North Central: A Day of Coexisting at Penrose Park]

Penrose Park, located at 1101 W. Susquehanna Ave., has played a huge role as the corner spot in its local community. It is a place, especially with the newly embraced long summer hours, where residents come together to connect and keep active.

Grill master Sylvester and basketball league commissioner, 'Big Rob,' stood with James Johnson while they waited for food.

Last weekend, Penrose Park was busy in all four corners. There was a moon bounce filled with constant laughter, a crowded pool and the basketball courts supported a rhythmic pace throughout the afternoon.

Community activist James K. Johnson was responsible for organizing the event, which featured a series of fun-filled activities for all ages.  The Second Annual Summer Youth Basketball League, inspired by Johnson, was the tip off at this extravaganza.

This celebration was used as a day for all attendees to coexist within their community. Johnson, also known as the community organizer, had a bigger plan for this event outside of food and fun.

“Today was a day to help improve relations with Philadelphia Police Department and our community,” Johnson said.

Residents Henry Hunt, Jimmy Davis and Avon Lewis sat with James Johnson while they enjoyed the afternoon at Penrose Park.


Johnson said he believes the relationship between local residents and the Philadelphia Police Department needs to improve. In order to change the environment of crime there is an absence of communication that needs to be fixed.

Gregory Bonaparte, co-founder and treasurer of the Philadelphia Association of Former Gang Members and Friends, was a special guest at the event.

As a member of this group, Bonaparte said he would like to see a more peaceful Philadelphia through experiences and reflections based on community needs.

“The event was a 100 percent collective effort. People need to learn how to have more love for each other and share the needs of mentorship among all folks,” Bonaparte said.


  1. Its a beautiful thing to know people like Mr. Johnson is doing his best to give back !

  2. That was real nice for him to do something like that cause kids need to something to do in the summer

  3. Bigs ups to Penrose playground I got a lot of my heart and courage by playing with old heads Tim Brown, Jac Kelly, Calvin gambrell and AKA Slurp. Good luck with the League This Summer.

    Much Love!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.