HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Over the last decade, 132 people have been shot and killed in Harrisburg, including four in just the last three months.
Sobering statistics aside, Heeding God’s Call — an interfaith group that supports gun control legislation — pressed on Tuesday night, bringing comfort to the families of those lost, while hoping for a more peaceful future.
“We’re in the running every year with Philadelphia for the highest murder rate per capita,” said Pastor Woody Dalton, Heeding God’s Call national chair, Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church.
Dalton calls Harrisburg a small city with big-city problems. They’re problems that require big solutions.
“Communities of faith haven’t really entered the fray — so to speak — very much, and we would like to help rally,” Dalton said.
They’re rallying by providing comfort to the families with candlelight tributes and memorials, but also through signatures supporting gun control legislation and their own peaceful, but powerful weapon — young people.
“We are not animals that need to kill in order to survive. We do not need to kill to prove a point,” said Zoya Hasan, a Cumberland Valley eighth-grader.
Zoya Hasan is a member of the Muslim community in Harrisburg. She’s only 13, but when she watches the news and sees shooting after shooting, she feels like she needs to live like each day is her last.
“When it happens, no one wants to go to school the next day. Everyone’s parents are afraid to send them to school,” Hasan said.
Although she’s not afraid to speak up. She wants stronger gun control laws nationwide, and she and Heeding God’s Call won’t stop until no more names need to be added to the memorial.
“You can’t just let anybody hold onto them. People have gun collections. They can press a button and you can never see your family again,” Zoya said.
“You don’t just have to sit back and take it,” Dalton said.