West Fest Block Party in Philadelphia’s Cobbs Creek neighborhood canceled amid surge in violence

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — The West Fest Block Party, which is set to reunite the Cobbs Creek community in the wake of the pandemic, is now being canceled due to the spate of violence in Philadelphia.

“It’s really a disappointment, understandable, but still a disappointment,” said Tonya Green, block captain for the 5800 block of Spruce Street. “Should it be cancelled? Not necessarily because life has yet to go on.”

In the rejection letter issued by the West Philadelphia Corridor Collaborative, President Jabari Jones said that within days there was a shooting at the Syre Recreation Center where the event was scheduled to be held. A few doors down from the recreation center there was a stabbing and shooting at a funeral procession at 63rd and Spruce Streets.

“We don’t want to have a mass event where we can’t guarantee security,” Jones said. “The last thing I have in a leadership role would be if someone leaves our event and gets shot. Or someone’s child gets hit.”

But neighbors said they were disappointed. They say the block party, planned for July 16, served as an outlet for the neighborhood kids.

“If you cancel positive things like that, let them win,” said Cobbs Creek’s Darrin McNair. “You let the idiots shoot those guns, you let them win. This is how you stop them. You show kids there’s another way, give them some hot dogs, a little party and they’ll be like, ‘Oh, there are some good things in life. I don’t have to use a gun.'”

And others say the event offers invaluable opportunities for families.

“Often when these block parties happen, there are also resources there to help the parents,” Green said. “They often receive school supplies. They may be able to get information about health care, groceries, and many different resources that other people don’t necessarily have to reach out to get them.”

Jones said two more block parties are planned in August and September. These events are suspended until safety and security can be determined.

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https://6abc.com/west-fest-block-party-cenceled-cobbs-creek-philadelphia-gun-violence-philly-corridor-collaborative/12047525/ West Fest Block Party in Philadelphia’s Cobbs Creek neighborhood canceled amid surge in violence

Alley Einstein

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