Mayor Michael A. Nutter’s remarks to the Democratic National Committee Meeting on Saturday, February 21, 2015

Prepared remarks follow, check against delivery.

Good morning.  Madam Chair, thank you very much for this opportunity to address this meeting of the Democratic National Committee.  It is a great honor.  To start, I’d like to ask that we join together in cheering and supporting our great Chair who will lead us to victory in 2016 – the work that she has done to provide financial security for the DNC so that we may focus on issues related to our challenges, while moving this party forward and as we move our Nation forward.  She is our great leader.  She is tough, she is strong, she is focused, and she gets the job done.  For all of that and so much more, can we please recognize Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz – our great Democratic National Committee Chair.

Also, to my friend and colleague in the work of mayors, our Secretary, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.  In a few months in San Francisco, she will become the first African-American woman President of the United States Conference of Mayors and we could not be more proud or more excited about her leadership.

There are some strong women leaders around here, and some get nervous about strong, women leaders…well you might want to get used to that.  Madam Chair, I’ll leave that at that for the moment.

All of the officers here on the stage, please recognize the leadership team of the DNC.  And please recognize our great CEO, Amy Dacey.  We know as leaders that we don’t do this work by ourselves, it really is the folks on our staffs that make this work happen.

I want to thank all the people who work for the Chair, and Amy and her team, and the group that went all across the Nation to visit all of the cities last year, thank you for your work.   And speaking of those great cities… Phoenix, Birmingham, Columbus and New York City, please recognize them for their interest, their effort, their commitment and participation in this process to host the DNC in 2016.

On a personal level, my first convention was in 1992 in New York City.  I was a delegate for Bill Clinton.  And at the time I ran folks said, ‘why would you become a delegate for a little-known governor from, at the time, the poorest state in America who has no chance of winning?’.  I said, ‘that’s fine and I’m going to be a Clinton delegate’… and I think we all know the rest of that story.  I’m proud to say I’ve been a Clinton delegate every time there was a Clinton on the ballot… so we’ll see how that goes next year.

We are excited, we are thrilled, and again Madam Chair, we are so proud that the City of Philadelphia, our nation’s first capital city, the city of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, has been selected as the host city for the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Philadelphia is the largest city in America with an African-American mayor.  We will have an economically inclusive convention in our city.  Every opportunity to include the incredible diversity of our city and our nation will be sought out in the economics of what happens during a Democratic National Convention.

You’ll be coming to one of the most diverse cities in the United States – by race, by age, by sexual preference, and every other measure – Philadelphia truly is a microcosm of the United States of America.

Now, I won’t bore you by going over all of the reasons our city was a tremendous choice – suffice to say that Philadelphia is easy to navigate and accessible, has thousands of hotel rooms, exceptional venues for events and incredible amenities, and Philadelphia is one of the best cities in the country to host a large scale event.

But, the one draw that people kept coming back to when they talked about why Philadelphia was the perfect place for the 2016 DNC is our history.

Located in the middle of the Eastern seaboard and the second largest City in the British Empire, Philadelphia was a safe port in the contentious political storm as American colonists struggled toward a decision to break free from tyranny.

It’s where our nation’s forefathers argued and contended as they determined what form a new government might have and how it would work.  Philadelphia helped to define what we now know as democracy in the United States of America.

Philadelphia hosted the first and second Continental Congresses.  The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed here, and in those documents our forefathers also said that every American was entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Almost 200 years later, in 1948 at its national convention, the last Democratic National Convention hosted in Philadelphia, the Democratic Party adopted a civil rights platform.  Hurbert Humphrey urged Democrats to “…get out of the shadow of states’ rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human right.”  And from that moment on, our party became the party of civil rights and human rights.  In that decision, the Democratic Party made history and started down a path to a more just nation for every American.

In 2008, then presidential candidate Barack Obama delivered a powerful and moving speech about race, injustice and hope in America at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia.  He said the true genius of our great nation was our ability to change.

In that speech, “A More Perfect Union”,  Barack Obama talked about what it would take to be a more perfect union.  He talked about the future he saw, a nation united in the fight against complex issues that threaten America’s strength and an election focused on the issues that matter, not the side shows that serve as nothing more than colorful and disruptive distractions.

He reaffirmed the Democratic tenants in that speech in the place where history is made and the place where liberty was wrestled free from tyranny.

Isn’t that what we’re really all about 200 years later, as Democrats?  That people should be able to enjoy their lives – that people should have liberty where they are and be able to pursue their happiness.  That’s what we’ve been doing for hundreds of years and we need to stay focused in that mission.

Some of us may have we lost sight of who we are, what we stand for and what is important.  Some may have let fear dictate our actions instead of principle.  We can’t do that in 2016.

