I find it ironic that as Pope Francis comes to join us for the World Meeting of Families, the families that are most in need of a blessing will be on the outside looking in.Those families are the ones who comprise Philadelphia’s stunning 26 percent poverty rate, and they are accustomed to being outsiders. They live in communities that are locked out of educational opportunities, because their children are the ones who attended the 24 public schools that closed in 2013.
And make no mistake, those school closings happened primarily in poor communities located just beyond the same dividing lines that will separate Philadelphia’s impoverished from Pope Francis.
Don’t believe me? Travel to North Philadelphia, where both Vaux high school and Reynolds elementary were closed. Both schools are just blocks from Girard Avenue, one of several streets forming the traffic box that will secure Pope Francis from the rest of us.
After you examine the numbers, which show that more than 90 percent of the children in all three schools were economically disadvantaged, take a deeper look at poverty in Philadelphia. If you do, you will see children.
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Illustration by Richard Harrington