The staff here at InterAct would like to extend a big "Thank You" to everyone who attended Monday night's CITIZENS IN ACTION - both to those who volunteered their time to sit on the panel as well as those who braved the weather to join us in the audience. And we'd like to say an especially big "Thanks" to...
Our hosting partner:
our event sponsor:
Moderated by senior WHYY reporter, Dave Davies, the panel consisted of (pictured left to right) Everett A. Gillison, Philadelphia Deputy Mayor for Pubic Safety; Ellen T. Greenlee, Chief Defender for the Defender Association of Philadelphia; Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; Jane Golden, Executive Director of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program; and Seth Williams, Philadelphia's newly elected District Attorney.
By all measures, the event was a huge success. The house was standing room only, the panelists were charasmatic and approachable, the audience was attentive and engaged, and the discussion was lively, enlightening, but most importantly, went well beyond standard, political rhetoric, maintaining a solution-oriented focus.
Representing Philadelphia's leaders in the field of criminal justice, the panel discussed a multitude of issues regarding crime and the various factors feeding into criminal behavior, law enforcement and the judicial system, and correctional agencies and rehabilitation efforts. An audience Q&A led an already candid panel to even more thoughtful consideration of the complexities of the issues.
Especially pleasing for us here at InterAct was the fact that while many of InterAct's long-time subscribers came out and joined us for the evening, the audience was also filled with patrons that had never been to InterAct before. While our loyal supporters know they are welcome to voice their opinions, it didn't take long for the newcomers to stand up and offer theirs as well, and we were happy to welcome them into the conversation.
In the final analysis, there were a couple of main thoughts that we took away from the discussion. Most of us already know that any major change a society needs to make is not made overnight. And they usually don't happen with a single, big policy change. Instead, they happen with a series of incremental changes made (usually) in response to people from the community getting informed, getting involved, and making their opinions known... and then being willing to do whatever it might take to aid in a solution. We cannot rely solely on politians, law enforcement, the legal system, and incarceration for answers to reducing or eliminating crime, without also asking,''What can I and my neighbors do to help a solution along?" Forming or joining a neighborhood watch committee, as one example. Or volunteering for a program that promotes literary and/or reduces truancy in young people. Another option would be supporting - by donating to or helping fundraise for - organizations that have proven track records of working with at-risk youth (such as InterAct and Mural Arts - hint, hint), so that we can more often coordinate our efforts and maximize our impact - as was the case with Monday night's panel discussion.
Thanks again to everyone involved in making it a great night.