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Young Poets Speak Out On Recent Flash Mob Attacks

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – We’ve heard what Mayor Michael Nutter and other city officials have had to say about the recent mob violence crackdown. Eyewitness News sought a different perspective from some young people who are most affected.

“A flash mob is the ugliest whine of attention you will ever here,” said 17-year-old Victor Jackson as he recited a poem inside the Science and Leadership Academy about flash mobs.

“The revolution must come or it’s over for us,” yelled 17-year-old Kai Davis.

Davis is a member of the Philly Youth Poetry Movement. She was among a small group of teens CBS 3 spoke to to get their take on misguided teens, the newly enforced curfew in Center City and flash mobs.

Web Extra: Hear one-on-one from the teenagers …

“If there was no attention brought to flash mob or not as much, I don’t think as many people would do it,” said 16-year-old Safiya Washington, who is preparing to enter her freshman year at Delaware Valley College next month.

“No one covered the why, no one at all,” said Jackson, referring to the media’s coverage on flash mobs.

Jackson doesn’t agree with the flash mob mentality, but he says he understands why it happens. Some of his friends were apart of a flash mob on South Street in 2010.

“It comes from a place of anger,” said Jackson. “It is a power trip, it’s a feeling of all eyes on you. We come from neighborhoods where we don’t feel like we exist.”

“I feel like if these kids knew how to articulate they wouldn’t be hitting people,” said Davis. “If they could be like, look at me I matter, but they don’t really know how to express that.”

They support with the Mayor’s plan: a newly enforced curfew, recreation centers that stay open longer. Seventeen-year-old Aarun Simon says he knows that’s not enough.

“These kids aren’t just going to say, oh, I’m going to the rec centers,” declared Simon “No! Honestly, a lot of it starts at home.”

For the past five years, PYPM Founder Greg Corbin has met with dozens of teens every Saturday at The Science and Leadership Academy.

It’s there where Corbin and several volunteers talk candidly, with teens, about issues plaguing young people. They write poetry and they have a good time.

“I’m really, really proud of the people they are becoming,” said Corbin. “They are becoming very proactive, very socially aware, very insightful.”

When it comes to finding solutions to combat teen mob violence, Corbin says adults have to listen to what young people are saying.

“We need to find a way to tap into their gifts and their talents.”

For more information on the Philly Youth Poetry Movement, click here.

Reported by Jericka Duncan, CBS 3

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