The Eagles have announced the launching of “End Philly Gun Violence,” a multilayered initiative driven to help lower the anti-gun violence in the region. The team will award $316,600 in grants to 32 Philadelphia nonprofits that engage in specialized social justice work.
In 2021, Philadelphia saw a record 562 homicide victims, up 63 from 2020 and over 200 from 2019. There are already five victims four days into 2022. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the surge was increased by shootings, while the cases were heavily located in neighborhoods in North and South Philadelphia.
Safety Rodney McLeod, whose roots have grown in the city over the six years he’s been with the team, voiced his frustrations and sadness when it comes to the ever-growing occurrences of violence and killings.
“It hurts to see so much heartache and suffering in our communities as a result of these senseless acts of violence. We are losing family members, friends, mentors, role models, and future leaders because of the gun violence in our streets.”
Numerous Eagles players have played a hand in the campaign. In addition to McLeod, Shaun Bradley, Dallas Goedert, Jordan Howard, Anthony Harris, Brandon Graham, Miles Sanders, and others — along with club executives — are part of the Eagles Social Justice Leadership Council, which works to identify grant recipients.
McLeod acknowledged that while the campaign won’t work overnight, he’s hopeful it will bring attention to the tragedies that are taking place and encourage others to become more involved. Team owner and CEO Jeffrey Lurie also commented, saying he stands with the players in their efforts to create safer communities.