The breakdown in trust between community members and the justice system has resulted in a ‘Code of Silence,’ which discourages witnesses of violent crimes from coming forward and cooperating with authorities.
Through his Emerging Leader Fellowship, Samuel George worked with the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania to explore the origins and impacts of the ‘Code of Silence’ and to raise the level of attention and public dialogue on this issue in Philadelphia. In collaboration with United Way, he organized a public forum entitled The Muted Truth: Philadelphia’s Stop Snitching Crisis, which received notable press coverage and helped to elevate the visibility of this issue.
Samuel also worked with Congreso De Latinos Unidos to examine how language barriers affected Spanish-speaking parents’ abilities to interact with the juvenile justice and school systems. Finally, Samuel conducted artistic workshops with young people, using poetry and prose to address a variety of topics such as the code of silence, police-youth relations, prisons, and breaking the cycle of violence.