Johnson Presses Ballot Question for Crime Victims

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City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District) and members of crime victims advocate organizations gathered outside City hall on Oct. 19 to urge voters to approve Philadelphia Ballot Question #2 in the Nov. 3 general election.

The legislation was sponsored by Johnson. If it is approved by voters, it will create a brand new Office of the Victim Advocate in Philadelphia. The OVA will provide voice for victims and co-victims of all crimes with the primary focus on gun violence.

Philadelphia is on pace to have between 450 to 475 homicides this year. In 2019, Philadelphia recorded 356 homicides.

Speaking along with Johnson were Dr. Dorothy Johnson-Speight, founder/national executive director of Mothers In Charge, Inc.; Aleida Garcia, co-founder, National Homicide Justice Alliance; Chantay Love, program director of Every Murder is Real Healing Center; Stanley Crawford, leader of Black Male Community Council of Philadelphia; and Felicia Pendleton, founder, Mothers United By Angels. All of the speakers have lost loved ones to gun violence.

The legislation creating the Philadelphia OVA was approved overwhelmingly by all members of City Council back in June. The yes or no ballot question is in front of voters now who vote via mail-in ballot and will be on the voting machines for those who vote in person on Nov. 3.

If voters approve Ballot Question #2 in November, the OVA will be established as a permanent part of City government. Mayor Jim Kenney and City Council would then agree on the appointment of a victim advocate and initial funding of the office. It is expected to open sometime in early 2021. Photos by Wendell Douglas

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