7 Philly Violence Prevention Programs to Know and Support This MLK Day

Violence has become a popular pastime, Martin Luther King Jr. once said. Here are a few Philly organizations working to carry on the leader's message of nonviolence.

June 13, 2016 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S: Thousands gather at City Hall in Center City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as Members of Philadelphia City Council, joined by religious and community leaders lead a vigil for the victims of the June 2016 massacre at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fl. iStock | BasSlabbers

Monday marks the 33rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of service, which commemorates the life and legacy of the pivotal leader who would have turned 90 this year. A hallmark of King’s legacy is nonviolent action as a means for bringing about social change, and many local organizations carry on and extend this mission by fighting to curb gun violence and help trauma victims cope.

On the topic of gun violence, King once said, “By […] our readiness to allow arms to be purchased at will and fired at whim; by allowing our movie and television screens to teach our children that the hero is one who masters the art of shooting and the technique of killing […] we have created an atmosphere in which violence and hatred have become popular pastimes.” With Mayor Kenney releasing a new gun violence prevention initiative following more than 1,400 shootings last year, King’s words should spark urgency.

If you’re looking to get involved and support the work around nonviolence efforts in Philly, here are seven organizations and programs you should know.

Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice

This Drexel University program changes the conversation about violence from a criminal justice perspective to a public health perspective that addresses trauma. Its flagship program, Healing Hurt People helps trauma victims ages 8-30 with the physical and psychological ramifications of violence to help them heal and stop the cycle.


Mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters of trauma victims come together to offer counseling and grief support for families that have lost loved ones to violence. They also work with elected officials and community organizations to create safe neighborhoods and communities in Philadelphia.

Sultan Jihad Ahmad Community Foundation

This North Philly foundation fights violence with education. The JACF has given over $100,000 worth of scholarships to youth bound for college, and seeks to inspire learning to turn at risk youth away from violence while promoting community development.

Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia

This partnership offers multiple services for victims and families including counseling for victims and families, assistance with the criminal justice system, and working with school counselors to respond to the mental health needs of affected students. In addition, their VIP program provides anti-violence training and counseling for healthy conflict resolution for students.


As a violence prevention measure, Temple Hospital’s two-hour prevention program walks at-risk youth through the life and death of 16-year-old Lamont Adams, who was shot a dozen times outside of his grandmother’s home when he was just a junior at Strawberry Mansion High School. Hospital staff members use his medical records and photos of his gunshot wounds to show students the procedures the hospital conducted when they attempted to save his life.

E.M.I.R. (Every Murder is Real) Healing Center

Founded by Victoria Greene after the shooting death of her son Emir, EMIR offers a variety of prevention programs and victim support. In addition, they work with doctors for more effective treatment, community crisis response and compensation for victims.

Philadelphia Collaborative Violence Prevention Center

This urban partnership convenes a number of Philadelphia academic institutions like CHOP, Penn and Temple and community organizations like the Philadelphia Area Research Community Coalition to tackle violence in South and West Philly. The various organizations conduct and disseminate research to increase awareness and develop prevention plans.