Sen. Williams prepares balloons to send aloft at the Eastwick Recreation Center in Southwest Philadelphia to honor those slain in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 3, 2011 — The message of peace continues to spread this summer throughout the Philadelphia area, thanks to the efforts of ordinary citizens who have state Sen. Anthony H. Williams as their key ally.

Most recently, Williams last weekend participated in the 8th annual Weekend of Peace at Eastwick Recreation Center in Southwest Philadelphia, a community event that has grown from one site to 12 citywide, offering summertime fun and activities for kids.

The initiative was funded by one of Williams’ Neighborhood-to-Neighborhood 2011 Summer of Peace grants.

“When we designed the Summer of Peace grants, we had organizations and initiatives like this in mind,” said Williams, who praised the efforts of the event’s organizers, West Philadelphia natives Calvin and Malik Johnson.

“Here were two brothers who decided that rather than wait for someone to step in and try to solve the problems so many communities face — lack of involvement, too many idle kids, too much violence — they would do what they could to make a difference. They’ve developed mentoring and tutorial projects,” Williams added. “They’ve structured wholesome activities for students to learn and play, within a safe environment. They have worked to patch a sense of community where it may have been fraying, if it existed at all.”

Residents throughout the city took part in various activities at each of the Weekend of Peace sites. At Eastwick, children participated in a basketball tournament.

“The Weekend of Peace may be their signature event, but Calvin and Malik Johnson work tirelessly all year long on behalf of other people’s children as well as their own,” Williams said. “These are the kinds of efforts that deserve our support, and are able to leverage these mini-grants into maximum returns. I’m proud that they are part of the N2N 2011 Summer of Peace initiative.”

Participants at every Weekend of Peace location held a moment of silence for the 189 victims of violence in Philadelphia in 2011, a number that has increased, compared to this time over the past several years — part of the impetus for the N2N 2011 Summer of Peace initiative.

Williams participated in releasing balloons to honor the city’s homicide victims at the Eastwick event.

“I will continue to work with the community to promote peace and work toward a day when we don’t have to release any balloons,” he added.