Transcripts of full meetings of the council.

Good morning, Council President. We thank you for allowing us to come and speak. On behalf of DeWayne Drummond and Mantua Civic Association, I'm here also as one of the members. But when I think about Philadelphia as the birthplace of independence and all of the nuances that come along with as a country, I think about the opportunities to gain a good way of life, but the main focus that I have seen that brings everything together is unity. I see a Council full of individuals who represent different sections of Philadelphia and doing a great job, unified, but Mantua has become over the last ten years probably one of the sought after communities or section of Philadelphia in regards to development. But a lot of the residents who have been long-term residents of Mantua have been displaced or moved out because they could no longer afford to change along with the times, but the remaining residents that are there now are feeling the pinch of separation because they are trying to forge a unified front to stand up and represent and have a voice for their community. And I can say with different organizations within Mantua, whether it's Drexel University, whether it's Mantua in Action, whether it's We Are Mantua, MCIC, we have a lot of different organizations that for the first time Mantua has been known over the years as a gang-ridden community. We have people from the hub, the Empire gang, 34th Street gang. It was known for a gang territory place. But today we have been united through the Mantua Civic Association, through our guidance of Councilwoman Blackwell, even the Mayor of the City. Everyone has been trying to bring us together. Now that the President of the United States has identified West Philadelphia, mainly the Mantua section, as a Promise Zone, now it seem as though we have a better chance of coming together and doing great things for not only the residents of Mantua but those stakeholders, those businesses. But we do not want to lose the integrity of unity, of coming together as a community and having a voice.

We understand that City Council has their priorities. They have to take care of some fiscal things and some regulations that they do. We support that. But we don't want to push out the local residents and business stakeholders in Mantua.

So it is our prayer that you would consider just inviting the residents and the members of Mantua to come and to have a voice about what's being developed in the place where we're going to live and operate.

Thank you, sir.

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