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One father’s imperfect Philadelphia story

NEARLY TWO years ago when I began writing “The Philadelphia Experiment,” I was determined to find the good in Philadelphia.

Since then, I’ve watched 24 schools close in the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. I’ve seen T-shirt memorials that starkly illustrate the tragedy of the city’s gun violence. I’ve seen the state ignore a $304 million school-budget crisis in Philadelphia while investing $400 million in a Montgomery County prison.

[blocktext align=”right”]My love for our city prevents me from seeing it through rose-colored glasses. Love, after all, is not about viewing things for what we wish them to be. [/blocktext]

There is much that is ugly about the Philadelphia story.

The rabidly provincial nature of our neighborhoods divides us into something like gangs.

The almost inconceivable level of government bureaucracy creates barriers against common sense.

Our underdog mentality is two steps short of an inferiority complex.

And yet, despite all I’ve seen in my four-plus decades in this city, I love Philadelphia as fiercely as ever.

I love it because birds arrive at dawn to sing of our urban landscape, because tree-lined sections of North and West Philadelphia comprise the largest urban park in the world, and because children play in fountains in the shadows of City Hall.

Still, my love for our city prevents me from seeing it through rose-colored glasses. Love, after all, is not about viewing things for what we wish them to be.

Click here to read the rest of this column on Newsworks

solomon thumbnail Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Click here to learn more about Solomon

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