PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh organizations and community leaders are continuously trying to curb gun violence, which was the topic of two major events on Saturday.
One of the events was for Pittsburghers who make a difference. Community leaders and social justice advocates were honored at the 7th Annual Black-Tie Honors Gala and Juneteenth Celebration of Stop the Violence Pittsburgh.
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“A lot of things happen in our community as if we were in dire straits and we need people to do something to help people stop the violence and continue education,” said William Marshall, founder and CEO of Stop the Violence Pittsburgh.
“There are many hardworking people in our church who take this very seriously and work every day. People either understand or don’t know they are, ”said Brenda Tate, longtime Hill District resident.
Looking towards 2021, Allegheny County police reported 35 nonfatal shootings and 28 fatal shootings. Pittsburgh Police reported 69 nonfatal shootings and 28 murders. One wasn’t from a gun.
“It’s over. I don’t know if we can blame the pandemic or what, but from a religious standpoint, someone pushed open the door to hell and things were racing,” said Steven Jackson, the master of ceremonies at the Gala was.
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A peace walk was held in the Hill District just hours before the gala, with many organizations and community members calling for an end to the violence. This took place as part of the ‘Wear Orange Weekend’.
“Every day we wake up to the news of another shooting and there is a gun access issue in this country and we are really proud that the community comes together and says we cannot take it,” said Gina Pelusi with Everytown for gun safety.
Countless people in the Pittsburgh area are doing everything they can to close this violent chapter.
“This is necessary. Black and white, rich and poor, come together and make a difference, and we come together as one core trying to make a difference, ”said Reverend Glenn Grayson, Center That Cares.
Wear Orange is a national movement that began after 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was killed by a stray bullet in Chicago in 2013.
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For the seventh time, “Wear Orange Weekend” was recognized nationwide.