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I wrote this two years ago. What has changed? Not much, if anything. But one good thing I can say is that there are incredibly dedicated grassroots organizations there, making a difference one life at a time. Join us. Show someone love who might not feel loved today. (It’s really easy, once you get past your fear.) Stop and talk with someone down on their luck and ask their name. Give them something to eat. It doesn’t have to be a lot – a PB&J, a banana, a bag of chips, a bottle of water, a hot coffee. Let them know they matter.

“Kensington Avenue is a different world where the regular rules don’t apply. Shoot-out at three o’clock in the afternoon in the middle of the street? No big deal. People slumped over all up and down the avenue, possibly ODing? No big deal. Trash all over with nowhere clean for the kids to play? No big deal. Drug deal or prostitution right in front of the cops? No big deal. Young woman ODing? Firefighters and EMTs called to the scene make jokes about her and treat her like garbage.

Life goes on, people drive or walk right on by. Those in power look the other way. Maybe they think that the nightmare that is going on down there can be contained to that one little section of Philly.”

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