Only a mile north of the city center

by tuftsigl
Jun 24
Madeleine Pelton is an international relations major in the class of 2016 and is interning at Solutions Journal this summer.
We just returned from our trip to Philadelphia. Everything was shocking: the total neglect for a neighborhood where the majority of the families are living in poverty, whose sons are involved in the drug trade, whose kids are dropping out of school like flies, allured by more profitable alternatives to a long and grueling education. 
Here is an excerpt of an article I am writing for Solutions Journal about my experience: 
A mile north of Philadelphia’s city center lies the Badlands, an abandoned, neglected, crime infested neighborhood of just 1.15 square miles. The majority of residents here in North Philly are either unemployed or work minimum-wage service jobs throughout the city. The rest are employed in the thriving drug trade. 
This is a neighborhood where feelings of despair and helplessness sustain heroin addiction. Violence, crime and poverty entrap the North Philly community, perpetuating feelings of desperation, fear and depression. This vicious cycle of poverty spins continuously, and is made to spin faster by the federal and state governments’ neglect towards their poorer and blacker citizens. The cycle is made to spin faster yet by large corporations that turn a blind eye to this desolate and crumbling neighborhood just a five-minute drive north of downtown. The African-Americans and Latinos of North Philly churn through this cycle until they turn raw, weak and desperate, only to be spat back out, expected somehow to fend for themselves.
These are people fighting an army of AK47s with butter knives; battling an army backed by six-figure bank accounts with, at best, nine-dollar hourly wages. The residents of the Badlands are set up to fail.

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