Richard Johnson Center for Anti-Violence

Recent Events

Spring 2014

William Julius Wilson
   In celebration of The Center's on-going efforts to serve our city by raising awareness of the violence epidemic in our urban areas, and given the University's commitment to service and social justice; RJC was privileged to host author, sociologist, MacArthur "Genius" Prize Winner, and Harvard Professor William Julius Wilson as part of a series of events in association with the Center. On Tuesday, April 1, 2014; Professor Wilson presented: "The Truly Disadvantaged Revisited: Critical Reflections on the Recent Research on Concentrated Poverty and Joblessness." Wilson was met with the largest crowd the Center has ever seen which included members of several university staff and faculty from Rutgers University, University of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr College and Saint Joseph's University’s own. Students and interested civilians also joined the evening and it was certainly one to remember.

Eighth Annual Vigil for Homicide Victims
   In 2013, Philadelphia saw its lowest number of homicides since 1967 with a reported 247 slayings. We were happy to acknowledge this gain for the City but still pulled to remember the humanity of the 247 Philadelphians who are no longer walking their city streets. On Tuesday, April 8, 2014; The Center held its Eighth Annual Vigil to Remember Homicide Victims. This solemn evening was joined by Everett Gillison and Richard Negrin who read the names of each individual slain; also a reflection by Reuben Morgan of Focus Deterrence whose work contributed to a 43% drop in homicide in South Philadelphia, and a keynote address by the Honorable, Mayor Michael Nutter who appropriately challenged the audience in the area of homicide, gun violence and the human condition because 247 lives lost in Philadelphia is 247 too many.

HBOs “The Wire” and Saint Joseph's University
    The Richard Johnson Center for Anti-Violence collaborated with the Office of University Development to host actor and alumnus Charlie Scalies for which he brought along writer, for The Wire, Rafael Alvarez, to discuss inner city parallels to crime and culture for Philadelphia and Baltimore among several related topics. The event was an extension of Director; Maria Kefalas’ course based on the HBO show and exposed the University to how this groundbreaking series changed the way America views violence, education, poverty and the many faces of social disease that ails cities like Philadelphia on a regular basis. 

The Philadelphia Experiment: Re-imaging Policing and Enforcement in the City of Brotherly Love
    In recognition of the notable 25 percent drop in homicide Philadelphia witnessed in 2013, The Richard Johnson Center for Anti-Violence hosted a panel discussion on February 18, 2014 featuring some of Philadelphia’s key and leading officials in policing and law enforcement examining the strategies used to reduce homicide to the lowest it has been since 1967. The discussion was moderated by Scott Charles, Director and Trauma Outreach Coordinator for Cradle to Grave of Temple University Hospital and attended by a healthy mix of students, educators, community organizers and varied members of law enforcement. The panel featured:
    Richard Ross, Deputy Police Commissioner
    Everett Gillison, Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor of Public Safety
    Richard Negrin, Deputy Mayor of Administration & Coordination and Managing Director
    Robert Reed, Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney

Spring 2013

Community Day at Gesu School
    On February 1st, staff from the Richard Johnson Center were invited to participate in Community Day at Gesu elementary school in North Philadelphia.  The day consisted of several workshops around the topics of bullying and building community.  RJC staff delivered a workshop on bullying.


RJC Sponsored event with Tyrone Werts at KIBHS
    The Center brought Tyrone Werts to speak to 9th and 12th graders at Kensington HS.  Tyrone was convicted as a juvenile with a life without parole sentence, but his sentence was commuted by Governor Rendell.  Tyrone currently works with Temple University’s inside-out program, and is a consultant for the Defender Association of Philadelphia. 

Emily Bazelon and the Center
    On February 26th, the RJC brought author and Editor of Slate Magazine, Emily Bazelon to Philadelphia to discuss her new book, “Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy.”  Bazelon spoke at Saint Joseph’s University to professors, college students, and RJC partner schools on her research and her suggestions for how we can change the culture of bullying. Later that day, the RJC partnered with the Philadelphia School District, the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Office of Safe Schools, and High School of the Future to organize a second event on the book.  Bazelon spoke at the High School of the Future to an audience of parents, high school students, Philadelphia educators and community members about bullying, and fielded questions from the high school’s peer mentoring group.

Youth-Law Enforcement Forum
    In March, the RJC arranged to bring several Philadelphia police officers to a partner school, Multi-Cultural Academy, to have an open dialogue with two 10th grade classrooms.  The goal of the forum was to give both the youths and the officers the chance to ask each other questions, in the hopes of breaking down some barriers between teenagers and law enforcement. 

