HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — On Saturday night dozens of people showed up at Italian Lake in Harrisburg for an event called “Saving Our Streets” aiming to stop the violence in the city and get guns off the street through a buyback program.
It was a mix of entertainment and some serious talk about solutions to stop the violence.
The event also brought together mothers whose children were lost to gun violence.
“I just want to get the message out there to our youth and to our community, that we need to put the guns down,” Mercides Roland said.
Roland organized the “Saving Our Streets” event because she knows the consequences of gun violence. When her daughter was 12, she became a victim.
“She was at a party. She was shot twice, one in each leg and she had to learn how to walk again. She had to go through rehab and everything,” Roland said.
Her daughter survived, but many in the city do not.
“Throw the guns down and pick the book up,” one speaker said.
Jamilah London still doesn’t have answers about her son Anthony Ramsey’s murder.
“It still hurts to hear sorry for your loss because to me I still let him live through me and that’s the way that I cope,” London said.
She was one of seven mothers honored Saturday, all who lost a child to gun violence.
Her message to other mothers: “Your kids are passing by every day, so you’re seeing them every day. See what’s going on with them,” London said. “See who they’re hanging with. And that’s what I encourage, just talking more with your kids.”
Community activist Angel Fox organized a gun buyback. She offered $50 to $100 depending on the gun with no questions asked.
“I’m just over my sons burying their friends, my girlfriends burying their kids at a young age. I have to do something and this is my way of giving back,” Fox said.
She’s giving back using her own money.
“I don’t care how I have to raise the money or spend the money,” Fox said. “One gun off the street is hopefully one less murder.”
Roland is working to facilitate tangible solutions.
“We’re hoping for more police presence in our city. We’re looking for more programs that the kids can go to like Big Brother programs that could come out of it, after-school programs that they could attend,” Roland said.
Fox only bought back one gun today, but as she said, hopefully, that means one less murder.
The event also featured vendors selling different food, clothing and other items.
Entertainment included cheer and dance teams as well as a fashion show.