The Mount Oliver clock tower served as the backdrop for a Justice for Baby Marcus Rally last Saturday afternoon.
Marcus White Jr. was only 15 months old when he was shot and killed while attending a picnic in the East Hills last May. Along with Baby Marcus, his two aunts were seriously wounded. Three men suspected of the shooting were never caught or identified.
The speakers were universal in their message: "We have got to find the cowards, the killers who perpetrated this."
Joining Melvin Hubbard El, Larry Davis, Tim Stevens and State Rep. Ed Gainey as speakers were Hilltop leaders including Pastor Maurice Trent Richard Carrington and Pastor Chris Demark.
"As a community, no longer can we accept the fact that snitches get stiches," Mr. Carrington passionately stated. "If you as black men and people who are having these atrocities performed on your family members choose to protect the cowards who are performing these acts you must one day face your God and explain to him why it was more important to protect a coward than to get justice."
Mayor William Peduto echoed earlier statements adding the city will dedicate whatever services are needed to find the killer of Baby Marcus.
"The tragedy around this crime is so great and goes so deep into the soul of this city that we owe it not only to him, but to everyone, every child in this city, every parent in this city, every grandparent in this city that we find these killers," Mayor Peduto said.
A proclamation will be presented in City Council today, Tuesday, Feb. 18, to Marcus' mother, Jameela Tyler, on what would have been his second birthday.
"We owe it to our babies to stand up and speak truth to what is happening. It has to stop," Mr. Kraus stated.
The councilman told the crowd gathered he studied gun violence when he first took office and feels it has only gotten worse since then. One in five instances of gun violence in Allegheny County happens within his council district, he said.
"It's not only off the chart, it's through the roof," Mr. Kraus added.
Rep. Gainey issued a call to action to those there by saying the cavalry wasn't coming to save the day, because they were already there. They [the residents] are the cavalry.
He said he was "tired of this whole no snitching."
"We have never been a people who didn't testify. We need to start testifying about what is going on in our communities. Everybody has to begin to show up," Rep. Gainey continued. "This is not a government thing. This is not a black thing. This is not a Puerto Rican thing. This is not a white thing. This is a community thing."
Anyone with information concerning the killing of Baby Marcus is urged to call 412-621-7788, the number is not attached to any caller ID and the identity of the caller may remain anonymous. They may also contact Marcus' mother by email at: email@example.com.