Anti-Violence Partnership’s 2018 Donation Drive


Dear Friend of AVP:

This year the tragic impact of homicide on individuals and on our national psyche has been impossible to ignore.

As multiple killings take place repeatedly across our country, it’s easy to confuse them as one horrific incident wipes out the memory of the previous tragedy: 13 killed in a dance hall in California in November, 11 killed in a Pittsburgh synagogue in October, 10 killed in a Texas high school in May, and 17 killed at Parkland Florida High School in February.

And as the Philadelphia homicide rate continues to increase – so far 304 homicides in 2018, an increase of 5% from 2017 which was 14% greater than 2016 – it can become a blur or something we choose not to think about.

But we can’t ALLOW ourselves to forget those whose lives were taken by violence or the living who survive and try to rebuild their lives after the shock and trauma of losing a loved one to murder.

A month ago I had the honor of witnessing an amazing interaction between two AVP board members: Louise Gilbert and Brett Roman Williams. They could not have been less alike – different in age, gender, race, neighborhood, and economic status.

But Louise and Brett had two things in common. Both had experienced what is possibly the worst thing that can happen to a person: the shock and trauma of losing a loved one to violence – in fact, two loved ones.


As they shared their experiences, an immediate and profound bond was formed between them. As Brett described it:

“Although we were different in so many ways, we connected innately through our painful experiences as co-victims of homicide. We expressed similar emotions and breaking points from our losses. And that’s where we bonded. I was so energized by her charm and upbeat personality, especially knowing the trauma she had experienced. I was comforted by her willingness to share one of her deepest sorrows with me.”

But Louise and Brett share one other significant thing: They are committed to using their experience in a positive way to help others who must face such pain while working to prevent future violence. As Brett reflected:


“There’s something that motivates people like Louise and me to help others fight through the pain that comes with losing a loved one to a violent crime. We just don’t want anyone else to experience what we’ve been through, especially alone. From that, we both knew that listening to each other was another level in healing. Support systems that come with the services that AVP provides are vital to ending the cycle of violence. We understand that together, we can heal not only ourselves but other people. We both come from a place of pain but are driving towards peace. AVP has become our vehicle to touch other people experiencing grief because of violence. We both want to inspire younger generations to show them that no matter who you are and where you come from, pain from grief affects us all the same. We may not cope in the same manner; but we all feel the same. We all need a support system. AVP has become ours. We hope to be someone else’s.”

I ask that you become partners with Louise and Brett – and with the thousands of others in our community who are working passionately to address the cycle of violence, assisting those tragically affected while providing constructive alternatives to violent behavior.

I ask that you give generously to AVP to help us accomplish this important mission.

Thank you so much for your generous support.

Julie Rausch
Acting Executive Director

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