Community activists, law enforcement officials, and policymakers came together at St. Joseph’s University on Saturday to address Philadelphia’s ongoing gun violence issue in preparation for the upcoming mayoral election.

Despite recording 328 homicides this year, which marks an 18% decrease compared to the same period last year, the city remains concerned about the problem. In 2021, Philadelphia witnessed 562 murders, followed by 516 in 2022, as reported by the Office of the Controller.

The discussion primarily revolved around the youth, with a strong emphasis on the need for increased funding for grassroots organizations focused on young people and the expansion of after-school and evening programs at schools and recreation centers.

The summit drew approximately two dozen attendees in their teens and 20s, highlighting the urgency of addressing the gun violence crisis among Philadelphia’s youth.

Nevaeh Quilen, a senior at Overbrook High School, expressed her gratitude for those in positions of power taking notice of the gun violence issue, saying, “These kids really do need help. They’ve fallen into this narrative where guns are seen as a safe solution, and it’s not. I just hope they find ways to help kids understand that gun violence is not the answer.”