This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
A crowd of students, teachers, community activists, parents, and members of Youth United for Change rallied Wednesday afternoon to support YUC’s new “Safe to Count on Me” campaign. Supporters gathered at Norris Square Park’s basketball court and sported white, orange, and black campaign T-shirts to kick off the rally with an energetic chant: “It’s safe to count on me. Is it safe to count on you?”
Several YUC members explained how they feel about school safety, the campaign’s central issue. Students are campaigning for proven successful methods, such as restorative practices, to be used in schools in order to lower the crime rate and to interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.
Speakers at the event included Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, state Rep. Tony Payton, Mayor Michael Nutter, and YUC members. The crowd roared as Nutter made his way onto the stage and threw his YUC T-shirt on over his white-collared work shirt. Nutter’s brief but inspirational speech called on the students to help the campaign to grow. He assured the audience that although the District is going through a rough time financially, school safety is always a priority.