Philadelphia is full of ‘violence interrupter’ initiatives. Can a new faith-based coalition move the needle?

By Sammy Caiola, WHYY | August 12, 2022

Stoneleigh Fellow Ruth Abaya spoke to WHYY about the work needed to learn more about reducing community violence.

In the minutes before 9 p.m. on a recent Tuesday night, a dozen people trickled onto the corner of 15th and Dauphin in North Philly and exchanged hugs and fist bumps. They dressed casually on this summer weeknight — baseball caps, jeans, jerseys — ready to approach anyone in need of a job or a prayer.

This is Corners to Connections, a violence interruption initiative based out of North Philadelphia’s Taylor Memorial Baptist Church. Rev. G. Lamar Stewart, senior pastor at the church and founder of the operation, huddled his volunteers and split them into two teams. He explained the perimeters of their planned walk, and asked someone to lead a prayer.

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