A top official at the U.S. Department of Justice gave a thumbs-up to Philadelphia’s anti-violence initiatives Monday.
Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason visited the Guild, an initiative of the Mural Arts Program to provide job training to ex-offenders, as well as after-school activities at Strawberry Mansion High School.
The justice department has partnered with the city on such efforts since the Obama administration decided last year that Philly should be a part of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention.
“Philadelphia was chosen because it’s a success story,” said Mason. “They’ve done some remarkable work in a community where a lot of people had given up hope.”
Michael Whittington, coordinator of the Guild, said the Mural Arts Program has transformed him. He started taking classes with the initiative several years ago, when he was incarcerated.
“I was heading down the wrong direction,” Whittington said. “It put me in a surrounding that I wasn’t used to at the time, that was just full of love. They put around some real good people that really, really shaped me up.”
Philadelphia has received a grant and other resources for its part in the White House’s anti-violence program.