Columbia Climb Working To Combat Anti-Black Racism in West Philadelphia Via Restorative Justice Practitioners

Collective Climb won a 2020 President’s Engagement Prize as a West Philadelphia-based financial literacy project, but shifted their focus to engage with young people around the issue of community violence.

IIt’s the summer of 2020 and obituaries are stacking up. COVID-19 is affecting Black and brown communities in disproportionate numbers. Then there’s Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. Daniel Prude. George Floyd. Rayshard Brooks. Philadelphia has come out of isolation and taken to the streets.

On Interstate 676, protestors are blockaded by SWAT teams, then tear gassed. Responding to a domestic dispute, police officers fatally shoot Walter Wallace Jr.,a 27-year-old father with a history of mental illness, in the Cobbs Creek region of West Philadelphia.

In the midst of this, three Penn graduates—Hyungtae Kim, Kwaku Owusu, and Mckayla Warwick—are starting to have misgivings about the relevance of their financial literacy project.

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