As we mentioned on our social media channels this last week, we hold the tension of the both/and on a regular basis. Is it ever the same for you?
Our neighborhood is a place of beauty, that much is true, but it can also be a place of terror.
In an essay by Dr. Bill McKinney, Executive Director of the NKCDC (New Kensington Community Development Corporation), the Philadelphia Inquirer reported “last year that 57 blocks in Philadelphia saw ten or more shootings over the past decade. Twenty-five of those were in Kensington. That Rocky block of Tusculum had fifteen shootings last year. Six ended in death.”
Make no mistake: the “Rocky block” Dr. McKinney speaks of really is the place where Rocky lived when he courted Adrian and cared for his turtle in the legendary 1976 movie.
And for us and our neighbors, it’s also the place we call home. We can’t not be unaware of its realities.
What does that look like in the place you call home?
According to a 2019 study, the Kensington neighborhood came in last out of 46 Philadelphia neighborhoods, when it came to various health factors and health outcomes. Additionally, as our friends over at the NKCDC recently reminded us, “men living in Kensington can expect to die 18 years earlier than men living six El stop away in Center City.”
But we are not without hope.
Just as the spring seedlings remind us of the literal food our neighbors will soon be able to receive through our Food Choice Pantry (and eventually through expansion efforts of our offices and grocery space), we’re grateful of the leadership of individuals and organizations who truly believe that Kensington can thrive.
The NKCDC makes clear the following two-fold advice: “Plan for equity, not equality” and “Work collaboratively to advance the community’s solutions.” Together, with our neighbors, with other organizations, and with those who love Kensington as its own, we believe that goodness is already here: we can work together for the common good.
Our heroes are already here, already among us, already waiting to spring into action.
Do you believe the same of your neighborhood, wherever it is that you call home?