By Ralph Iannotti

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There is no easy answer to reducing gun violence, but on Thursday night, there was some tough talk about ways to curb it at a meeting in the Hill District.

Wynona Hawkins-Harper lost her son, 31-year-old Jamar Hawkins, to gun violence four years ago. The father of three was gunned down in Penn Hills. Harper says the pain of losing of your child is never far away.

Harper told the group, “We can no longer go with excuses because I live with this pain every day. We are the leaders in our homes, and we are failing our children.”

It was less than a year ago when Dean Garland Jr. lost his best friend, 17-year-old RaShawn Gibson in a shooting in the city’s Sheraden neighborhood. Gibson was a Brashaer High School student.

“It’s sad everyday. Put the guns down. We got to rise above this violence,” Garland said.

Connie Moore told the group that her son, Hosea Davis, was murdered by a friend in 2014.

“He was shot 16 times with an AK by someone we grew up with, their family was actually at our family reunion the year before,” Moore said.

You may recall, Davis was applauded the year before he was killed. That’s when he came to the aid of teenage girl who was stabbed at the East Liberty Target store by a homeless man .

One speaker after another took to the podium with a similar plea. The everyday violence won’t end until people get involved in trying to stop it.

Valerie Dixon, who is executive director of the anti-violence group Prevent Another Crime Today said, “We’re taking a stand and calling out the community. Do the right thing, even if it involves turning in someone in your own family.”

“We’ve got to come together. You’ve got to remember: public safety is a shared responsibility for all of us, not just law enforcement,” Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert told the group.

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