We must have the courage to recommit ourselves to the core values of our party, to solving the challenges of our great nation and addressing the needs of our base.  We must make history again.  And there is no better place than Philadelphia to do it.

We must remember that we are the party of the middle class – and not just those in it today, but those Americans who struggle daily, who are pulling double shifts or taking night classes to work their way into it.

And here in Philadelphia, we have worked hard to keep the faith:

  • When the President said it was time to give America a raise, we responded. Philadelphia, by Executive Order, increased the minimum wage for City contractors and first tier subcontractors.
  • On the same day that Congress introduced legislation that provided paid sick leave for all employees, I signed into law legislation that enables Philadelphia workers to earn 1 hour paid sick time off for every 40 hours worked.

We can do these things.  This is who we are; it’s what we’re about.

We remember the Great Recession – some said ‘let auto fail’, but the President said ‘no’ and auto has come roaring back.  Some said we could not get healthcare but the President said ‘we will’ and millions of Americans now have healthcare.

We put millions of people to work with an economic recovery program of $800 billion when not one Republican in the House and just three in the Senate supported it – it was a month into President Obama’s term, after we had heard all about a post-racial environment, and one month later no one could stand up for Americans but Democrats all across the United States of America because that’s what we do.

We are the party of labor.  We are the party that fights for and protects workers.  We are the party that stands up for every American.  We are the party of civil rights, human rights and LGBT rights.

  •  Philadelphia has the strongest LGBT protections in the nation.

We are the party of equal pay for equal work.  We are the party that champions women’s rights – their right to think for themselves, to be treated fairly and equally, their right to do what they believe is best for themselves and their families.

We are the pro-education party.  We believe that every young person has the right to a high-quality education, beginning in head start and on through to college.  We are the party that believes every person who needs help should get it, because a hand up is never a hand out.  We are the party of community policing and public safety for all.  We’re the party of getting stuff done for Americans.

We are the party that works for the poor, that creates opportunities, and that never gives up.

Lastly, we had an incredible history lesson this morning at the Black Caucus breakfast from Chairman Butterfield – every child in America should see and hear what Chairman Butterfield said.

If you’ve not seen the movie Selma, you need to see it.  This year is the 50th Anniversary of an incredible struggle in America for voting rights, for civil rights, for human rights…the dogs, the hoses, the lynchings, the abuse, the oppression.  Activists walked 54 miles from Selma to Montgomery, and what I say to some people in Philadelphia is: and you can’t be bothered to walk 5 minutes from your house to a polling place to uphold the rights that some people suffered and died to give you, the opportunity to exercise your franchise on Election Day.

No one can stay home on Election Day.  It is a disgrace and insult to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the active work today of Representative John Lewis and many others to not vote.

We know when we vote, we win as Democrats.  When we vote, we win elections.  So we need to make sure that everyone is registered.  But if you’re registered and you don’t go to the polls, it just doesn’t matter.

So we will give folks something to vote for.  We will give folks something to be excited about.  We’ve demonstrated what we can do when we’re active, when we’re energized, when we’re engaged.  We get things done.

The Democratic Party has made history time and time again.  And, we are ready to do it again in Philadelphia in 2016.  The road to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue comes right through Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Watch the video of Mayor Nutter’s speech here:

Tagged with:
Posted in Mayor Announcements


Philadelphia, February 24, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that the Community College of Philadelphia Nominating Panel, consisting of academic, community, and philanthropic leaders, will accept nominations until March 5th for membership on the Board of Trustees of the Community College of Philadelphia. Board of Trustees members serve up to a six-year term, without compensation, and meet monthly. There are currently five seats open on the 15-member board.


“The Community College of Philadelphia is a critically important institution of higher learning, which provides students with the tools they need to succeed in their academic and work careers,” said Mayor Nutter. “I have been honored to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees, and I appreciate that CCP plays a vital role in strengthening our economy and preparing our workforce for the future. I am confident the new members of the board will bring insight and creativity to this significant work.”


The Community College of Philadelphia Nominating Panel will submit a list of applicants to Mayor Nutter who will select his appointments to the board. The Chair of the Nominating Panel, who is selected by the Mayor, is Rosalyn McPherson, CEO of the Urban League of Philadelphia.


“The Community College of Philadelphia, which brings education and training to many of our citizens, is needed more now than ever before,” said Ms. McPherson. “I look forward to reviewing the applications and—with the panel—recommending high-quality, dedicated and exceptional leaders who will help guide the college in the years to come.”


