Monday, June 02, 2014

Bridgeway, Inc. - Community Empowerment Center

(All Images Copyright, 2014, S. E. Jihad Levine, All Rights Reserved -  Exclusive Permission to Use Images Only Given to Bridgeway, Inc. and Clayton (Brother Abdul-Wakeel Shabazz) Morrison)

Also on the corner of 18th and Ontario in North Philadelphia, PA, on Ontario Street, is another mural obituary.  This one belongs to Bridgeway, Inc., which is a community based empowerment center.

Bridgeway has been around since 1975.  It was started by its current executive director, Emily Rollins, who is a native of the Tioga/Nicetown area.  In the 1960s, she witnessed corporations, small businesses, and educational services leave her neighborhood, and they were replaced by violence, drugs, and crime.  Ms. Rollins started Bridgeway out of her home on 1722 West Ontario Street, and since then, Bridgeway has service over 5,000 people a year from her very doorstep.

Bridgeway provides food, transitional housing, educational, and cultural programs to this under-served community.  Ms. Rollins, now in her 80s, still answers her door and answers the call of her community.  she is also helped by a large group of dedicated volunteers that make it possible for Ms. Rollins and her Deputy Director, Yvonne Hughes, to operate Bridgeway.  Ms. Hughes is an ordained minister and President of SCOPE Education Services.  (info taken from Bridgeway's website)

As I was photographing Bridgeway's mural, their Vice President, Clayton (Brother Abdul-Wakeel Shabazz) Morrison stopped by to give me salaams and to chat with me.  It was great spending some time with him and finding out about the mural and the work that Bridgeway does.

The mural is called "The Wall of Wonder," and is dedicated to those "gone but not forgotten" in community service to Bridgeway and the community.

It's a beautiful tribute, and shows how hard people are working to create a better world and opportunities for the neighborhood.

Further details about Bridgeway's wonderful services can be obtained from their website, or you can stop by at the Center at 1722/1800 W. Ontario Street.  Their phone number is 215-226-1983.