Three to four houses had recently burned down in Tommy Joshua’s North Philadelphia neighborhood. In an empty lot behind his home, Tommy came to figure out the origins. The youth of the neighborhood used that space to hop around on the furniture, play with the debris, and kick the wood.
From an early age, Tommy questioned the suffering in the world. His earliest memories are of the broken school system, dysfunctional families, and homelessness. He turned to his mother for answers and she lovingly created a supporting environment for him to explore, learn, and grow.
During a time the city was facing issues with food deserts, cuts of social service programs, and a shutdown of two schools in the neighborhood, Tommy gathered the initial group of individuals to join the movement of North Philly Peace Park.
Explaining the vision of Peace Town, Tommy shared, “When I see the under utilization, poverty, and devastation of human beings and then I see lots with trash it blows my mind. It can’t be. Something has to give. How can we make end roads to these big institutional challenges we face? Do we wait for politicians to pass legislation that will create quality schools? This is not going to happen unless the people take proactive action like the Peace Park had to do”.
Peace Town is a “new city” that will include Sharswood, Strawberry Mansion, Brewerytown, Francisville, and other neighborhoods clustered in North Philadelphia. North Philly Peace Park will serve as a cornerstone to this new city which will be married with ecology and people who respect and work with the land. The vision is to actively work with the city of Philadelphia and other major cities across the United States to replicate the model of what North Philly Peace Park is now becoming.
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