By Sabrina Iglesias
Up the Block is probably the closest thing to a passion project I’ve ever worked on. It isn’t just a resource guide, it’s the promise of making my city a safer place for my neighbors. It’s an answer to the question that many Philadelphians have after a shooting: “What are we supposed to do now?” That, in itself, makes the hard work worth it, especially as we’re approaching 1,000 shootings in 2021 alone.
Having spent most of my teenage and young adult years living in Kensington, I understand what it feels like to be surrounded by regular shootings. For me, the worst thing about shootings is getting used to them; not even flinching when you hear a gunshot outside of your house. This project is so important to me because I know that it can make a difference in neighborhoods like my own.
The Trace and Up the Block launched a website with resources for Philadelphians on re-entry, mental health, victims compensation and much more in both English and Spanish. Soon, the website will grow to include resources for kids, teens and young adults, as well as information for folks looking to hold their local leaders accountable when it comes to gun violence.
Philly, I want you to feel like this is for you. That’s why the website includes a way to submit organizations and neighborhoods that you believe should be included, as well as sign up for updates to the resource guide. Other ways to get in touch and involved are reaching out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram at @uptheblockphl. With your help, Up the Block can become the community gun violence resource hub we all dream of.