AS JULY approaches, Philadelphia’s streets will bear the telltale signs of summer. We’ll see fireworks and water ice. We’ll see sculls on the Schuylkill. We’ll see children playing in open hydrants and lovers along Penn’s Landing.
But if statistical trends hold true, the stain of gun violence will mar July’s beauty, because, over the past decade, Philadelphia has averaged about 150 shootings each July. That’s more shootings than any other month.
As a lifelong Philadelphian, I have heard gunshots interrupt still July nights, and watched neighbors bury sons on gloomy afternoons. I have witnessed the story arc that has placed the blame on black males, thanks to statistics like last year’s, which indicate that 84 percent of Philadelphia shooting victims were black, and more than 93 percent were male.
There is a different story, however; a story that is grounded in truth. Black men are not the sole cause of gun violence, but in Philadelphia they represent the surest solution.
I have seen that solution in the eyes of black fathers like Ronald “Pop” Brown, who founded the Ivan “Pick” Brown Memorial Foundation after his son was murdered upon returning home from college.
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Photo by Tieshka Smith
Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com. Click here to learn more about Solomon