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Advancing Solutions to Philadelphia’s Issues

June 28, 2023 Category: FeatureFeaturedSolutions

On June 9th,  Generocity, in partnership with the Lenfest Institute of Journalism’s Every Voice, Every Vote project, successfully organized “Advance: Every Vote”. The goal of this event was to give Philadelphia citizens the tools they need to address critical challenges such as gun violence and public safety, housing and homelessness, workforce development and education. By presenting innovative solutions and strategies, the event was designed to provide mayoral candidates with actionable ideas. Respected community leaders, Maurice Baynard Vice President of the Community Learning and Chief Diversity Officer at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Drexel University, Reuben Jones, Executive Director, Frontline Dads, Dionicia Roberson, Associate Editor of Community Narratives, Resolve Philly, and Jasmine Sessoms CEO Firm 1968, moderated engaging fireside chats discussing these issues, their root causes, and systemic solutions.

A common theme emerged from these conversations: the importance of recognition and the consequences of its absence.

Public Safety and Gun Violence

Participants discussed the importance of investing in programs that promote community engagement. By addressing neglect and visible problems, individuals can acknowledge the prevalent issues instead of turning a blind eye to them. This acknowledgement is critical, as feeling ignored can lead to feelings of indifference and self-protection. Holding elected officials accountable for allocating funds to important projects such as rehabilitating vacant buildings was also highlighted as a way to improve community sentiment.

Housing and Homelessness

To address the housing crisis, exclusionary attitudes must be dismantled, including the “not in my backyard” mentality. In addition, social aversion and the criminalization of poverty and homelessness must be eliminated. Participants suggested organizing community-based events that bring together both people with and without housing to ensure inclusion and provide resources for those living on the streets. By expanding the definition of “neighbor” to include all people, regardless of housing status, community leaders can motivate people to invest in their neighborhoods.

Workforce development

Participants emphasized the need to create employment opportunities that match people’s actual skills. There was also a call to focus not only on entry-level positions, but also on developing mid-level leaders. Investing in apprenticeships and internships is important, but so is supporting the career advancement of these mid-level professionals. In addition, fostering an environment that welcomes non-traditional career paths is necessary to accommodate people who want to make unconventional choices. Fostering this diversity prepares the region for the changing job market and future demands.

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One of the main concerns regarding the education system was the lack of enthusiasm among students. Participants stressed the importance of developing a strong sense of identity in young learners so they can understand their roles and embrace their unique histories. In addition, participants emphasized the need to foster critical thinking, conflict resolution, and authenticity in children’s education. Investing in the development of these foundational skills is critical to their future success.


Connections at the Intersection

Although the discussions covered a variety of topics, they agreed on key points. Acknowledging problems proved to be an important first step in solving any issue. The discussions revolved around the tendency to neglect problems that do not directly affect individuals. By taking the time to acknowledge and understand problems, progress can be made in solving them.

Another important solution that was highlighted is investing in local communities and those that extend beyond one’s immediate surroundings. Whether it is public safety, education, or housing and homelessness, investing in communities fosters compassion and strengthens the collective bond. Engagement and interest in the broader community plays a critical role in problem solving.

“Advance: Every Voice” successfully provided a platform for meaningful conversations and inspired people to take action and create positive change. By implementing the lessons learned at this event, Philadelphia can move toward a future of safer communities, affordable housing, better job opportunities, and a robust education system that empowers youth.




ADVANCE by Generocity

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