Cops, kids celebrate year’s anti-violence labor with pizza

Cops, kids celebrate year’s anti-violence labor with pizza
Sam Newhouse

A group of West Philly 4th-graders celebrated a year’s work studying gun violence which included visits to Harrisburg and City Hall in the best way possible on Wednesday – with a pizza party.

During the year, students at Samuel Powel Elementary School heard a talk from Capt. Altovise Love-Craighead of the 16th District through a partnership with the nonprofit Need in Deed, so she came along with several of her fellow officers to the students’ celebration party.

“My sister and I came in because we had a brother who was killed in 1997,” said Love-Craighead, a board member of the EMIR (Every Murder is Real) Healing Center, which offers counseling and other services to family members of crime victims. “We talked about how you can overcome tragedy.”

The loss of Love-Craighead’s brother, Emir Greene, led to the founding of the healing center by her mother Victoria.

“Some of them shared their stories of gun violence,” she said of the students. |Some of them had loved ones who were lost to gun violence. It became an opportunity to share our stories. You can still love them through and keep the memories of the person you loved.”

“They taught us how to get away from gun violence & how to not get involved,” students wrote on a poster board that tells the history of their yearlong project, entitled “We Are Marching Against Gun Violence.”

Some of the students’ first questions were pretty basic, along the lines of “What’s a cop?” recalled Chris Powers, a 4th-grade teacher who along with fellow teacher Joe Alberti oversaw the project.

“The one thing they can take out of it is they have a voice, regardless of their age,” Powers said. “They can share their message with a lot of people, whether it’s around their neighborhood, at City Hall or in Harrisburg.”