ABOVE PHOTO: Councilwoman Cindy Bass
Editor’s Note: On Sunday evening, more than 500 young people gathered outside of the Lonnie Young Recreation Center in Germantown. Police say that the teens threw glass bottles and hopped on top of police cars when the Philadelphia Police Department came to break up the gathering. No arrests were made.
What follows is a statement from Councilwoman Cindy Bass on the incident. The Lonnie Young Recreation Center is in her Councilmanic district.
Philadelphia—[Sunday evening] there was a disturbance outside the Lonnie Young Recreation Center where several hundred teens gathered for an unauthorized summer cookout and had to be disbursed by the police. The good news is that there were no arrests and no reported injuries. I want to thank the 35th Police District for managing the situation appropriately and recognizing that certain behaviors among young people do not have to result in a violent confrontation.
It is clear that this situation highlights a serious need in the City of Philadelphia. One of the things I hear time and time again from our youth is that they do not have anything to do, especially in the summer. While the City has done a commendable job in providing a wide range of activities and programming, we need to do more. Much more.
Could this have been prevented if we had extended recreation center programs into Sunday afternoon/evening? What are we doing to connect our young people to available job opportunities? As both a councilwoman and chair of the committee that oversees the city’s parks and recreation system, it is my job to figure out what we need and how to get resources directed to those that need it the most.
According to the police, most of the youth involved in this incident were under 18. It is imperative that parents take responsibility for where their children are, who they are with, and what they are doing. Involved parents are aware of what is happening in their children’s lives and can help them make good decisions. We need to keep our kids safe and engaged in positive activities in order to prevent situations in which they can get hurt, arrested, or possibly worse.