My favorite football team, the Philadelphia Eagles, are the 2018 Super Bowl Champions.  I am grateful to have witness my favorite football team win their first Super Bowl.  This team displayed teamwork and perseverance the entire season.  They certainly deserved the title, and  have now awarded the “underdog” city its first Super Bowl championship.

The Eagles players are impressive on the field, but in this piece, I would like to express some efforts players can make off the field. Players like, Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long, have put tremendous time in supporting impoverished communities, especially Black neighborhoods.  The passion these football players have displayed to improve black lives has presented me with promising ideas to get the Super Bowl champions engaged in improving the lives of disenfranchised Philadelphian children.  I would like to propose educational reform within Philadelphia (northwest region), and introduce after-school programs to improve the quality of Philly’s disenfranchised.

Before I introduce some of these ideas, it is important to understand and acknowledge the city’s most pivotal social issues.  According to The Inquiry: Philadelphia, a 2016 survey from Pew Charitable Trust, reported out of the 1,640 Philadelphians surveyed, most were concerned with “public safety” with 44 percent of the votes. (Whelan, Aubrey, 2016).  Education came in second with 20 percent of the votes (jobs/economy was third (14%).  Almost two-thirds of Philadelphian participants believe public safety and education are the most critical concerns in the city.  There is a bit of irony between the two most voted issues on the survey.  Public safety can usually be a high concern for communities that have a low percentage of high school and college-educated citizens.  In other words, communities with a lack of educated citizens may endure violent communities due to poverty, unemployment, mental instability, and a lack of community development.  Neighborhoods with educated constituents tend to have safer communities.  Not to many citizens with a Ph.D are shooting people in their city; or engage in selling illegal narcotics, albeit Americans with Ph.Ds sell “legal” drugs everyday!

The survey presented had different answers by race.  The study found that 72 percent of Philadelphians had respect for law enforcement. (Whelan, Aubrey).  Unfortunately, this was differentiated by race. Only 60% of both Blacks and Hispanics were reported to have respect for law enforcement, while 86% of Caucasians had respect for the police force.  Also, sixty percent of Caucasians believed police treated Blacks the same as whites, while only forty-six percent of Blacks believed the same thing.  In 2017, murders in Philadelphia increased about 14% from 2016.  It was important to examine who, and where, the 317 homicides were affecting because “37% of surveyors said they felt unsafe outside their neighborhoods at night.” Philadelphia’s majority population is 44% Black. (Census Bureau, 2017). Unfortunately, 79% of the homicides resulted in Black victims.  Of the 317 homicides, 250 were Black individuals, 41 were Hispanic victims, and only 26, or 8%, were white victims; even thought the white population makes up 35% of the city. (philly.com).  Clearly, the city’s majority race has concerns about law enforcement and its overall public safety.

For the most part, the city of “Brotherly Love” seems to only apply to the white population.  Black children and young adults within the city are dying by the gun.  Eighty-two percent of all murders were committed by firearms.  Philadelphians (ages 16-25) who were murdered, died by the gun at a rate of 90% (2.3% by hand).  Perhaps the only time gun policies need to be changed is when fair-skinned kids are slaughtered.  The most appalling fact about homicides in Philadelphia is the racially-imbalanced regions in which they are occurring.  The most murderous counties in Philadelphia the last three decades have been Allegheny West, East Germantown, and Cedar Brook.  Check this out; the Black populations in each of these regions are 91%, 90%, and 95%, respectively. (philly.com). This gives evidence to the fact that the most dangerous regions in Philly are Black neighborhoods.  Some of the safer communities in the city are Roxborough, Chestnut Hill, and East Falls.  The white populations in these counties are 80%, 73%, and 64%, respectively.  Keep in mind, the average Caucasian population in Philadelphia is 35%, so these particular neighborhoods can be considered to be racially segregated…ahh, so that may be a reason 86% of reported white Philadelphians respect police; they keep them safe from Black Philadelphian violence. Makes sense.

So back to the premise of this article; what can the Super Bowl Champions do to improve the inequitable conditions in Northwest Philadelphia?  Eagles players can engage in bringing awareness to Philadelphia students about the senseless violence that occurs in their city.  Players can teach students how to cooperate with their peers in a respectful manner, as well as, how to properly behave when confronted by police officers. This education can negate physical confrontations with law enforcement and allow minorities to have civil conversations with police officers.  Players, as well as faculties, can lecture students on their civil rights, and allow unaware students to gain knowledge in the legal field.

To make this plausible, public schools in the northwest region must incorporate and reform after-school programs, and curriculums.  After-school programs will allow students to connect with their favorite Philadelphia sports stars (including the 76ers and Phillies).  A large portion of Black children in the United States are fatherless.  Orchestrating after-school programs  with sports stars will give fatherless students the opportunity to have discourse with their male role-models, which often accumulates to be sports stars or entertainers.  These students will be able to share personal experiences about their community with Philadelphia athletes and dedicated school faculty.  Male athletes can give disenfranchised students a sense of hope in life, and allow them to envision a different perspective in life through after-school programs.

Curriculums, and after-school programs, can include discussions about police brutality; etiquette with law enforcement; gun violence; War on Drugs disparities; the industrial-prison complex; and social compromises with peers. Programs after school will keep students off the streets for an extra hour or two, which can contribute to less violence due to the simple fact that they will not have the same amount of time to engage in conflicts or violence. These programs can introduce alternative choices for young Philadelphians other than committing murder; instead, students can be suggested to other alternatives, such as, rap battles, certified boxing matches (for young adults only), dance-offs, debates, or even hop-scotch. Anything, but murder!  Law enforcement should be willing to appear in after-school programs and establish a relationship with minority communities to improve the quality of trust and respect.

The primary point of this article is to bring awareness to the racially disproportionate violence in Philadelphia. This article yearns to promote potential ideas on how Philadelphia athletes can help promote social and academic change to the northwest region of the city.  The Super Bowl Champions have an opportunity to instill a positive mentality in unmotivated youth dealing with unstable homes, violence, and poverty. With a Super Bowl championship under the city’s belt, the Philadelphia Eagles will forever be role-models to Philadelphia youth, and the organization can be applicable to show all Philadelphia students how to deal with uncompromising barriers, and to persevere being an underdog in the United States.  Trust the Process-JE

References

Philadelphia Police Department. Crime Maps and Stats: Current Crime Stats. 2017. https://www.phillypolice.com/crime-maps-stats/

Data Hub: Philadelphia Homicides. philly.com. 2018. http://data.philly.com/philly/crime/homicides/

Race and Ethnicity in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Statistical Atlas. 2015. https://statisticalatlas.com/place/Pennsylvania/Philadelphia/Race-and-Ethnicity

United States Census. Quickfacts: Philadelphia County. Census Bureau. 2017. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/philadelphiacountypennsylvania/PST045216

Whelan, Aubrey. Philly’s biggest problem? Public safety, Philadelphians say. philly.com. 2016.   http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Phillys-biggest-problem-Public-safety-Philadelphians-say.html