For consideration, applications must be received no later than 5:00 PM on March 9, 2015. To receive an application form, please contact Ms. Miah Tyree at the Urban League of Philadelphia, 121 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 or email

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release


Philadelphia, February 24, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that the Community College of Philadelphia Nominating Panel, consisting of academic, community, and philanthropic leaders, will accept nominations until March 5th for membership on the Board of Trustees of the Community College of Philadelphia. Board of Trustees members serve up to a six-year term, without compensation, and meet monthly. There are currently five seats open on the 15-member board.

“The Community College of Philadelphia is a critically important institution of higher learning, which provides students with the tools they need to succeed in their academic and work careers,” said Mayor Nutter. “I have been honored to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees, and I appreciate that CCP plays a vital role in strengthening our economy and preparing our workforce for the future. I am confident the new members of the board will bring insight and creativity to this significant work.”

 The Community College of Philadelphia Nominating Panel will submit a list of applicants to Mayor Nutter who will select his appointments to the board. The Chair of the Nominating Panel, who is selected by the Mayor, is Rosalyn McPherson, CEO of the Urban League of Philadelphia.

 “The Community College of Philadelphia, which brings education and training to many of our citizens, is needed more now than ever before,” said Ms. McPherson. “I look forward to reviewing the applications and—with the panel—recommending high-quality, dedicated and exceptional leaders who will help guide the college in the years to come.”

 For consideration, applications must be received no later than 5:00 PM on March 9, 2015. To receive an application form, please contact Ms. Miah Tyree at the Urban League of Philadelphia, 121 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 or email

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases


Announces goal of 10,000 jobs citywide



Philadelphia, February 23, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and other city officials, business and philanthropic leaders launched the 2015 Summer Jobs Challenge to motivate organizations from across the City of Philadelphia collectively to create 10,000 summer job opportunities for youth this year.


Mayor Nutter and the Philadelphia Youth Network, managing partner of the city’s cross-sector youth development initiative WorkReady Philadelphia, are encouraging Philadelphia businesses, partners and individuals to join the citywide campaign.


“Youth employment opportunities matter.  Youth employment and the development of a skilled, educated workforce are critical to achieving so many of our city’s long-term priorities,” said Mayor Nutter. “By providing a young person with a summer work opportunity, employers are investing in the future of their company, the future of their young employees, and the future of our entire city.”


In addition to WorkReady Philadelphia, which provides educationally-enriched work and career development opportunities, the City is leading by example through this initiative by incorporating department-led youth employment programs like PowerCorpsPHL and Philly Future Track into the count to reach 10,000 summer jobs this summer and year-round.


Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network, says in order for Philadelphia’s young people to grow both academically and professionally, they need positive work experiences starting at an early age.


“In order to create positive change for Philadelphia’s youth, work experiences must start at an early age to set and develop the foundational skills needed to have a successful future,” said Fulmore-Townsend. “We see in our alumni the power of an early introduction to the workforce.  Using work experiences to help youth identify their purpose and passion is powerful, it improves not just their own lives, but builds stronger communities, and a more robust economy.  The road to economic stability begins with securing investments in our future workforce”


To get involved or learn more about hiring young people this summer, visit online at

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release


Philadelphia, February 20, 2015 – The City of Philadelphia’s CultureBlocks project has been recognized as a 2015 Bright Idea by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. CultureBlocks, managed by the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, is a free online mapping tool that aggregates cultural assets and demographic information that is used to visualize the relationship between cultural activity in Philadelphia neighborhoods and the economic and social wellbeing of those neighborhoods.


“The City of Philadelphia has so many diverse cultural assets, it can be a challenge to know the depth and breadth of the artistic opportunities we have to offer. CultureBlocks is a tremendous resource for all Philadelphians to keep track of the wealth of arts and culture experiences available. Having this information in one place, easily accessible, allows us to make better, more informed decisions around research, planning and investment in our city’s creative economy,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “We are honored that the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation has recognized the value of the CultureBlocks program. I want to thank all of the partners who made this project happen; it is a great example of what we can accomplish when public and private sectors work together to improve our city.”


CultureBlocks, launched in 2013, is a public-private partnership between the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy; the Department of Commerce; The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) Policy Map; and the Social Impact of the Arts Project (SAIP) at the University of Pennsylvania. The project is supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and ArtPlace.


Individuals, organizations and funders can use CultureBlocks to identify cultural and socio-economic disparities across the City of Philadelphia in a highly visual, relationship-driven manner in order to make strategic investment decisions. The data collected for CultureBlocks was also used to generate a supplemental research report, Cultural Ecology, Neighborhood Vitality, and Social Wellbeing – A Philadelphia Project, which served as a companion to the datasets in the tool and additional data provided by the City.


