Greater Pittsburgh Coalition Against Violence kicks off new initiative to reduce gun violence

PITTSBURGH — The Greater Pittsburgh Coalition Against Violence kicked off a new initiative Thursday night by bringing together families, religious leaders, police officers and more to share their perspectives and offer ideas to reduce gun violence in the area.

“We’re losing more young people and more women and children. That for me, is like, ‘Okay, we need to stop talking and really start doing to the work,’” said Shayla Holmes, with Coalition Against Violence.

Holmes spearheaded Thursday night’s Community Youth Summit. She plans to lead these gatherings each month.

The meeting coincidentally came on the same day Pittsburgh Police released new data on crime in the city.

Officials report seven out of the ten homicides so far this year have been solved, and 147 guns have been taken off the street.

But for the Coalition Against Violence, their work is just beginning.

The group is assembling a Community Action Team with liaisons in every corner of Allegheny County.

“We want to have at least one person in every community, particularly those that are being most affected by gun violence,” explained Holmes.

Diallo Mitchell, Jr. knows the painful and life-altering effects of gun violence all too well.

He was shot in Greenfield in July of 2013 after being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“I was shot and was paralyzed,” he said. “The bullet was a millimeter away from my main artery.”

Mitchell shared his story with the group Thursday night.

“I always say, it’s not about what you go through, it’s about how you view what you go through,” said Mitchell.

He uses his experience to teach kids every day as a violence prevention specialist at Steel Valley High School in Homestead.

“It’s starting at a younger age now with teens, 13, 14, 15, 16 years old, and they’re getting access to guns and violence. And that’s something we need to change if we want to move forward,” said Mitchell.

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