Acts of solidarity and partnership took the form of loud beating drums last night in Francisville as local school marching bands led groups of community members and civic leaders on a walk through city streets for Lower North/Central North Philadelphia’s National Night Out Stroll.
In its 29th year of existence, the National Night Out campaign
involves citizens, law enforcement officials, civic groups, and other stakeholders from over 15,000 communities in all 50 states who band together and heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, as well as generate support for, and participate in, local anti-crime programs. In Philly’s Francisville, Fairmount, Strawberry Mansion, and Greater Brewerytown neighborhoods, neighbors and partners showed their solidarity by leaving their porch lights on and strolling the streets together, beginning at the Arts Garage
in Francisville and ending at Mander Recreation Center
in Strawberry Mansion.
But this year, Philly’s stroll brings an extra oomph of significance, showcasing the area's ability to work together for common goals. The following organizations joined forces for Night Out: Francisville Neighborhood Development Corporation
, Fairmount Communty Development Corporation
, Greater Brewerytown Community Development Corporation, Strawberry Mansion Neighborhood Action Center
, Strawberry Mansion Community Development Corporation, West Girard Community Council
, Project H.O.M.E.
, and the Arts Garage.
According to Naomi Robertson with the Fairmount Community Development Corporation
, this collaboration is what sets their event apart from similar events across the city and nationwide.
“The fact that we were able to get so many community organizations together makes our event very unique. All of the organizations serve as community beacons, so it was extremely important to have them involved, as they would be the ones to garner support from their respective communities.”
Event organizers believe the collaboration between neighborhoods will go a long way towards many positive outcomes, including making residents feel safer and more connected to their neighbors. “While Philadelphia is called ‘the city of neighborhoods’ there are times when those distinctions can make it seem like every neighborhood is an island of its own,” says Robertson, “and we wanted to show that that's not the case. It’s a way for us all to celebrate together, to walk with each other, have our children talk to each other, and break down some of the barriers we've placed up.”
For Lower North/Central North Philadelphia, crime prevention and awareness won't stop here. Robertson and other civic leaders hope the collaboration continues at unprecedented levels, starting with assigning responsibility and disseminating information among residents. “A big piece of National Night Out is developing and supporting Block Watch and Block Captain initiatives, and we believe empowering block captains is the most effective way to engage the rest of the community.”
: Greg Meckstroth
: Naomi Robertson, Fairmount Community Development Corporation