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Philadelphia's Black Community Revives Summit To Address Political Concerns

By Hadas Kuznits

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A group of Philadelphia's black leaders gathered today at the African American Museum in Philadelphia to announce the dates of a special summit aimed at addressing political concerns of the black community.

Bilal Qayyum (at lectern in photo), with the Philadelphia Black Political Summit Coalition, says the summit is being held this year for the first time since 1998 -- seventeen years ago.

"We just felt that even though we have blacks in office, we're still leading in all the negative indicators of what they call quality of life," he said.

This year's meeting will be April 11th and 12th, at Dobbins High School.

Qayyum says the goal is to create an agenda to pass along to the city's political candidates.

"The developement of center city is great, but people are not going to come here if it's high crime," he noted.  "People are not coming here if the education system's not working.   People are not going to come here if there's not jobs.  So we're going to be addressing all of those issues in the summit."

Qayyum says the meeting will be a place where participants will collaborate to create that agenda:

"Then, once the recommendations are listed, they will prioritize the top three to five recommendations, which will then be put in a document that will then be sent to the candidates to sign off on."

And he says the coalition will hold candidates responsible for addressing their concerns.

"We, for too long, have been dealing with personalities.  We want the issues to drive," he said.



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