Faith leaders and the family members of eight murder victims gathered outside City Hall on Friday to decry the violence that continues to grip Philadelphia.
To date, at least 397 people have been murdered in 2021, an 18% increase over the same time last year, which was the deadliest in three decades. The vast majority of those homicides are fatal shootings.
As of Wednesday, nearly 1,600 people have been shot, according to city data. That includes nearly 30 in the span of three days this week.
“Please put the guns down. Start loving on one another,” pleaded Cheryl Pedro during the Call For Justice rally organized by City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson.
Pedro’s middle son, Mario Pedro, was murdered in February 2015. His daughter was born a day after the 34-year-old was buried, leaving Cheryl to suffer with daily heartache she says is so bad sometimes it makes her physically ill.