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CEO Corner – October 2019

A monthly message from our CEO Marcus Allen

Recently I was walking home from my office in Center City Philadelphia and noticed something peculiar. I have walked past the Philadelphia School District Building at 440 N. Broad St. at least 3 times a week when the weather is nice. However, recently I began to pay attention to the fact that the School District Building is physically attached to the future location of the new Police Headquarters. There are several public issues that are currently being debated about this move, most noted is the amount the building was bought for by the City without an independent appraisal of the value. Yes, this is worth further discussion, but I am concerned about something more important and more detrimental to the psyche of a community that has been ravaged by the disinvestment in our children.

A couple of weeks ago I went on Fox 29 to talk about the recent youth violence we’ve seen at public transit stops when our young people are dismissed from school. I gave several solutions that I believe could help decrease some of the incidents that keep happening. My question now, given the visual of having a future jailhouse physically connected to the central School District Headquarters at minimum makes me cringe. As organizations and advocates decry systems and policies that create pipelines from school to prison, how dare we as Philadelphians even fathom the visual of having our school physically connected to a jailhouse. How can that be? I hope well before the building is complete that our leaders understand that we cannot allow our place of learning to have any connection to a place where people are taken to jail. We must give our young people hope. We must show them why life is worth living. We must give them access to achieve their full potential. We must never allow for education and learning to be compromised.