Declaring a new day in the struggle against crime and violence in black areas of Philadelphia, civic, community, government, and religious leaders yesterday urged thousands of black men to step forward to help patrol streets, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. At an event billed as “A Call to Action: 10,000 Men,” nearly 10,000 men – most dressed in black – gathered to volunteer to be “peacekeepers” in their communities. Many were lined up at tables with sign-up forms. A number already had registered online.
Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, a strong supporter of the effort, said, “We can make a major difference. “We have to learn how to live together and work together. We are all in this together.” The city has been getting national attention as a murder capital, even though the homicide rate is below those of some other major cities and the homicide count has recently dipped below last year’s. As of midnight Thursday, 321 homicides had been reported this year, compared with 323 last year.