Seventh Annual Candlelight Vigil for Philadelphia Homicide Victims
    In 2012 the number of homicide victims reached 331.  Every year the Richard Johnson Center for Anti-Violence remembers the victims with this interdenominational vigil presided by Elizabeth A. Linehan, RSM, associate professor of philosophy, the names of all victims are read aloud, and a candle lit for each one.  This year RJC invited principal of Kensington International Business HS, Dr. Eileen Weissman to share a reflection; Dr. Weissman and her school lost one of their students to gun violence this year.  Mayor Michael Nutter, gave the keynote address.

Fall 2012

City-wide PSA campaign
      In June, the Richard Johnson Center met with Mayor Nutter to pitch the idea of a city sponsored, PSA campaign against the stop snitching culture in Philadelphia.  The Center would work with young adults to develop 3-5 PSA’s encouraging Philadelphia residents to speak up and report crime when they hear of or see it.  Working with Saint Joseph’s University filmmakers, the Center would film the spots to be played on the city’s tv network and social media.  The idea was well received, and the Center is ready to begin when funding is identified.

Kensington International Business High School Senior Projects
    The Richard Johnson Center has worked with seniors through the mentoring program at KIBHS who chose topics of violence for their senior projects.  Center staff worked individually with several students on the topics of gun violence, violence in Philadelphia communities, and juvenile life without parole sentencing.

Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross
    In November, Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner joined the Center on campus to talk about crime in Philadelphia.  The evening was an incredible opportunity for SJU students to interact with one of the top members of leadership at the Philadelphia Police Department.

Councilman Curtis Jones’ Crime Symposium    
    In December, the RJC sponsored a summit run by Councilman Curtis Jones.  The summit gathered policy-makers, researchers, community members and organizations to discuss areas of crime and safety in Philadelphia.  The day examined causes of crime, city concerns about firearms, incarceration, and recidivism.  Participants were invited to propose a series of solutions to be implemented in the city.  Topics addressed included: Violent crime, Firearms, Youth (early childhood education, parenting, foster care and school systems), Law Enforcement, Re-entry, Services for Incarcerated Individuals, Juvenile Justice, and Drug & Alcohol abuse.


Spring 2012

 April 13 - 25, 2012:  "BULLY" Film Screening

For Invited Philadelphia Schools & Guests

Richard Johnson Center for Anti-Violence hosts several city schools to participate in a teachable time in the lives of our young people concerning our bullying crisis.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012: Take Back the Night Vigil

6:00 p.m. - Chapel of Saint Joseph

12th annual Take Back the Night Vigil, a powerful event aimed at raising awareness of sexual and physical violence against women and encouraging victims to speak out. The event was organized and hosted by SJU's REPP (Rape Education and Prevention Program) group.

Saturday, April 21, 2012: The Philadelphia Youth Solutions Summit

10:00 a.m. - James McGuire Campus

This year the Richard Johnson Center for Anti-Violence will host over 100 youth from various schools and youth groups in Philadelphia communities. The summit will serve as a mini-leadership conference to engage youth in the continuation of the anti-violence movement in Philadelphia they began last year. The summit will include several workshops, tools to be proactive citizens, as well as increasing their impact in Philadelphia through the Philadelphia Youth Solutions Project.

Thursday, April 26, 2012: Philadelphia Homicide Vigil

7:00 p.m. - Chapel of Saint Joseph

 6th Annual Philadelphia Homicide Vigil: In 2011, Philadelphia homicides reached 324. Please join us as we remember the victims of this tragic reality.


Spring 2011

Sunday, April 10th: Legs Against Arms Race

Physicians for Social Responsibility presented the 5th annual 5K run/walk at Saint Joseph's University.  Each year the event gathers groups and individuals committed to building a safer, healthier Philadelphia by opposing illegal handguns in city communities. The race was at 5600 City Avenue, Philadelphia PA, 19131

Tuesday, April 12th: Take Back the Night Vigil at 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel of Saint Joseph

11th annual Take Back the Night Vigil, a powerful event aimed at raising awareness of sexual and physical violence against women and encouraging victims to speak out. The event was organized and hosted by SJU's REPP (Rape Education and Prevention Program) group.

Wednesday, April 13th: The Richard Johnson Center for Anti-Violence's fifth annual symposum on violence; this year entitled: Illegal Nation: An Immigrant Threat- True or False?

This year's panel discussed the realities of crime and immigration, and the potential dangers of Arizona-style immigration policies.

Thursday, April 14th: "I Know It's Wrong But So What?"

The Faith-Justice Institute presented the inaugural Sister Francis Joseph R.A. Outreach Lecture Series.  Dr. Joan Goodman, Professor from University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education examined society's responsibility in shaping youth's moral values.

Saturday, April 16th: The Philadelphia Youth Solutions Summit

For youth from various schools and youth groups in Philadelphia communities.  The summit served as a mini-leadership conference to engage youth in the start of an anti-violence movement in Philadelphia.  The summit included several workshops, a letter writing campaign to the Mayor and Police Commissioner, as well as an introduction to the Philadelphia Youth Solutions Project.