This is the fourth cohort recognized through the Bright Ideas program, an initiative of the broader Innovations in American Government Awards program. For consideration as a Bright Idea, programs must currently be in operation or in the process of launching and have sufficient operational resources and must be administered by one or more governmental entities; nonprofit, private sector, and union initiatives are eligible if operating in partnership with a governmental organization. Bright Ideas are showcased on the Ash Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online platform for practitioners and policymakers to share innovative public policy solutions.


“The Bright Ideas program demonstrates that often seemingly intractable problems can be creatively and capably tackled by small groups of dedicated, civic-minded individuals,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in Government Program at the Ash Center. “As exemplified by this year’s Bright Ideas, making government work better doesn’t always require massive reforms and huge budgets. Indeed, we are seeing that, in many ways, an emphasis on efficiency and adaptability can have further-reaching effects than large-scale reforms.”




To view the CultureBlocks, visit:


For more information on the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, visit

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release


Philadelphia, February 19, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter delivered a major keynote address on his Administration’s efforts to reduce youth violence across the City of Philadelphia after a meeting with philanthropic funders and partner agencies at Temple University. His prepared remarks are as follows, please check against delivery:

“I just finished a meeting with local funders and partners investing in youth violence prevention in our region. I got to hear from them first-hand about their work and coordinated efforts they are engaged in to address this serious and pressing challenge in Philadelphia and across the Nation.

I want to say thank you for your commitment to making Philadelphia a safer city for every resident and your work to steer young people away from violence and crime and toward positive and productive opportunities.

Over the last few years, I have had countless opportunities to tout the change taking hold in Philadelphia, the sense of hope and optimism for our City, the positive trend line Philadelphia is now on.

Our population is growing. Businesses are relocating here and development is occurring at an unparalleled level. Our unemployment rate is at its lowest point since 2008 and the number of people working in Philadelphia has not been this high since 2001. Our educational attainment rates are up for both high school and college students. Homicide and violent crime rates are down considerably – the murder rate is at its lowest point since 1967 and violent crime is at a 30-year low.

But while the trends are clearly positive, there are some deeply rooted challenges that still threaten the bright future for our city – poverty, lack of educational opportunity and attainment, unemployment and violence. These challenges are interconnected and they affect every person in our City.

Philadelphia’s most violent, crime-ridden neighborhoods are also most often the places with the highest unemployment rates, highest levels of people living below the poverty line (mainly children and seniors), and lowest high school graduation rates.

All three issues are inextricably linked. Quality educational opportunities lead to more students who go on to higher education, who are less likely to be involved in a violent crime, and who are more likely to gain the skills needed to find employment.

Young people without that high-quality education face a harsh reality and are often not equipped with the interpersonal skills or options to navigate past these difficult circumstances.

Notwithstanding all the positive trends I mentioned earlier, if Philadelphia does not address youth violence with collective efforts, our progress cannot and will not be sustained.

Today, I want to share with you the long-term approach my Administration has taken to address all of these challenges simultaneously and comprehensively. We call it the Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative – a group of government, philanthropic and private-sector partner organizations committed to ending youth violence in Philadelphia through a strategy which will develop and grow for many years to come.

With our partners in the Collaborative, we have begun to build something: a safety net of security for our city, which began with a new way of looking at these interrelated problems and a new way of working together to connect the solutions. Our net is still a work-in-progress as we weave together an array of services across Philadelphia.

Last year, 248 Philadelphians were murdered on our streets. 40% of homicide victims are young people 24 years old or less. So on average, about 100 of those 248 murder victims were young people.

Further, about 75% of the homicide victims and 80% of the known perpetrators we arrest fir of violent crime in the City of Philadelphia are young, African-American men.

In the United States today, on average, one in three – that’s one in three – African-American men will have contact with the criminal justice system at some point during their lives.

But these numbers don’t and can’t tell the whole story. These victims and perpetrators are more than numbers on a tally sheet. They are fathers, sons, brothers, cousins, nephews – our fellow citizens’ loved ones and friends.

On August 20, 2014, a 16-year old was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest fired by a 17- year old in the Point Breeze section of South Philadelphia. On New Year’s Day, an 18-year old was killed by multiple gunshot wounds to the head fired by a 16-year old in the Olney section of North Philadelphia. And on January 16, 2015, a 14-year old was killed when he was stabbed in the chest by a 16-year old at the intersection of 46th & Market Streets in West Philadelphia.

Different neighborhoods, different weapons, different motives. But they all have a few things in common: they were all young, they were all boys, and they were all black.

And even though these young men all share similar characteristics, black-on-black violence is not an isolated problem and it doesn’t just affect the black community. It affects every member of every community in our city and beyond.

Violence and death rip out the heart and soul of a community, it tears apart our civil society and lessens the ties that bind us as human beings. There are other impacts as well.

