This past Friday on October 21st, 2016 at approximately 8:30pm EST about 150 teens gathered on Temple University‘s North Philadelphia campus in front of the Pearl Theatre. The teens allegedly gathered after being called together via a social media post. Once the kids who were said to be between the ages of 14-17 years old congregated, they began attacking Temple University students, parents, police officers and even punched one officer’s horse in the head twice. In what seemed to be a well-organized revolt against Temple University Police. By the time the attack was over, there were only about four arrests made.
Why did the kids of this North Philadelphia neighborhood decide to come together and go on this crazy rampage? The only thing I could think of is mass gentrification. I myself am a graduate of Temple University (School of Journalism, Public Relations and Advertising ’04) and prior to graduating, the extreme renovation of Temple University’s North Philly campus was in its early stages.
Now when I return to Temple’s campus once or twice a year to help out my college Fencing coach and Temple University icon, Dr. Nikki Franke with some of her various competitions (which I myself once competed in), I can see the plan that the university had to take over the entire North Philly area finally coming into fruition. It’s obvious. But, what about the the families who have lived for decades on these blocks and in these buildings that Temple has been taking over at such a rapid pace? What about the people being pushed out of their homes so Temple can build new buildings and facilities and hire other employees who more than likely aren’t even from the neighborhood and have no connection to the neighborhood whatsoever? You’re going to have a lot of angry folks and this time around it was the kids of North Philly saying “Look, we’ve had enough!” Mass gentrification is taking place all over America right now and the truth of the matter is we’re going to see more of these type of events happening due to a whole bunch of people (kids included) being fed up.
When I was a student at Temple University, I tutored at a program organized by the university called “Temple Tutors.” Temple University students currently enrolled at the school would go to the various schools in the area and tutor students during and after school hours. I was pretty disgusted everyday I walked into the schools I was tutoring at when I saw how decrepit the school supplies that the students had to use were. Some of the school text books were hanging from the bind, literally. So, this made me think that maybe there are positive effects of mass gentrification, as well? When better schools are being built with better resources this is a good thing. However, there has to be some type of common ground between the people responsible for the renovating and the people who live in the neighborhoods being renovated or else these types of events will continue to take place.
I hope all the families, police officers, students, etc. who were affected by this unexpected revolt are doing well. Sometimes events like this have to occur to make things better. Either way, I will always represent my alma mater to the fullest. “][“U baby!!!