More News:

July 24, 2023

Sixers to discuss gun violence prevention with local youth and organizations

On Wednesday, July 26, the team will host a community conversation with invited nonprofits and Philly youth

Gun Violence Sixers
Sixers Gun violence panel Provided Image/Philadelphia 76ers

On Wednesday, July 26, the Philadelphia 76ers are partnering with Unity in the Community to host a conversation with Philadelphia youth about gun violence in the city. Pictured above are local organizations the team highlighted for their community work and presented with money earlier this year as a part of its Assists for Safe Communities initiative.

Deaths due to gun violence in Philly have increased dramatically over the last decade, from 246 homicides, primarily by gunfire, in 2013 to 516 last year. The problem was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic; since January 2020, there have been more than 1,800 homicides, police data show.

While the problem has plagued the city, the 76ers quietly began to meet with boots-on-the-ground community organizations to see how the team could help prevent gun violence.

"This is an issue that we've worked on behind the scenes for the last year," said Mike Goings, the Sixers' vice president of social responsibility and fan development. "We've talked to several organizations and experts in the field to better understand the overall issue and how it impacts the Philadelphia community, figuring out ways from where we sit and where our players are of how they can get involved."

On Wednesday, July 26, the team, in collaboration with the nonprofit Unity in the Community, will host a conversation with Philadelphia youth and young adults on gun violence awareness and prevention. The invite-only event is from 6-8 p.m. in the Underground room in Temple's student centerThe second episode of the docuseries "Weight of Death," which shares stories of Philadelphians killed by gun violence, will be viewed. 

Following the screening, a panel will feature "Weight of Death" executive producer Anton Moore, Sarah-Ashley Andrews, founder of the suicide-prevention organization Dare 2 Hope, Pastor Carl Day of the Philadelphia Gun Prevention Task Force and young adults from the NoMo Foundation, which offers an anti-violence program and skills training.

After the panel, the team and its partners will set up a networking event, at which invited organizations and community leaders will speak.

"What we want to get out of the conversation is discussing a lot of the issues, a lot of the root issues, and figuring out ways to move forward and affect change," Goings added. 

This continues the Sixers' efforts to fund local community organizations through its Assists for Safe Communities initiative announced in May. During the team's first four games of its second-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, players donated $760 per assist, totaling $53,200, which was then matched by the organization. Money was given to community organizations Ones UpEvery Murder Is Real, the Boys and Girls Club of Camden County and the Mural Arts Philadelphia Guild Program

"Quite frankly, what we didn't get a chance to do during the playoffs is do more storytelling around who these organizations are and their impact in the community," Goings said. "Our goals for this year (are) to extend the program throughout the regular season, generate more money for these organizations, tell the stories of why these organizations are important and create an impact in the community."