Organizers say Shooting4Success—created after the death of Roxborough High’s Shawnee Anderson—is reaching youth in ways the city never has.
Brandt says attendance and graduation rates are up this year, and RHS was removed from the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Persistently Dangerous Schools list for 2011-12 (it had been on the list the two previous years). While hesitant to directly correlate those improvements with the wake-up call that was Anderson’s death, Brandt says that “all those things are impacted by our more positive culture and people moving forward in a unified way.”
Brinkley believes the S4S model can be duplicated across Philadelphia if the city adopts a different perspective when dealing with black and Latino youth in particular. “I’m not questioning the sincerity of the mayor [in combating violence], but the way he goes about it is all wrong. Stop lecturing people or sending in the cops to harass them. There are a lot of good, bright kids out here who want to make a difference, so reach out to them and bring them on board instead of pushing them away.”
Mincey hopes S4S will get some financial backing from the city, since she believes her group can accomplish things the city and the police simply can’t.
“I know there’s things they try to do, but to me it has to start with the community,” she says. “These parents have to learn to step up, and these kids need to step up and start coming together and leaving the hatred and the violence behind, and that’s exactly what you’re seeing right here.”
“If it keeps working,” Mincey says, choking up, “then Shawnee didn’t die for nothing.”
Donations to Shooting4Success can be made to any Wells Fargo bank branch.
Like most Abbottsford kids, Rashawn "Shawnee" Anderson frequently made late-evening trips down to Uncle Willie’s to grab a soda and something to eat. But just after 11 p.m. on Feb. 7, police say he was ambushed by at least one person who fired nine times from a .45-caliber handgun. Anderson was struck in the head and neck several times.
Anderson—the Roxborough High School senior and budding basketball star—was gunned down near his apartment in the Abbottsford Homes projects. Police now believe that Anderson’s death is related to at least two other high-profile shootings in the area.