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Within the shadow of darkness illuminated by flashlights, 37-year-old Pastor G. Lamar Stewart organizes religion leaders and volunteers to stroll by way of Philadelphia neighborhoods suffering from gun violence. 

The variety of gun violence victims in that metropolis elevated greater than 50% from 2019 to 2020. In 2021, Philadelphia had greater than 2,300 taking pictures victims. This 12 months, that quantity is already above 1,000.  

Stewart’s “Nook to Connections Initiative” is a 30-day violence interruption plan. Cut up in numerous teams, dozens of volunteers patrol the streets from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.  The volunteers introduce themselves to neighbors and hand out flyers about an upcoming job truthful. 

The principle aim of the group is to fulfill and attain as many younger black males as doable — the group statistically most at risk of falling victim to the violence in the streets. 

“Persons are used to seeing folks handing out data. Put a flyer within the hand. However what younger folks want is a continuing presence,” Stewart advised CBS Information’ Jericka Duncan. 

Among the many volunteers is Michele Parker, a mom who misplaced her 23-year-old son Evan Baylor final 12 months after he was gunned down in entrance of their house.  

“There are some days which are very tough, like his birthday. Devastating,” Parker mentioned. 

She mentioned she desires folks to grasp {that a} heated second might utterly change a number of lives ceaselessly. 

“Have a look at the folks that you just go away behind. And may you have a look at them within the face? Like whoever took my son’s life, can they give the impression of being me within the face and say that it was okay to do this? No, it isn’t,” she mentioned. 

One other volunteer is 18-year-old Wayne Lee Prater III, who graduated from highschool just some hours earlier. As an alternative of celebrating, he joined the group of volunteers.  

“I am out right here as a result of I am sick of it. I am uninterested in it. We should not have to do that. It is like we won’t hold relying on our older technology. It is time for this technology to truly step up, and do what they must do,” mentioned Prater.  

Stewart echoed the significance of reaching out to the neighborhood.
 
“These are our youngsters. These are nephews, these are our sons, these are our daughters, our nieces. And we perceive that we’ve got a accountability as a church and church neighborhood. We have now a accountability as a society to wrap our arms round them,” Stewart added. 

The 30 days on the streets culminates with a job truthful on the finish of this month. 

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