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Up The Block Aims To Get Resources Directly To Gun Violence Victims

Resources and information about gun violence are important, but getting them to the people who need them most is absolutely key.

For nonprofit news organization The Trace, taking a step back to self-examine revealed that it was falling short of its goal — reaching people effectively.

Now, The Trace has launched ‘Up the Block,’ a new initiative to connect affected Philadelphians with the resources they need to cope with gun violence. When it’s running on all cylinders, Up the Block will consist of three parts.

  1. A collaboration between The Trace + local news site Billy Penn at WHYY, expanding resources for shooting survivors

  2. Specific resources for helping keep kids safe from gun violence

  3. Highlighting ways that Philadelphians can ensure their voices are heard by local government leaders

The Trace landed in Philadelphia after searching for an editor to take their project nationwide. They chose Sabrina Iglesias, a native of the city, to lead their community outreach partly because of her passion and personal experiences growing up surrounded by gun violence.

“I know what it’s like to feel like there aren’t resources for you. I know what it’s like to feel ultimately numb to the shootings and come to expect them,” Iglesias said. “I feel really lucky to be in a position now where I can better understand what trauma is and how to heal and to have gotten to a point in my life where I’m able to get the information out to people that I needed.”

Up the Block’s website will launch this summer with a comprehensive list of resources, then add on more for children and local government impact.

Iglesias and The Trace plan to partner with local organizations and leaders to distribute flyers that advertise those guides. They will also share resources via Instagram, community fridges and other hunger-based initiatives and potentially collaborate with a local publication to set up a text hotline.

Perhaps once the pandemic threat is truly over, Iglesias and her team will also be able to spread news and information in person, hosting events and meeting with community members in-person to help spread the word.

As of March 21, there had been 348 nonfatal and 86 fatal shooting victims in Philadelphia, according to the city Controller’s Office. Those people aren’t just statistics, Iglesias told Poynter: “They’re real people. They’re my neighbors.”


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