State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, amongst many co-victims spoke.
State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, amongst many co-victims spoke. Photo: Alan Nunez

‘Apologues Exhibit’ offers a look at family trauma amid Philly’s gun violence epidemic


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As of Aug. 10, 2022, Philadelphia has recorded over 338 homicides. Seemingly everyday, another senseless act of gun violence occurs in neighborhoods across the city. As gun violence in the city worsens and the homicide rate remains on pace to beat last year’s record of 562 deaths, the community stays looking for answers. 

One of the speakers.

Art is a common ground of expression that allows for certain sentiments to be expressed, but it is often left out when city and government officials speak on certain issues, especially gun violence. City officials have to be called on for action, but so does the community if people ever want to see an end to the careless deaths of often very young people, and children. 

An art exhibit took center stage of the discussion at Philadelphia City Hall on Aug. 11. 

Apologues Exhibit is a multimedia experience featuring murals of some of the victims of Philadelphia’s gun violence epidemic, including police officers, children, and young adults. It is a demonstration of the silent trauma that victims' families have to carry with them everyday of their lives. In what is a growing issue in the country and city, gun violence has become endemic here in Philadelphia. 

One of the murals.

The tone of the work reflects the tone of the ever-changing present reality, which looks to be heading in a dark direction. However, the exhibit also offers hope, as it is a way of opening up more dialogue between the community and those in positions of power to work together and find a solution. 

The artists whose work will be displayed in the exhibit support the calls to action of the Mother’s Movement and March For Our Lives’ Philadelphia Chapter. Those calls are as follows 

1.We DEMAND the City of Philadelphia seeks and provides all resources necessary to end gun violence now. 

2.We DEMAND the immediate passage of Resolution 200447. 

3.We DEMAND a state of emergency begins immediately.

4.We DEMAND recreation centers to be opened at full capacity in areas impacted the most by gun violence with full-time police presence and violence interrupters. 

5.We DEMAND that the City immediately initiates all actions required to turn the tide of gun violence in Philadelphia. 

In a presentation that included co-victims, mothers, siblings, and city officials speaking out on the escalating gun violence issues, it was a powerful display of emotions and heart for a community that only wants to bring the best of Philadelphia back to the forefront and do away the senseless acts of violence taking more and more lives each day. 

One of the murals.

Also on Thursday, anti-violence activists and officials gathered in Nicetown to announce the 20th anniversary of the Give Back Festival, which aims to slow gun violence, and will take place from Aug. 12-13 in Nicetown Park. This year is especially significant for the Executive Director of the festival, Zakariyya A. Rahman, as it honors the fifth anniversary of her son's murder. 

"20 years ago, we started this festival, which is at a historic landmark park, because this park was uninhabitable. We had to galvanize resources in order to get this park habitable,” Rahman said. 

The Apologues Exhibit is being produced in collaboration with multiple Philadelphia violence prevention organizations, the Philadelphia Obituary Project, Lost Dreams on Canvas, No Gun Zone, Forget Me Knot, City of Dreams Coalition, Dreamline, Walls For Justice, March for Our Lives Philadelphia, Parents of Murdered Children, Power of Paint Art Academy and Management, Voices by Choices, Moms Bonded by Grief, and The CHARLES Foundation.

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