Stoneleigh Fellow Rhonda McKitten is featured in The Philadelphia Citizen for her work to improve police-youth relations in the city.
Pennsylvania Disproportionate Minority Contact (PADMC), which was founded in and operates out of Philadelphia, is a nonprofit committed entirely to unskewing the massive overrepresentation of minority youth in juvenile detention facilities through a variety of methods, the most prevalent of which is simply training adolescents and police to relate to each other. The group has trained more than 3,000 police officers and 2,000 youth thus far, and is immensely popular among police officers, who see it as an invaluable resource in helping them more meaningfully connect with at-risk minority youth. Rhonda McKitten has worked with PADMC for more than a decade. She says she was inspired by the group’s early work, and that as a public defender—and director of juvenile grants and policy for the Defender Association of Philadelphia—she found it thrilling to see a group working to make positive changes in the basic ways in which kids and cops interact.