Black Male Community Council cleans up neighborhoods in hopes of saving lives

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It was an outpouring of love as black men stood together in solidarity.

The Black Male Community Council is back on the mission, after a brief hiatus during the pandemic, cleaning up neighborhoods affected by gun violence.

"If you come out in a crisp clean community, for those who do come out in a clean community, your energy is not as disturbed. By cleaning up it brings a rejuvenation to the spirit of the people," Black Male Community Council Founder Stanley Crawford said.

The cleanup Monday around 18th and Wingohocking was just blocks away from the mural of 25-year-old Shaquan Gleaves in Nicetown. Gleaves was shot and killed back in August.

It hits home for the founder of the organization, Stanley Crawford, who lost his son to gun violence two years ago.

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"I came to the conclusion by the grace and mercy of God that we can not have this experience," Crawford said.

The non-profit received a $20,000 grant from the Office of Gun Violence Prevention and another $5,000 from the office of Councilwoman Cindy Bass.

"It brings back life to a community. Cleanliness is next to godliness they like to say, so just getting things back into perspective helps the community to grow," Spokesperson for Councilwoman Bass, George Stevenson, said.

"I think it brings a better ideal of one's self when you walk out and you don't see all the trash and the needles and the crack bottles all over the place," Black Male Community Council Member Jamal Johnson said.

The group says the best part about the work they do is being an example for younger black men. They make time to engage with the youth.

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"They get a chance to see black men like us doing things that is positive and we should be doing anyway, but showing them instead of telling them," Crawford said.

"Let our people see us, let our women see us. Let's come together and clean up our city not only the debris let's clean up some of this violence going on," Jamal Johnson said.

Black men are now going block by block, one piece of a trash at a time, in hopes of saving lives.
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