I hope efforts like this catch on across the nation.
“[On Sunday] Families and groups of men from across Philadelphia and beyond showed up – their numbers in the thousands as they filed for more than two hours into an auditorium at Temple University.
They were there for 10,000 Men Philly, a street-level mobilization effort that comes as the City of Brotherly Love is marking its second year of decade-high homicide totals. With more than 400 people killed last year and about 320 so far this year, Philadelphia, like Baltimore, is searching for ways to curb violence.
Yesterday’s assembly, promoted by local radio stations and at street rallies last week, was part pep rally and part introduction to a larger plan, organizers said.
The goal is to energize Philadelphia’s black men to act. Those who attended yesterday filled out registration cards with activities for which they’d like to volunteer, which included tutoring youths and patrolling the streets alongside police officers.
“They said we wouldn’t show up,” Bishop Darrell Robinson said to thunderous applause as he kicked off the assembly. “Well, here we are.”
A spokesman said the group had exceeded its goal of attracting 10,000 to the event. Another said attendance was closer to 8,500.
Those who came yesterday filled out a yellow evaluation sheet with details about themselves. Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said that such information can help form an invaluable network that police and community activists can tap into for years to come.
Over the course of two hours, a dozen speakers – including Mayor John Street and music mogul Kenny Gamble, both native Philadelphians – shouted “It’s a new day!” and implored black men to get involved in their communities.
“All eyes of the whole world are on Philadelphia,” Gamble said. “This is the city where America was born.”” – Baltimore Sun