Pennsylvania’s 192nd legislative district is located in West Philadelphia and includes the neighborhoods of Carroll Park, Overbrook and Wynnefield. These are neighborhoods full of history and culture, the prestigious St. Joseph’s University, and a budding middle class comprised of young African-American families.
Philadelphia, as a whole, is a city under siege, leading the state in hand gun murders while neighborhoods such as Carroll Park, Overbrook and Wynnefield hang in the balance of becoming better or worse. These communities were negatively impacted by the crack cocaine epidemic in the 1980’s, and they are currently plagued by the flight of their professional class as crime increases while quality jobs and opportunities decrease.
Overbrook High School, the main high school for the 192nd legislative district, has the dubious distinction of appearing on the state’s ‘Persistently Dangerous School’ list (PDS) since the inception of the list in 2003. It must also be noted that all of the schools on the 2009-2010 PDS list are located in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, in addition to being ‘unsafe’, Overbrook High School has also been labeled as ‘under performing’ by the Philadelphia School District.
West Philadelphia is perched on a tight rope. Although Philadelphia thrives in the midst of an urban renaissance as she attempts to re-brand herself as a world-class city, residents of West Philadelphia neighborhoods suffer; as single mothers struggle to feed their children, and black males struggle with unemployment. Locally, black male unemployment stands at 15.4%. According to the U.S. Labor Department the unemployment rate for black males nationwide is 16.5%. This is the highest rate among all groups in the United States.
Far too many of our children have been left behind by underfunded day care, under performing schools, and being forced to walk unsafe streets. In the world’s most prosperous nation, Philadelphia’s citizens are victimized by the lack of high quality, affordable health insurance. While 49 states in America have found a way to balance their budgets, in 2009 the Pennsylvania State Legislature has been engaged in the longest running budget crisis in state history, causing public schools, day care facilities, and social service agencies to suffocate. This in turn has caused Philadelphia residents to suffer a great deal of hardships.
Our state government’s priorities are flawed. Rather than spending millions to continue expanding the prison industrial complex, we need to save our children and redirect those resources to our public schools, colleges and universities!
While big business and casinos thrive while receiving ten-year tax abatements during an unprecedented period of economic growth, not everyone has been afforded the opportunity to share the wealth. Many of the residents of the 192nd legislative district, their children and their families have in fact been left far behind.
Courageous leaders of previous generations have struggled to secure civil liberties for the under served. Unfortunately, many of today’s elected officials have not been bold or brave enough to provide the strong vision and leadership needed to take Philadelphia and Pennsylvania to the next level. I am seeking the opportunity to provide the 192nd district with the strong vision and bold leadership she deserves.