Philly hip-hop artist Mazzie Casher co-creates an app to help curb gun violence in the city
Philly Truce is coming to the App store and Android marketplace on May 1, and encourages users to contact mediators to sort out problems rather than resort to violence.
Gun violence has spiked in Philadelphia over the past five years, with 2021 on pace to be the worst in recent memory.
Last year, almost 500 people were killed due to gun violence in the City of Brotherly Love.
To limit the violence across the city, community organizers are stepping up with different solutions and mediating disagreements before guns are drawn.
One person in particular is Mazzie Casher, a business owner and local hip-hop artist who was tired of seeing young kids succumb to gun violence in the city he knows and loves.
“We want to give the community the platform to ask for help, but also give the community the opportunity to be that help,” Casher told KYW Newsradio.
With that in mind, Casher, along with his close friend and Philadelphia firefighter, Steven Pickens, decided to create an app that would work towards limiting the use of guns to solve arguments.
"We wanted to do something about these shootings," said Pickens. "We wanted to do our part, so we came together and said: 'It’s our time to be leaders.'"
Casher and Pickens created Philly Truce, which they see as having an important impact on young men in Philadelphia that encounter trouble in the streets.
The app will be completed on May 1 and encourages kids to use it instead of fists and assault weapons. It allows users to lay out a difficult situation or confrontation they’re in and puts them in contact with a mediator to sort it out.
The app will be available for use on both iPhones and Androids.
Once it is finished downloading, all users need to do is press the help button.
Again, “you are not snitching,” Cashier said.
The app encourages you to add some information on what is happening and what situation you are in. Once you provide your information, a mediator will call or text you.
The app also inspires mediators to volunteer and help educate kids on conflict resolution and open communication.
"We’re trying to help overcome the culture of 'We don’t talk to police,'" says Casher. "So, we’re not the police, and we are not affiliated with the police. We are your brothers and sisters who want to see youth live to the age of good decision making."
The app is starting to gain the attention of political figures in Philadelphia, who are helping to spread the word about it.
Philadelphia City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson is one leader who has expressed his interest and support for the app.
"These mediators will intervene in the social media beefs, the neighborhood beefs, before they escalate," Johnson told KYW.
Casher and Pickens are looking for open-minded mediators who will volunteer to step up and make a difference in the lives of young people in Philadelphia.
So far in 2021, there have been 92 victims of gun violence.
Residents of Philadelphia are now becoming used to hearing the distinct sound of gunshots on a daily basis, which is, unfortunately, the new norm.
By donating any amount of money to help jumpstart the app, or even spread the word about it, you will make Philadelphia a better place.