"I Wouldn't Wish Living Here on Anyone"

Writer KIA GREGORY, a native of North Philadelphia, pleads with visiting members of the NAACP to help stop the killing of our children.

By Kia Gregory
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 4 | Posted Jul. 7, 2004

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Dear NAACP Conventioneers:

Welcome to Philadelphia, which we like to think of as the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection.

Walking through Center City, you'll get a sense of how we combine rich history and modernization to make our very old city come to life.

We're home to the Liberty Bell, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Runaway slaves found their freedom here through our Underground Railroad stops. And the nation's first abolitionist society was created here, giving birth to the civil rights movement.

We have great museums and shopping. And we're a legendary music town, home to the Sound of Philadelphia, the Gamble and Huff legacy.

Patti LaBelle is a Philadelphian, as are Jill Scott and Eve. We have lots of venues for live music--jazz and blues, rock and R&B.

And, as you've probably heard, we like to eat. You'll find everything from Southern fried chicken and waffles to Russian caviar.

And of course, there's our famous Philly cheesesteak.

So welcome. Have a good time. Enjoy your stay.


But there's something else you should know: Beneath the sparkle of our Center City, we're a black community in crisis.

You should know this, because for 95 years, the organization you belong to--the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)--has been at the forefront of securing, protecting and advancing our civil rights through political pressure, marches and demonstrations.

Your legacy is enduring.

But today, here in Philadelphia, which is home to one of the NAACP's oldest branches, we're failing our children--especially our black children.

Which is why we need to send you a very direct message. We need help. Your help.

We have inferior and underfunded schools. Most students in our public schools can't read or write at grade level. They graduate from high school with the equivalent of an eighth-grade education.

Our communities face rampant poverty, unemployment and blight, as well as drug use and trafficking.

There are too many single mothers and absentee fathers.

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 4 of 4
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1. JIM said... on Dec 26, 2008 at 05:24PM

“HEY MY NAME IS JIM I LIVE IN SAN FRANCISCO NOW BUT THAT WAS A VERY SAD DAY FOR ME WHEN I LIVED IN SOUTHWEST PHILLY. I SAW THAT LITTLE BOY LAYING IN THAT STORE .AND THERE WAS ANOTHER BOY SHOT SITTING BY A TREE ON 60TH ST I THINK HE WAS SHOT IN THE BUTTOX. WHAT MADE ME STOP WAS A LADDY SCREAMING AT ATHE STORE DOORWAY SHE ASKED ME IS HE DEAD I SAID I THINK SO. I THINK SHE WAS THE GRAND MOTHER. I WAS NO MORE GOOD THE REST OF THAT MONTH THAT MADE ME VERY ANGRY. MT BOYS WERE ABOUT MARCUS YATES AGE AT THAT TIME. ONE OF MT BOYS GOT CAUGHT IN A SHOOTOUT AT THE SALT AND PEPPER DELI ABOUT A YEAR AFTER MARCUS,A MAN IN THE STORE JUMPED ON TOP OF MY SON TO KEEP HIM FROM GETTING SHOT.I STILL LOVE PHILLY AND VISIT EVERY YEAR BUTT I COULD NOT LIVE THERE ANY MORE . IT IS STILL DANGEROUS IN PHILLY.”

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2. Malcolm Yates said... on Mar 25, 2010 at 09:32AM

“Jim,

I was that boy on the tree.. email me sometimes
mjy12@hotmail.com”

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3. Rochelle Yates said... on Nov 3, 2011 at 05:18AM

“I am Marcus' mother: please email me at psalms27rw@yahoo.com. I need closure because I was at work at the time. I know you can answer many of my questions.”

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4. Anonymous said... on Feb 6, 2014 at 07:24PM

“HI MISS YATES. ME AND MY SISTER USE TO PLAY WITH YOUR SON ON 60TH AND TRINITY ST. THAT SAME MY SISTER WAS TOLD TO STAY IN THE HOUSE BECAUSE WE HAD HOUSE WORK TO DO. BUT MY SISTER DID NOT LISTEN. JUST BEFORE THE SHOOTING. MY SISTER AND YOUR SON WAS GOING TO THAT STORE TOGETHER TO PLAY THE GAMES AND GET SOME CANDY. MY MOTHER TOLD HER NO SO SHE DID NOT GO. YOUR SON COULD NOT WAIT NO LONGER SO HE WHEN ON. TELL THIS DAY I WISH MY MOTHER WOULD HAVE TOLD HIM TO STAY AND WAIT. WHEN WE HEARD THE GUN SHOOTS ECHO FROM AFAR. ALL I COULD DO WAS PRAY. MY MOTHER RAN AROUND THE CORNER TO SEE WHAT HAD HAPPEN. THEN I FOLLOWED. GOT PASS THE SUPERMARKET. MY YOUNGER SISTER WAS COMING OUT OF THE SUPERMARKET. AND I LOOKED DOWN THE STREET ON TO THE STORE. AND OMG ALL COULD THANK OF AND SAY TO MY MOM MARCUS WENT TO THAT STORE. MISS YATES I AM NOW 36 YEARS OLD AS OF TODAY I HUGE MY KIDS AND TELL THEM I LOVE THEM. WHAT I SEEN ON THAT DAY STEAL HURTS MY HEART AS WE SPEAK. I WAS THANKING ABOUT HIM IN YOU.”

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