The Philadelphia Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. held the 2nd in an ongoing series of forums & events the chapter has designed to address the Gun Violence and Mental Health epidemics in Philadelphia Communities. The forum of law enforcement, academic, public health, activists & community organizers was organized by Social Action Chairman Zahir Coney and Committee Member Devon Allen as directed by Philadelphia Alumni Polemarch Damian S. Jackson, Esq. A forum recap was published in the Philadelphia Tribune:
Months after its initial session in May 2021, the Philadelphia Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. hosted a second forum on mental health and the role it plays with gun violence.
Returning speakers of Tuesday night’s event included Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, District Attorney Larry Krasner, community activist Bilal Qayyum, and documentarian Samson Styles. The objective was to address questions and develop concrete answers to the massive gun violence plaguing the city.
The virtual panel was moderated by attorney Michael Coard, who gave good examples of his own legal cases during the discussion. The event also featured Dr. Ingrid Tulloch, assistant professor of psychology at Morgan State University and Anthony Luker, education and outreach specialist for the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
Social Action Committee members Coney and Allen wanted to allow audience members who submitted questions during our first Gun Violence and Mental Health forum in May 2021 to have them addressed in this forum. Panelists were introduced by Brother Atty. Michael Coard after an introduction by Polemarch Jackson. Commissioner Outlaw addressed the need for alternatives to police response to problems related to structural inequities:
“It starts with the structural inequities that affect race, class and gender,” Outlaw said. “We need more programs with alternative strategies, especially for women and children. Just calling the police to address a problem is not the sole answer.”
Dr. Tulloch added that there is a vicious trauma/violence cycle that even law enforcement is subject to:
“Trauma equates to violence and violence begets violence. Also, law enforcement induces trauma while not dealing with their own. We must equip people with healthy coping mechanisms,” Tulloch said.
All audience questions were collected by the panelist and we will endeavor to have them addressed by panelists and shared publicly. Video of the entire forum will be posted to The Philadelphia Alumni Chapter YouTube Channel for public viewing in the coming weeks.