It raises our costs to ensure public safety and reduces our budget to provide other services like recreation centers and libraries. It impacts the entire city as a public health crisis: over time wiping out thousands of young men, imprisoning others and the trauma inflicted and inflicting trauma on thousands more.

The collateral damage is outrageous: a 3-year-old girl shot in the crossfire while she was sitting on her front steps getting her hair braided; an elderly man gunned down in his home as he was getting dressed when a bullet pierced his bedroom wall.

The trauma is internalized by the victims, their families, the perpetrators’ families, their neighbors and even the people passing by on the street who see the crime scene tape blowing in the wind, the chalk outlines and the shell casings in the street. The trauma and fear spread through a community like a virus.

I want to share with you the story of another young man who was arrested and charged with murder this past December, who likely witnessed violent and traumatic events at an early age.

On September 8, 2014, 17-year-old Naaire Murray was found dead from a gunshot wound to the chest in his home at 24th & Huntingdon Streets, just south of Lehigh Avenue. The apparent motive was an argument. Arrested for the crime was 18-year-old Jason Cassius Broaster, who had fled to Georgia. If his last name seems familiar to you, it probably should.

Jason’s father, Cassius Broaster, and his uncle, Jerome “Mo” Broaster, were alleged to have instigated a gun-fight the morning of February 11, 2004 outside Pierce Elementary School, a gun battle that resulted in the death of 10 year old Faheem Thomas Childs. Two other men, Kareem Johnson and Kennel Spady, were convicted of killing Childs in 2006.

According to sources, Cassius Broaster’s girlfriend told police that his car had been sprayed with bullets after he dropped off their son at school. Jason Broaster would have been 8 at the time.

Then-Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson had called the Broaster brothers “the worst people in the city as far as violence is concerned”. In 2012, the Federal government caught up with them, along with brothers Elliott and Larkeem, and indicted all of them on drug charges.

Now, there is no way of knowing all of the details of that day or if the son Cassius Broaster was dropping off at Pierce Elementary that morning was Jason, but it is very likely it was Jason and that speaks to the violent environment in which young Jason Broaster grew up in and now is a perpetrator of violence himself – he is now involved in a cycle of senseless, intergenerational, almost-unending geographic pattern of violence.

The 2004 shooting at Pierce and the shooting 10 years later that killed Naaire Murray happened within 4 blocks in the same neighborhood of North Philadelphia in the 22nd Police District.

How do we confront violence that is so deeply engrained in generations of families, behavior that is decades in the making?

Crime and violence aren’t created in a vacuum. I don’t believe people are born bad – something happens along the way. There are a series of moments in their lives that set them on a path toward making good or bad choices.

And therein lies the hope: if there are moments in a child’s life when they have choices to make, then there are opportunities for us to provide them with the knowledge, tools, support and guidance in advance so that they are empowered to make the right choices.

We need to help children navigate the dangerous ‘forks in the road’. We need to start paying attention to every, single child. We need to envision a city where every child has their own, what I’m calling, ISP: an Individualized Success Plan.

We need to help young people at critical points in their lives through a web of overlapping institutions and services that creates one, comprehensive safety net of security, which will catch and protect children who are growing up in dangerous environments.

I believe we are up to the task. If any city in America can lead the way on this issue, it is Philadelphia. We are a City of firsts and we can be the first to tackle, in a meaningful, measurable, comprehensive, impactful way, one of the great societal crises of our time.

My Administration has been working on this issue for the last seven years, and we will continue to work on it until literally my last day in office.

When I became Mayor I asked Charles Ramsey to serve as Police Commissioner and brought on a former public defender, Everett Gillison, as the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety. We built a public safety team, including a strengthened Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB), that supports a place and community-based strategy to effectively address youth violence.

I must say, however, that our approach was received skeptically at first. Philadelphia had been through decades of previous attempts to quell the violence, and citizens wanted to know what would be different this time.

The difference was our emphasis on community, on building more trust between police and citizens, and a thoughtful, long-term approach.

We knew that just adding more police would do little if the neighbors didn’t trust them. Policing is not the key to community safety, a strong community is. We modeled our approach after a time in this city when a sense of community bound neighbors and neighborhoods together – when there was a sense of shared destiny and responsibility. I lived that experience growing up in West Philadelphia. Many people I speak to had that experience – it is not unique.

So our Administration took a “listen-first” approach to what different communities across our city needed in order to feel safe in their homes and on the street, and unsurprisingly, every neighborhood’s needs, concerns and ideas were different.

This led to an initiative called PhillyRising, launched in 2010 with funding from the Department of Justice, which targets neighborhoods that are plagued by chronic crime and quality-of-life concerns, and establishes partnerships with community members to address their concerns and their ideas, not ours.

PhillyRising is based on a common sense and flexible use of the ‘broken windows’ theory of policing, and works with the community instead of just sending police into neighborhoods like an occupying force.

