Wazier El remembers the excitement on a day last October when nearly 10,000 men gathered in a Philadelphia stadium to send a message to criminals: The violence must stop. In a matter of days, the men vowed, they would patrol the streets of this city, where the homicide rate is among the highest in the nation. But seven months later, reports the Los Angeles Times, many volunteers who once felt so full of hope have given up. The movement — “Call to Action: 10,000 Men — It’s a New Day in Philadelphia” — has faced organizational and financial struggles. Frustrated with leadership, some volunteers have had second thoughts.
In the meantime, things in Philadelphia are not much better. El, a 58-year-old carpenter who lost a son to Philadelphia’s street violence two years ago, says the city could have prevented such problems from escalating if it had worked closely with the 10,000 men who wanted to help. A lack of organization within the group did not help. Cold weather cut down patrols. Once-eager volunteers drifted away. This month, El told organizers he too was quitting. “People don’t want to see progress,” El said. “I am fed up.”