The Lead

Philly Sen. Haywood, Mayor Kenney to discuss gun violence solutions after sit-in

By: - April 26, 2022 3:05 pm

State Sen. Art Haywood, D-Philadelphia (Pa. Senate photo)

By Brian Saunders

PHILADELPHIA —  Pennsylvania Sen. Art Haywood, who has been holding a sit-in at City Hall, has reached one of his objectives: a meeting with Mayor Jim Kenney for later this week.

The meeting is in response to a sit-in Haywood started last week in front of Kenney’s office.The Philadelphia Tribune reported that Haywood, D-Philadelphia, would continue his sit-in until the mayor agreed to meet with him to discuss a plan to fight gun violence.

Haywood has said he believes his sit-in was a way to express that everyone is accountable for helping stop gun violence.

“We believe that we can make a significant difference in reducing gun violence with intense collaboration,” Haywood said on a Facebook Live last week.

Haywood and other community organization leaders intended on showing up daily at City Hall until his demands were met.

In a statement, a Kenney spokesperson said the Democratic mayor appreciated Haywood’s advocacy.

“The administration, in partnership with all of our local and federal law enforcement agencies, continues to work relentlessly to reduce violence and create safer communities and a more just city for everyone,” the spokesperson, Kevin Lessard, said. “Our commitment to solving this crisis is demonstrated by the expansion in violence prevention funding proposed in our latest FY23 Budget, where we plan to invest more than $184 million to make our communities safer. We will continue to do everything we can to protect Philadelphians.”

Haywood has been adamant that there should be a weekly meeting with city decision-makers such as elected officials in government, including Kenney, District Attorney Larry Krasner, and Attorney General Josh Shapiro. He would also like other leaders, such as Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health, and Intellectual Disability Services, among others to be involved in that meeting.

Although Haywood has been fighting for a proper response from Kenney for years as gun violence statistics have increased, Kenney’s staff has maintained it has responded to Haywood and laid out an answer to his demands.

The six immediate actions that Haywood is requesting are:

  • Convene a decision-making gun violence committee that meets weekly
  • Create a “See Something, Say Something” media campaign
  • Hire people in neighborhoods to clean up blocks
  • Offer counseling, behavioral health, and social services to families and youth
  • Provide jobs in cooperation with employers and offer job training for youth
  • Provide grants to gun violence interrupters to engage likely shooters.

Haywood said he is looking forward to his meeting with Kenney, and he will continue fighting for his demands to be met.<
“I believe that the collaboration is the course for this,” Haywood said in his livestream. “If we can all get these roles defined, increase collaboration, that is the most important thing we can do and that our leadership can do in the city of Philadelphia.”

Brian Saunders is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared

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