Lt. Gov. Austin Davis kicks off statewide Safer Communities Tour in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — “We were walking down the hill and somebody pulled up and started shooting,” said Wykie Scott.

Wykie Scott, 15 lives in the Hill District. Last year on his way to play basketball with his friends, bullets flew in his direction.

“We didn’t know who it was,” said Scott. “We ran back up to the house, and I didn’t know I was shot until I looked at my hand.”

Wykie says CARES Afterschool Enrichment Program at Jeron X Grayson Community Center saved his life in a way.

“My whole entire staff is vested into making a difference,”said Rev. Glenn Grayson.

Rev. Glenn Grayson started this program shortly after his son was shot and killed.

“We’re in six zones,” said Grayson. “We have more than 40 workers out every day being preventative. Youth programs. Boxing. Girls’ group. They’re really impacting lives.”

This is one local initiative, Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis shined light on for the kickoff of his statewide “Safer Communities” tour. The Trauma Response Team is another one that was highlighted at this kickoff event. They drive to homicide scenes to help and empower survivors.

“I think the thing that’s making the biggest difference is the resources are empowering people on the ground in these communities to take advantage of turning their communities around and taking on the issue of gun violence,” said Davis.

“People might often say what is happening about gun violence,” said Rev. Paul Abernathy. “Today, I hope that it’s very clear to all of us that there is an extraordinary effort that is moving forward to address gun violence and a difference is being made.”

“Look at what Reverand Grayson is doing here at the CARES Center or Pastor Paul Abernathy with his violence intervention program,” said Davis. “We’re empowering folks on the ground to help stem the tide of gun violence, and we need to do our part as government leaders to help support these folks not just with financial resources but passing common sense gun reform legislation here in the Commonwealth.”

While the Trauma Response Team is based here in Allegheny County, it’s something that’s wanted in other parts of the state.

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