The PHIGHT Network interrupts gun violence in Philadelphia
Penn Injury Science Center and city organizations have joined forces in the fight to reduce gun violence.
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A cry to reconciliation echoes throughout the streets of Philadelphia. The city’s crime rate and youthful bloodshed has casted a dark shadow over the place that’s home to brotherly love.
Gun violence in 2021 has drawn national attention, with Philly exceeding its previous record of 500 homicides not seen since the 90’s.
As lives keep mounting daily, and the names of victims flash across TV screens, much more than political response is required. While nothing can replace a life lost in gunfire, community leaders know that letting their heads hang in defeat is not an option.
And so, from the gun crisis, the PHIGHT Network was born.
The PHIGHT Network, which stands for Philadelphia’s Hub to reduce Interpersonal Violence, Gun Violence, Homicide and Trauma, started as a collaboration in October between community leaders and professionals in government, healthcare, and academics.
Victims and families who experience gun violence are able to receive care through the violence initiative. The network also fully supports underserved communities in West and Southwest Philadelphia — areas that reflect high gun trauma.
As of Monday, Dec. 20, the Office of the City Controller reports 540 deaths this year, with a great disproportion among Blacks with 1,874 gun violence victims, and youth that experience trauma from ages 18 through 30.
Those who already joined the PHIGHT Network include Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia (AVP), the Beloved Care Project (BCP), Penn Injury Science Center (PISC), the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office’s Crisis Assistance Response and Engagement for Survivors of Homicides (CARES) Unit, Code Red PA, Cure Violence Philadelphia of Temple University, and the Pennsylvania John Paul Pryor Shock Trauma Center at Penn Presbyterian.
The Penn Injury Science Center (PISC) continues to institute new projects and research that can interrupt the communities increasingly dominated by gunfire.
Sara Solomon, deputy director at the Penn Injury Science Center, told AL DÍA that some other projects that have launched in 2021 include a Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program (HVIP), and state funding for continual street outreach.
“Through funding, Penn Trauma was able to hire a hospital-based Violence Intervention Specialist (VIS) to connect with violently injured individuals in the hospital or Penn Medicine’s post-discharge outpatient clinic,” said Solomon. “They provide peer counseling and support, and assist patients in meeting goals for their recovery.”
Perhaps it’s time Philadelphia looks pass gun buyback programs and strengthen community-driven outreach efforts like PHIGHT. Like an old proverb goes, then the people will beat their swords into plowshares and put an end to raging war.