The Philadelphia Community of Leaders (PCOL) is an organization of African-American private sector leaders representing civic, nonprofit, religious, labor, business, and neighborhood organizations. We have come together to “collectively” address the disparities and unacceptable quality of life that too many African Americans face daily in Philadelphia. We have fundamentally come to understand, given the magnitude of the issues challenging African Americans in Philadelphia, that individual and/or single organizational responses are simply inadequate. Our issues are inter-connected, inter-related and require an organized “multi-faceted” response that no one organization or individual has the capacity to take on by themselves. The idea that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” is perfectly aligned with the purpose of PCOL and we must see ourselves as partners and not as competitors on behalf of the African American community.
PCOL will focus the bulk of its efforts on addressing the issues of “structural” poverty and near poverty that impact nearly two-thirds of the African American community in Philadelphia by over time significantly decreasing the economic disparities that the African American community faces. PCOL’s fundamental belief is that most, if not all of our issues, are entrenched within the economic disparities and by addressing poverty and the lack of resources (rising tide), all other areas will be corrected (lifts all boats). Therefore, PCOL’s has identified the following areas that we will organized and attempt to positively interrupt:
- Economics – We must significantly increase Black businesses capacity to expand and grow (we must create wealth and jobs). We must recapture our own markets and expand our reach into both the public and private sector markets.
- Education – We must stabilized education and refocus on Black Self-Determination/Liberation Education and School to Career (vocational and skill focus) and make it available to our entire population.
- Public Safety – We must slow down the mass incarceration of Black men and create ways to reduce recidivism.
- Health and Wellness – In addition to addressing physical health disparities and the entire health delivery continuum, we must identify and implement strategies that will allow for the psychological healing of the Black community.
- Black Cultural Enrichment – We must better control the narrative and definition of “Being Black” in America with the goal of significantly increasing Black cultural organizations and their ability to increase the “pride” in the Black community.