city of (brotherly) love

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic


"You're really going to stay in Philly post grad?" they ask me. "God bless you... I would never!" they continue.

"You teach in Philly Public Schools?" they ask me. "God bless you... I would never!" they continue.

I consider asking them why they would respond in such a way, although I know exactly what runs through their minds. They think of the high poverty rates in Philadelphia. They think of the Kensington neighborhood, and its reputation of illegal drug use. They think of the assaults and robberies that they hear about every evening on 6abc.

It's evident that they don't see Philadelphia's neighborhoods in a positive light. However, I find that those who have the harshest feelings towards our city, have actually spent little time experiencing all it has to offer.

I answer their questions with "Yes." and aiming to inspire some open-mindedness, I share my experiences with them.

I share about my old on-campus job at Temple and how my manager was born and raised 5 blocks from campus. She started at Temple as a food service worker and worked her way up to managing their student spending accounts university-wide. She attended college while working full time and was able to fully renovate her family's home. She says she would never leave this neighborhood, as all of her neighbors have been friends, basically family, for generations. They throw block parties in the summer and all their kids get together to enjoy bounce houses and blow up swimming pools.

I share about my apartment in South Philly where many of my neighbors, like my manager's experience, have lived on that block for as long as they can remember. Yet, they welcome me as if I have too. I open my front door each morning to people sitting on their stoops, enjoying their morning coffee. They tell me "Have a great day, baby!" as I head off to work. My next door neighbor has 3 kids and they often come by to play with our cat and talk about their days at school!

I share about my students and how they blow me away each and every day.  They become stronger readers and writers and thinkers every passing moment. They share stories about the times they spend with their families; whether it was at the corner store this morning before school or at the trampoline park this past weekend. I share about their kindness and compassion for others and their dreams of becoming police officers, doctors, teachers, musicians, illustrators, and more. They're some of my very favorite people I know.

When people tell me that they "would never" decide to have their life in Philadelphia, I hope my experience encourages them to second guess that statement. I have never felt more love, more drive, or pure inspiration like I have here...


Submitted: April 19, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Erika2020. All rights reserved.

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