Sep. 29, 2023

A terrible situation unfolded after dark last Monday evening in the Rittenhouse Square section of Philadelphia, a place we call the City of Brotherly Love. More riots and criminal behavior continued again on Wednesday in Philadelphia. Many residents living in the 131st district, which I represent, commute into the city for work or travel to Philadelphia for entertainment. 

Citizens across the nation are wondering: What drives a group of 100 teenagers and young adults to band together to wreak havoc and destruction across a city? Their matching all-black outfits and face masks, as well as their lack of hesitation to loot and steal merchandise from businesses, makes me believe this was a coordinated plan. 

Doesn’t anyone worry about the criminal acts these children are participating in? Doesn’t anyone worry about their safety, or their futures? Doesn’t anyone worry about the businesses being robbed, or the well-being of American citizens? During the past when life was simple, and society more civil, these youths would have been doing homework or enjoying recreation time with friends and family. Now, an overwhelming number of students are unable to read or do basic math because the system has failed them, and now many are turning to crime as we are witnessing. Are these Philadelphia children attending school during the day yet acting out in a mob at night?  If so, our country’s children are in trouble and desperately need our help. 

This is another clear signal to me that Philadelphia, and the country as a whole, is in trouble. Philadelphia is a city that is facing a serious crisis and needs positive intervention. This is not some distant city far away from our homes and families. This city is dangerously close to our beautiful 131st District and the people who live within it. Those who live within our district, and commute to Philadelphia for work or fun, could become the victim of a serious crime if nothing is done to solve this issue soon.

As a state representative, lifelong Pennsylvanian and former teacher, I am deeply upset to see such appalling criminal events unfolding in this beautiful Keystone State of ours. I, for one, will not sit by and quietly accept this as just another so-called “sign of the times.” I also faithfully serve on the Children and Youth Committee, and Education Committee, which is why I am so concerned about all the children and young people in the Commonwealth. 

We are often told that if we see something, we should say something. That is why I am speaking out now, and Gov. Josh Shapiro should speak out too, especially since Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth over which he reigns. It would set a terrific example and show an outstanding amount of leadership if he could tell the children of Philadelphia that this is not acceptable behavior. 

The Shapiro administration must take swift action to find a permanent solution to this ongoing issue immediately before it affects any more law-abiding citizens and businesses. So far, an adequate response to stop the ongoing crime has not been implemented. More rioting has happened this week as a result of Gov. Shapiro’s inaction, and rioting will likely continue if nothing is done soon. 

Representative Milou Mackenzie
131st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Will Jones
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