YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – York community members have started a local chapter of the national group Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. The goal is to reduce violence and help victims heal.
At Saturday’s launch, community members tired of devastating crime came together, shared stories and brainstormed ways to keep their neighborhoods safe.
“I received a phone call,” said Pearl Wise. “My husband’s waking me up that my son was shot.”
Wise’s son was Chad Merrill. Investigators say he was killed outside the Red Rose Bar after trying to defend his friend from racist remarks.
Wise’s life has never been the same.
“I felt like I was just a zombie going through the motions,” said Wise.
But she’s decided to stay strong to make a difference. Wise is now the coordinator for the York chapter of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice.
This past Friday alone, two teenagers were injured in two separate shootings in the city. No arrests have been made.
“There’s been a lot going on down here in York and we need this organization here to eliminate some of it,” said Lisa Burhannan, who is the Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice Harrisburg coordinator and the regional chapter coordinator.
The group plans on holding community-based events and healing vigils.
Members say an open line of communication with the city’s leaders is key.
“I need people to understand there’s a place where they can come,” Edquina Washington, who serves on the York City Council.”There’s a place where they can heal. There’s a place where they can hurt. There’s a place where their voice will be acknowledged.”
“The main objective is to win reforms that replace over-incarcerations with safety solutions,” said Dr. Kevin Dolphin of Breaking the Chainz and Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice.
The national Crime Survivors of Safety and Justice network has 30,000 members.
“If anywhere needs it more than anything, it’s York,” said Wise.
The group says its next steps will include gathering funding and looking into neighborhoods to add more trauma centers.