For example: near McPherson Square in Kensington, neighbors complained about a dead, hollow tree which was being used as a stash place by drug dealers. In addition to increased police patrols to apprehend the dealers, PhillyRising coordinated City services to remove the tree and clean up the square to make it less conducive to criminal activity. This initiative is currently operating in 19 neighborhoods, with plans to expand to 25 communities across the city.

As PhillyRising established itself in our city, we sought to increase the effectiveness of our efforts by working with partner agencies to bring additional resources to our neighborhoods.

We secured grants – state, federal, private, philanthropic – and joined initiatives that support our underlying goal: to interrupt and disrupt the cycle of poverty and crime that leads to youth violence in targeted areas of our city.

In 2012, the City of Philadelphia received two grants from the U.S. Department of Justice. We joined the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, which allowed us to establish our own Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative, and we received a demonstration grant for our place-based, youth violence prevention strategy in the city’s 22nd Police District.

Also in 2012, in response to the overwhelming effect of violence on the black community, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and I established Cities United, a national partnership to eliminate violence related injuries and deaths of African-American men and boys. Today, 62 Mayors across the country are engaged in this partnership.

In 2013, the Mantua neighborhood in West Philadelphia was designated by President Obama as one of the nation’s first federal Promise Zones, an initiative designed to address the challenges associated with deep and persistent poverty in specific areas.

Also in 2013, the City received a federal Choice Neighborhoods Grant from HUD to develop a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plan for North Central Philadelphia aimed at three core goals: affordable housing, opportunities for individuals and families, and stabilizing neighborhoods. These three goals mirrored issues already identified in Philadelphia as key challenges in our violence prevention strategy.

In 2014, President Obama launched, and Philadelphia joined, the ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative which parallels Cities United: to improve opportunities for men and boys of color. With MBK, the very highest levels of our government have publicly recognized the impact of losing so many African-American, Latino and other men and boys of color is having on our nation, and the work is progressing.

Last November, Philadelphia hosted a local action summit for My Brother’s Keeper and this coming April we will host a national convening for Cities United.

Our Administration pursued each one of these initiatives or grants because they supported and reinforced our new, comprehensive strategy being developed by the Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative. All of this work is interrelated; all of this work is on purpose. There is a strategy.

Created in partnership with the Stoneleigh Foundation and more than 100 local organizations, the mission of the Collaborative is to prevent youth violence in Philadelphia by creating a safe environment that supports the development of healthy, productive citizens through a long-term, city-wide, multi-disciplinary approach – focusing on youth ages 14-24.

And since everything needs to begin somewhere, we chose to focus the work of our new Collaborative in the section of the city where it is needed the most: the 22nd Police District in North Philadelphia, which encompasses the neighborhoods of Strawberry Mansion, Brewerytown, Sharswood, North Central, and parts of Allegheny West.

The 22nd District is an area that has been plagued by violence and related issues for more than 40 years. Its’ neighborhoods have some of the highest shooting and homicide rates, highest poverty and unemployment rates, and lowest graduation rates in the city. We decided to take on the toughest challenge out there.

In 2014, 117 people were shot in the 22nd District and more than half of those victims, 62, were youth. Tragically, 29 people were victims of homicide in the District, and 8 of them were 24 years old or younger. This district has the highest incidence of shooting victims in the city.

42% of the residents in the 22nd District live at or below the federal poverty line – the highest rate of concentrated poverty in the city – and 38% of the youth (16-24 year olds) in the district are unemployed.

Strawberry Mansion High School is the only public high school in the 22nd District. For the 2013-2014 school year, Strawberry Mansion’s on-time graduation rate was 36% – the lowest in the city.

The 22nd also has the greatest number of families living in Philadelphia Housing Authority residences of any police district and accounts for 35% of all homicides in PHA housing city-wide.

But, the 22nd District also has a long and rich history of community engagement and an excellent institution in Temple University, so we worked with these strong partners to earn the confidence and respect of residents and create lasting, positive change.

The holistic approach we’ve been testing in the 22nd is what we think it’s going to take to truly curtail youth violence now and in the years to come. It has meant addressing the contributing factors: education, lack of opportunity and unemployment. But it has also meant treating the entire community for the damage done by violence through trauma-informed care.

Let me give you a few examples of the work we’re doing in these areas with our partner organizations and the encouraging results we’re already seeing.

Education and After-School

As I discussed earlier, the best way to put a child on the path to success is to begin early with a solid educational foundation, but many of our city’s schools are not providing that for all of our students.

Part of the problem is that our schools are drastically underfunded. Our Administration and City Council have invested in education, more than $360 million in new annual funding over the last five years, and we will continue to make education a priority working with our new Governor Tom Wolf and our Philadelphia delegation in Harrisburg.

