Day of prayer calls for help to end violence in Philly

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 Sheriff Jewell Williams talks to one of those gathered to pray for an end of violence Philadelphia. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Sheriff Jewell Williams talks to one of those gathered to pray for an end of violence Philadelphia. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Religious groups in Philadelphia joined together Friday to pray for the city and to end violence.  

The gathering followed a week that included the slaying of a 14-year-old killed and the stabbing of a city councilman stabbed.

It’s time to touch everyone and bring them together to fight violence, said Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams.

“It’s time for the religious communities and all faiths to get involved to get more involved,” he said. “We tried community policing … it’s not working. We tried town watch, and it’s not not working. 

“So now we’ve got to reach out to the communities of faith, and, hopefully, it can be a joint effort.”

Speaking out in public matters, according to organizers.

“It’s not going to get any better if we bury out heads in the sand,” said Eber Devine of the Philadelphia Interfaith Coalition. “We have to get together to ameliorate the problem.”

Pushback against violence must start at the grass-roots level, he said. And giving community and religious groups funding to help prevent violence will help.

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