PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As Philadelphia grapples with a surge in gun violence, a national museum seeks to honor the lives lost in the epidemic. Starting Monday, family members will be able to hand in the personal items of victims of gun violence on display in Washington DC
“If you go through PTSD, you want to commit suicide,” said Oronde McClain, founder of the Oronde McClain Foundation. “Like me, I felt that the bullet should have ended the job.”
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McClain is a gun violence survivor.
“I was shot in the head on April 3, 2000,” he said.
McClain survived after being shot dead in North Philadelphia 21 years ago. Since his ordeal, his foundation has been committed to helping other victims of gun violence and their families.
“I’m here to tell you I want to hug you,” said McClain. “I’ve been where you were, so I’m here to help.”
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On Monday, McClain will be collecting personal items from victims of gun violence for the remainder of the week. He works with organizations such as the Gifford Gun Violence Memorial, Price of Freedom, and Mothers In Charge. The items will be donated to the National Building Museum in Washington DC. Inside there are 700 glass bricks, that’s how many people are killed by gun violence nationwide every week.
“It’s about remembering the victims, people who lost their lives,” said McClain.
On-site items can be donated at the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania on North Broad Street. They can also be donated at Independence Hall in Old City and the Discovery Center in Fairmount Park.
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Philadelphia has recorded at least 343 homicides this year, up 18 percent from this time last year. Nearly 1,500 people were shot dead that year, according to the latest data from the Philadelphia Police Department.