Black Clergy of Philadelphia hosting summit on violence

The Black Clergy of Philadelphia believes its summit can result in a workable plan to help fight continued violence in the city.

Rev. Robert Collier addresses the media at a press conference

File photo: Rev. Robert Collier, president of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia, leading a press conference in June 2021, at City Hall. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

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Religious leaders are calling for a summit this weekend in Philadelphia to come up with solutions to fight violence in the city.

Saturday’s summit, entitled “A Safer Summer in Philadelphia,” will bring Black clergy members from across the area to find methods to curb violence in Philadelphia, said Rev. Robert Collier Sr., head of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia. He said discussions would focus on helping young people in the city.

“We want to do all in our power to make things right for them, whatever problems they are facing,” Collier said. “We want to be able to help them to resolve their differences without being violent. We want them to feel that there is hope. Many young people feel that there’s no hope for them. There’s no reason to live. We want to give them a reason to live.”

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He said politicians, the schools, police, and even parents need to work together to come up with solutions.

“As parents and grandparents, we need to be into our young people’s heads — instruct them and guide them into the right types of behavior,” Collier said.

He says many young people feel there is no hope for them and “are rearing themselves, and are allowing those persons in the neighborhoods to build churches in the street who don’t have the same sense of responsibility as parents and grandparents.”

Collier is calling on those who ran in the Democratic primary for mayor to come to the summit and explain their anti-violence plans so that they can be used as guides.

Primary winner Cherelle Parker and School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Tony Watlington are expected to participate.

Saturday’s event will be held at the Zion Baptist Church at Broad and Venango streets in Philadelphia. It is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

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