Dedicated volunteers from Operation Hug the Block have a goal of patrolling 77 Philadelphia blocks in 77 days, in an effort to prevent gun violence. These after-dark missions, running from 10 p.m. through 4 a.m. are known as Peace Patrols.
On Sunday, Sept. 17, organizers came across a man at the intersection of A Street and Indiana Avenue in Kensington, who attempted to intimidate the group. He circled them on his bike, telling them to leave, and threatened violence when the volunteers ignored him.
In response, twelve City Council members, including Quetzy Lozada, Kenyatta Johnson, Kendra Brooks, and Sharon Vaughn, issued a statement condemning the threat. They pledged to join an upcoming Peace Patrol, and encouraged community leaders to do the same.
“Our commitment to anti-violence must extend beyond words. Now is the time to take action to show the brave volunteers of Operation Hug the Block that they are not alone and to support their efforts to prevent violence in our communities,” they wrote.
Co-organizer Mazzie Casher told KYW News that the threat only served as motivation to keep going. Operation Hug the Block plans to continue with Peace Patrols every night through Nov. 7.