As part of the annual Magis Fund fundraising project, students in Professor Maria Kefalas' Social Problems course at Saint Joseph's University raise money to support a project that will benefit students in the Philadelphia Public School District. Last year's Ludlow School Technology Fund raised more than $10,000 and purchased 33 computers for the North Philadelphia elementary school.
Richard Johnson graduated from St. Joseph's Prepartory School and was headed to Saint Joseph's University on a full scholarship but his life was tragically cut short when he was murdered by a 15-year-old assailant he barely knew in 2005.
While the violence we witnessed in the Parkland rampage shooting garnered headlines and sparked protests nationwide, the typical victim of gun violence looks more like Richard.
Philadelphia has one of the highest levels of gun violence of any city in the nation. Since 2006, more than 14,500 people have been shot in Philadelphia, a rate of one shooting every six hours. Shootings have declined by 38 percent since 2006, when the rate was one shooting every 4 hours and 22 minutes.
According to the Center for Disease Control, guns kill about 10 times more black children than they do white children each year. In particular, black boys, aged 13 to 17, faced the highest rates of gun-related deaths, injuries and homicides.
Professor Maria Kefalas explains, "As someone who writes and teaches about gun violence and youth, this fundraising effort will put a human face on the toll of gun violence in our city. We want to make this gift to invest in the young men of the Boys' Latin School in West Philadelphia, a school that has been touched by violence all too often in recent years." Kefalas adds, " We hope this gift will honor the families and students impacted by gun violence and draw attention to this public health crisis."