The City plans to spend $70 million on gun violence. But it’s not how much you spend. It’s how you spend it.

Politics is the art of the deal, and yesterday, City Council reached a compromise to spend $70 million fighting gun violence.

That’s good. But let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that money, in any amount, is the cure for what’s happening on our streets, because unlike politicians, the streets don’t compromise. Bullets don’t compromise. Death don’t compromise, so we can’t pretend that the deal is the thing that will make the violence go away.

The men and boys who are shooting each other in our neighborhoods need money, and they’ll tell that to anyone who takes the time to listen to them. And at ManUpPHL, we’ve been listening, and we’ve learned that as much as they need money, they need opportunity. They need support. They need people who will take a chance on them on the other side of a mistake.

Because if the community is not there when they stumble, the streets will be there waiting, and the bullets ain’t far behind.

If we are serious about impacting gun violence, it will take much more than just money. It will take time, and collaboration, and love.

That’s what I’ve learned as a father and a mentor. That if you love a young person, and they know it, you can speak real truth in love. As one of our mentees told us during one of our ManUpPHL sessions, I don’t care what you say to me. It’s how you say it. And he was so right.

So, as we enter this weekend, celebrating Juneteenth, celebrating fatherhood, and hoping for the best with the $70 million the city’s spending on gun violence, I want to paraphrase that young man’s wisdom. Cause when it comes to gun violence, I don’t care how much you spend. It’s how you spend it.
Photo: Philadelphia By. Peter Miller

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