But that’s only part of the problem. Students face daily challenges like safely getting to and from school, a deficit of academic options and guidance while they are at school, and a lack of quality after-school programming between 3 and 6pm when they are most likely to get into trouble.

In the 22nd District, the Collaborative has launched programs specifically designed to address the needs of students in these schools.

Working with the United States Attorney’s Office, the Collaborative established a football program for the first time in 40 years at Strawberry Mansion High School – ensuring the players had uniforms, physical evaluations from a physician (a Collaborative partner), and even a tailgate party featuring a community resource fair for the team’s first homecoming game.

The City received a $200,000 grant through the U.S. Department of Justice to expand programs called “Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports” (PBIS) in four schools in the 22nd District. PBIS provides curriculum for teachers to talk about violence and conflict resolution with students in conjunction with academics.

The Genuardi Family Foundation recently invested $25,000 in the East Park Revitalization Alliance to support its work: providing after school and summer programming at the City’s Mander Recreational Center, teaching gardening and horticulture at the Green Resource Center, and instruction at the Culinary School in Strawberry Mansion High School.

The donation from the Genuardi Family Foundation will help immensely the East Park Revitalization Alliance, a small grassroots organization, with its immediate administrative costs and provide the opportunity to secure more public and private funding.

These investments are relatively small, targeted efforts that can and will make a tremendous difference. I strongly believe that education is the safety net through which we can increase opportunities for children to make the right choices; education is the greatest economic investment we can make.

Jobs and Opportunity

The Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative focuses on youth ages 14-24 years old, and we recognize that there is a great difference between a teenager in search of a summer or part-time job, and a young adult, perhaps coming out of the corrections system with little or no work experience and limited education.

As such, the Collaborative has prioritized helping those young adults get into, and stay in, the labor force. As I mentioned earlier, the unemployment rate for youth in the 22nd is nearly 40%.

Through the Collaborative and other City agencies, we have launched numerous programs to address the gap between a young person’s current skills and the prerequisites necessary for entry into the workforce.

In 2014, the City invested more $7 million dollars to create summer job experiences for youth across Philadelphia – the largest amount the City has ever invested in recent history. After our meeting with local funders this time last year, the Collaborative raised an additional $86,000 in private funding for summer jobs from the Patricia Kind Family Foundation and the Samuel S. Fels Fund (on top of what funders like Lincoln Financial Foundation were already investing). Those additional funds went directly toward placing 904 youth from the neighborhoods in 22nd District in summer jobs.

Also last year, the City was awarded a $750,000 Second Chance Act grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, which the City will match, to provide a range of supportive services including housing and employment for citizens returning from the Philadelphia Prison System to areas in and around the 22nd Police District.

Additionally, The City of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, and the Greenlight Fund are expanding our capacity to provide transitional jobs to older at-risk youth, ages 18-24, particularly those coming out of incarceration or detention.

Through a one-year investment of almost $1 million, the City will be funding a program operated by the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) in Philadelphia.

CEO will provide 150 slots of temporary, paid transitional work experience in the City’s Parks & Recreation Department. CEO staff will provide support for placement and retention in the labor force for young people, who are all returning to the neighborhoods in the 22nd Police District.

Our Administration also instituted three major policy changes in the past year which will also improve the life opportunities and life outcomes of Philadelphians – an increase in the living wage to $12/hour for city contractors and subcontractors; decriminalization of marijuana; and I was proud to sign paid sick leave legislation last month – all initiated by City Council and ultimately supported by our Administration.

Trauma Informed Care

The final contributing factor to violence among youth which we have sought to address is the lack of trauma-informed care.

Very young children exposed to trauma early in life often act out in ways early childhood providers are not equipped to handle, which may result in a child making bad choices and a lifetime of struggle.

Among victims of violence seen by Healing Hurt People, a program run in part by a Stoneleigh Fellow at Hahnemann Hospital, 56% reported that they had experienced 3 or more hardships during childhood.

The Health Federation of Philadelphia and the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey recently received an award from The William Penn Foundation to provide foundational training on trauma to early childhood educators and parents in the 22nd District. The award, $473,000 over two years, will instruct 600 parents and 350 early childhood educators who serve 1,600 children.

The City, in partnership with the Temple University Medical School, received $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to implement Ceasefire in the 22nd District, a program which stops the spread of violence in communities by using methods and strategies associated with disease control. Ceasefire is now partnering with Healing Hurt People to provide hospital-based, trauma-informed interventions for patients at Temple University Hospital.

Philadelphia’s Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative is developing a new way of addressing and responding to youth violence.

