Kinsey hosts first public safety listening tour series, announces upcoming tour for youth

PHILADELPHIA, March 5 -- Seeking the public’s ideas on curbing gun violence in communities across Northwest Philadelphia, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila, hosted a public safety listening event on Feb. 18 at The First Presbyterian Church.

“From our neighbors and law enforcement, to local leaders and organizations, we must all be part of the conversation in putting an end to this crisis,” Kinsey said. “The first listening tour is just the beginning and was a great success. We must now take the concerns and ideas we heard to help create solutions.”

Residents across Northwest Philadelphia gave their insight and experiences on their bouts with gun violence and how to combat it to a panel consisting of Philadelphia Police Capt. Nicholas Smith of the 14th District; Chantay Love, founder and program director, Every Murder Is Real; Rochelle Curbreath, manager of legislative affairs, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority; state police Lt. Robert Bailey; and Kinsey’s Northwest Philadelphia House colleagues Reps. Chris Rabb and Isabella Fitzgerald of the 200th and 202nd legislative districts, respectively.

Kinsey’s public safety listening tour is part of the first installment of his newly launched anti-gun violence campaign -- Step Up, Stand Up -- an initiative to tackle the root causes of gun violence through community cohesion between residents, city, state and federal elected officials, cooperation with law enforcement, and bolstering economic opportunity across Northwest Philadelphia.

The next public listening tour, Kinsey said, will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 19 at Love Missionary Baptist Church, 5801 Ogontz Ave., co-hosted by the Philadelphia Police Department’s 35th District and A Concerned Community Association, with partnerships from PhillyWorks, SEPTA and Every Murder Is Real.

The third installment, Kinsey said, will focus on providing local youth an outlet to express themselves through conversations. The idea was inspired by compelling commentary from Northwest Philadelphia resident Damier Carter, a millennial who lost his fiancée to gun violence in 2018, who pointed out during last week’s discussion that most of the shooters and victims are statistically are also young adult males aged 20-24.

“It’s true and there’s supporting data,” Kinsey said. “It’s critical that we focus our attention on our young people who are clearly reaching out for help but are turning to dangerous measures as an escape. We must provide a conducive environment for them to know they are valued and allow them to peacefully release their frustration so that more lives aren’t ruined and lost.”

The next Step Up, Speak Up event will take place 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 24 at Treasures Banquet Hall, 5549 Germantown Ave. 19144.