Nicetown CDC offering a beacon, lighting the way to less violence in Philadelphia

The Nicetown Community Development Corporation is looking to a new administration for the help they need to wage a long-term fight on violence.

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Rowhomes in Nicetown, Philadelphia are visible.

File photo: Some homes in the 3700 block of North 15th Street, in Nicetown. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

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A community development corporation is optimistic that the future is bright for Philadelphia, with a new mayor and help from other state and federal resources.

Majeedah Rashid of the Nicetown Community Development Corporation said a multi-layered solution needs to be worked out to successfully fight violence in Philadelphia.

“Mental and behavioral health supports, fitness, healthier eating, all the things that we left out, starting with families in the schools we work in,” Rashid said. “So that’s why we need all hands on deck to get together and figure out how we are going to restore our village.”

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This weekend, the CDC is having a “Giveback Festival” featuring performances, a fashion show, food, bookbag giveaways, and more. It’s all part of an effort to bring people together and show off the good things the community has to offer.

Zakariyya Abdur Rhaman’s sons were both killed on the streets of Philadelphia, but he’s still optimistic the neighborhood can turn a corner with the right help.

“If we put forth the effort to clean up the neighborhood and make it safe by working with law enforcement, by working with all of our other partners and creating space like we are here in Nicetown, then I do believe we have an opportunity to show the young people that they too, have an inherent right and a responsibility to be stewards of the community.”

Rhaman added that investing in their community is well worth it.

“It’s been 21 years of us trying to unite this community east and west, north and south. This is a good community. It’s a neighborhood hub. You know, you got Wayne Junction to the north and you got Broad and Erie to the south … It’s transit oriented. You know, it’s our economic engine. And so it is worth the investment and worth all the effort in terms of keeping it, turning it around.”

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Rashid believes the effort has to begin with school-aged children, to give them a value-centered mentality that will stay with them so they can fight off the lure of big money through criminal activities.

“Drugs, guns, violence, robbery and all that kind of thing combined. It’s just a vicious cycle. But that’s why I say we need everybody collaborating and all hands on deck to, you know, address these issues,” he said. “I want to also emphasize this. The community has got to get some skin in the game.”

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