we deal with violence in Philadelphia.
“I want to thank all the members of City Council for working together to make the Philly PEACE Budget a reality, especially the hard work of City Council President Darrell Clarke. I also want to thank Mayor Kenney for his support of the Philly PEACE Budget.
“Tens of millions of dollars invested in anti-violence efforts in Philadelphia will make a major difference in our neighborhoods. Among them are:
- Directing more funding towards street outreach and Increase funding for grassroots violence prevention efforts.
- Expanding the Parks and Recreation budget above Fiscal Year 2020 levels so that we can reopen recreation centers and provide youth programming in hotspot areas that need it most.
- And increase access to trauma-informed services that support people experiencing high levels of trauma, which often leads to more violence in the future. Violence causes trauma, and if left untreated, it often causes more violence. As the saying goes, ‘Hurt people hurt people.’
“As of June 16, we are at 251 homicides in Philadelphia and counting. Almost two dozen of the people killed so far this year have been children under the age of 18.
“At this rate, our murder rate for 2022 is on pace to surpass last year’s 499 murders by a large margin, which would make 2022 the deadliest year in Philadelphia history Gun violence and murders on our streets are becoming too common and the norm for Philadelphians and this must end.
“To paraphrase the late civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, Philadelphians must start becoming sick and tired of being sick and tired when it comes to the City’s gun violence and rise up to bring peace to our streets together.
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