Families of homicide victims in Philly request an audience with the Pope
The JusticeforALEXnow Committee created a petition to request that families of murder victims in the city to have an audience with Pope Francis during his upcoming visit to Philadelphia.
The petition is being circulated by Wilfredo Rojas and Aleida Garcia, parents of Alex Rojas, who was murdered in North Philadelphia in January.
Rojas was driving his new SUV in the Feltonville neighborhood in North Philadelphia, when someone riddled the vehicle with bullets. The 34-year-old was taken to Temple University Hospital and pronounced dead.
Suspect Leonaldo Rivera was arrested within three weeks of the incident and had a preliminary hearing on April 14. According to Wilfredo Rojas, the suspect continues to be held without bail and awaits a trial date.
Rojas Sr. believes that because of all the publicity generated around Alex’s case many families of murder victims in the region have been approaching them for support.
"It is gratifying to work for justice and see the fruits of our hard work, but it's doubly encouraging when we see other families of murdered loved ones and the public at large understand our passion for justice and validate its merits," Rojas said.
The mission of the committee is to raise awareness about homicide as a leading public health epidemic which affects the victims of murder as well as their families and extended relationships.
“The death of our son has catapulted us in to the most difficult experience in our family's history,” states the petition. “As we connect with other families, which are going through this tragedy, we have been moved to request an audience with His Holiness to allow us the grace of his presence through an audience of prayer.”
In 2014 there were 248 residents killed in Philadelphia. So far this year, the Philadelphia Police Department reports 75 victims.
“The number increases every day. Tomorrow there will be more. We ask ourselves...where is the outcry?," stated JusticeforALEXnow.
To sign the petition visit ipetitions.