Monday not only started a new week but a new school year for students, parents, educators and staff of the School District of Philadelphia. After a summer roiled with budget uncertainty, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. opened schools with admittedly diminished resources, from supplies to personnel.
Community members and civic leaders were determined to help students usher in the 2014-15 school year on the right note, as many gathered across the city to walk children along familiar routes, as well as new ones, to school. Closures issued to help curb budget deficits have scattered dozens of student bodies of now-defunct buildings.
Such is the case at Martin Luther King High School in Northwest Philadelphia, which has absorbed many students displaced by the 2013 closing of Germantown High School. So dozens of concerned supporters gathered for a sunrise program to show their support for students there for a second year in row.
Fears of turf battles and other friction that could lead to violent outburst were countered by a locked-arms group prayer for unity and peace, led by the Rev. Alyn E. Waller of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church. While the symbolic gestures was focused on those in the Northwest part of town, it’s a shared sentiment across the city.
The Northwest Community Coalition for Youth organized the event that included Safe Corridors, Protecting our Futures, Northwest Victims Services, My Brother’s Keeper and the office of state Rep. Dwight Evans. Deputy Director Randy Duque represented PCHR at the interfaith event.