Standing in his Southwest Philly neighborhood yesterday afternoon, at the corner of 54th Street and Kingsessing Avenue, Paul "Earthquake" Moore removed a pile of limp stuffed animals around a traffic pole.
He then went to Cobbs Creek Parkway and Greenway Avenue and removed a wilted balloon tied to a tree, and below it, the broken candles littering the ground.
It began what Moore calls Round 2 in his quest to take down the makeshift memorials on blocks and on corners throughout the city.
For Moore, a once-troubled kid, who grew up around drugs and violence, turned community activist, such memorials are a grim reminder.
"It diminishes our community," says Moore, 52. "It’s alright to put them up, but there’s a time and place for them. And after a while the healing process needs to start."
When Moore announced his plan last month, he received some media attention, and was turned away by one family at a site, but he remains undeterred.
During a tour last week of his neighborhood, he visited five makeshift memorials.
At one monument, on the side of a rowhouse, by a bus stop, someone erected a tower of teddy bears sealed with tape around a utility pole.
"Do you know who this is for?," Moore asked passerby after passerby.
No one knew.
So far, Moore says, he has removed six memorials. "And it will be seven tonight."