Gun violence is a significant problem impacting communities throughout Philadelphia. This year, there have been 87 homicides, with 75 of the deaths caused by gun violence. Even though these numbers represent a 35% decrease from 2023, they still reflect the devastating reality that ultimately some families will face – a police officer informing them of the shooting or death of a loved one.

The lives of children, young adults, and adults in the prime of their lives are being claimed too often. The effect devastates young people who may not have the support necessary to fully comprehend and process the impact of these losses.

It is even more heartbreaking for parents who dealt with the loss of their child, along with all the hopes and dreams that they have for them. This is the story of Diedra Counts, who still has chills after walking into the emergency room of the University of Pennsylvania, where her son Montrell Freeman lost his life after being shot. “It doesn’t go away,” Diedra said.  “I lost my son 10 years ago and there are still days that it hurts like it was yesterday.”

Every year, Diedra honors her son’s memory by hosting an annual basketball game. The Live4Trell game is held alongside the Young Chances Foundation and Council President Kenyatta Johnson’s Peace Not Guns Program. “There has to be another way than shooting each other,” Diedra said.

And we couldn’t agree more. “We cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the devastating impact of gun violence or accept it as a norm in our communities,” said Kia Ghee, PCHR Executive Director. We must stand together united to build safe, vibrant communities where our children can grow up without fear.”

This doesn’t have to be the norm for Philadelphia. It is possible to resolve a dispute without it resulting in someone’s death. The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations works hard to teach residents the skills necessary to solve disputes without resorting to violence. Our Dispute Resolution Program offers mediation and conflict resolution services to neighbors and others experiencing conflict that is not currently in court and has not already escalated to violence. We offer mediation and conflict coaching to individuals, neighbors, small businesses, places of worship, and community organizations throughout Philadelphia.

If you or someone you know would like help resolving a conflict with a neighbor or others, complete the conflict resolution intake form, contact PCHR at (215) 686-4670, or email

Services are voluntary and confidential.

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