The second weekend of Philadelphia’s enhanced youth curfew in Center City and University City begins tonight at 9:00 p.m.
For me, this issue is not just something to blog about. I, after all, live in Center City. More important, I want to help change the conversation from the media-hyped “flash mobs” to flash drives as black youth are exposed to new possibilities and opportunities.
Johnson-Speight said the parent forum was convened to address youth violence, and share information about organizations that provide resources and support for families and youth. They also talked about solutions:
We want to save our children. We don’t want our organization to grow because a mother has lost her child.
Everett Gillison, deputy mayor for public safety, addressed concerns about the criminalization of young people for being, well, young and dumb. Gillison said in the targeted enforcement areas, police officers will ask three questions:
- Where are you going?
- Where are you coming from?
- Do you understand what time it is?
First-time curfew violators will be issued a warning. Gillison said the 72 youth who were rounded up last weekend were “out of the area, had no idea what they were doing or they were belligerent.”
There were passionate comments about what’s going on with black youth:
They’re acting out because they’re crying out. There are too many young people who are angry and out of control.
There was widespread agreement that parental involvement is key to stemming the tide of violence. Parents must be held accountable and know where their children are. At the same time, there were impassioned pleas from parents who want to do the right thing but don’t know where to turn for help.
DJ MoShay LaRen of 107.9 WRNB said parents must take ownership and responsibility for their children:
We birthed them. We are responsible for them… If you don’t know where to go for help, pick up the phone. Call 311, 411, 911. Keep calling. It’s not an option to give up on your kids.
To get involved, visit Mothers in Charge.
UPDATE: It was a “quiet weekend.” Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison reported 33 minors were taken in by police, issued curfew warnings, and picked up by their parents.