There’s a lot more to this work, and I’ve laid out much of our work and told you about some of our incredible partners and stakeholders.

It is no longer just about policing, arrests and prison – it is about prevention in the early stages of a young person’s life, intervention when they become at-risk to make bad choices, and – when they reach that fork in the road – ensuring that every single child has the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty, crime and violence.

We have taken a targeted, place-based approach to focus on neighborhoods with the greatest needs. Going forward, part of the Collaborative’s mission is to develop a long-term, city-wide strategy that will be woven into the fabric of our government – every department and agency has a role to play in this work.

As Mayor, I didn’t invent picking up the trash or plowing snow – those operations happened before me an after me because that’s just what government does. Citizens pay tax dollars and expect to receive services. Since the crisis of violence is a true public health epidemic, there is no reason why we cannot make permanent our public service response to violence, especially youth violence, in the same way.

But you must ensure that this work continues inside and outside of government as well. As institutional leaders with broad influence across our city, you have the ability to inform and shape public policy.

I will go, but the work, the effort, the impact must continue. And whoever comes next as mayor must understand how critically important, how vital this work is and continue it.

So, I am asking you, the members of the Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative and those of you with us today who are not yet partners, to demonstrate your belief in the Collaborative’s work through your actions and resources. I’m asking you to make a commitment to the lives and life outcomes of young people in Philadelphia.

Everyone can do something: you can volunteer their time or services, you can align the mission of their organization with the goal of ending youth violence, or you can fund what others are doing through grant-making and investments.

Let me be clear, this is not like much of the other work you are doing. This is not a a 3-year grant opportunity.

It means making a 10 year commitment or more. Quite frankly, I need you – we need you – to invest in a generation of change. That’s what we need, that’s what our children need to live to 20 and beyond. Many children out there on our street don’t even believe that they will live to 20. If you’re only interested in the short-term, this work isn’t for you. I’m ask you to get involved now. We’re at a critical stage in this work, and what we’re doing is working.

It’s true in city planning, and it’s true in violence prevention and youth safety – as Daniel Burnham said, “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.”

This is the time, this is the critical point of moving boldly, aggressively, proudly forward – or the real possibility exists that we could gradually, slowly, painfully, one death at a time slide backward and watch our children die.

I refuse to let that happen.

Make this work your work, make this work the city’s work, make this work your foundation’s work, make this work our collective work…

to save lives, to build futures, to set our city free from violence, free from bloodshed, free from trauma, free from oppression, free from fear, free to walk down the street, free to play outside, free to go to the supermarket…

free to know what our founding Founding Fathers really meant 239 years ago when they said, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Let that be the promise of being a citizen of Philadelphia – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It will be in your hands now, to take up this great challenge of our city and nation – to continue this work, commit to this work, contribute to this work with the urgency of now.

We have become a great city and we have begun the process of addressing the issues that are holding us back. It cannot end here. There are thousands of youth, especially young, black men, that need your help. Young lives are in your hands.

Thank you for the work that you do and thank you for being here today. God bless you all.”

Watch the speech here.

View the Strategic Report here.

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release


Philadelphia, February 19, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter issued the following statement in response to the decision yesterday by the School Reform Commission on 39 applications for new charter schools:

Faced with yet another huge deficit in its budget, the School Reform Commission has been placed in a fiscal and political vice grip, and yet last night in its handling of 39 charter school applications, it acted in a prudent manner by running a thorough and diligent process and then approving five applications as a small part of its overall strategy to continue creating and supporting great schools for every student.

Approving five charter applications does not have a fiscal impact on the school district’s budget starting in July, and it has a minimal impact in the final years of the District’s Five Year Plan. The new charter seats created last night are roughly the same in number as those in other charters that are closing or likely to close this year. And significantly, the SRC also put conditions on these new charter schools while delaying final authorization until later this year, thus demonstrating its commitment to educational quality balanced with fiscal responsibility.

But we must not let this debate divide us and take our eyes off the well-established need to change completely the methods that the Commonwealth uses to fund public education. It’s unfair and unfortunate that the SRC is in a position where it must choose between expanding quality education for some students at the expense of others. This must change.

We who understand the importance of properly funded, high-quality public education in building a strong and resilient economy in the City and state will be advocating for a fair and full funding formula for public education that includes charter school reimbursement payments to school districts, either in the formula or as a separate line item.

In the last five years, as the state receded in its support for schools across the Commonwealth, the City of Philadelphia has acted as a responsible funder, adding more than $360 million in annual recurring dollars for the School District. Establishing a new full and fair funding formula for public education in Pennsylvania is the most important public policy decision facing the Governor and the General Assembly, and we will be there fighting for our children and all children in the Commonwealth.

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases
Top Rated Posts

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 176 other followers