‘Call for Peace and Action’ addresses community violence in the Northside
Community members gathered at Allegheny Center Alliance Church’s Union Place Chapel on April 20 to discuss how to address violence and share local resources for mental health and wellness.
By Ashlee Green
Photo: Community members gathered at the Allegheny Center Alliance Church’s Union Place Chapel on April 20, following the April 17 mass shooting in the Northside’s East Deutschtown neighborhood. Together, attendees processed the shooting and other violent incidents and discussed various mental health resources available for those in need. By Annie Cairns for Light of Life
Close to 160 people were estimated to have gathered at the Allegheny Center Alliance Church’s (ACAC) Union Place Chapel on Wednesday, April 20. They were grieving the loss of two teenagers—17-year-olds Jaiden Brown and Mathew Steffy-Ross—killed in the Northside’s mass shooting three days earlier, and deliberating on how to move forward with care to address community violence.
Hosted by ACAC, the gathering, dubbed “A Call for Peace and Action,” was organized and led by Dr. Cathy Sigmund, director of behavioral health and community wellness at the North Side Christian Health Center (NSCHC) and chaplain at ACAC. There, community members were welcome to process this and other violent incidents and discuss various local mental health and wellness resources.
Allegheny County Council member Olivia Bennett and Light of Life (LOL) Assistant Director of Programs and ACAC member Loleda Moman organized the prayer walk that followed the forum; LOL Executive Director Jerrel T. Gilliam led the walk from ACAC to the site of the shooting, where he then guided the group in prayer.
Funerals for the fatal victims of the shooting, Brown and Steffy-Ross, were held on Friday, April 22 and 23, respectively. At least 10 other people were reportedly shot. The shooting took place at an Airbnb on the corner of Madison Avenue and Suismon Street in the Northside’s East Deutschtown neighborhood. At the time of printing, the shooters are still at large.