Good morning, Philadelphia. Today, we continue to look at a violent and bloody Father’s Day weekend in the city. This year, more than 150 people have been slain in Philly, the highest total through a June 16 since 2012. Reporter Kristen Graham also takes us to Strawberry Mansion High School, where students are thriving through the face of uncertainty. Plus, you’ll come across a story of a coffee shop that gives budding adults a shot — not of espresso, but of potential life-changing experiences.

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Prom is supposed to be a time of celebration ahead of the much-anticipated summer break for high schoolers. For the struggling Strawberry Mansion High School, the party took a more somber note following the shooting death of a student’s mother the day before the event.

The shooting and its aftermath reflect Mansion’s tough realities. Unlike any in Philadelphia, the high school has been fighting not just to survive but to reinvent itself, to somehow be an educational refuge in a neighborhood that logs more homicides than any other in the city.

The bold task falls to the school’s 32-year-old principal, Brian McCracken, who not only has to address issues like staff turnover, but improve morale across the student body and show — not just tell — his vision to the Philadelphia Board of Education.

Lori Locust, a 55-year-old assistant defensive line coach and the Buccaneers’ first full-time female position coach, inadvertently pointed herself toward the NFL nearly a decade and a half ago. For 13 years, the Philadelphia-born football fanatic worked in the insurance industry and raised two sons alone while apprenticing in near-empty arenas and high school stadiums, both in Allentown and Alabama, and as a semipro coach and an NFL intern.

Her upbringing in Pennsylvania and love for the game’s aggressiveness and physicality drew her into the industry at an early age, and she later played women’s semipro football with the Central Penn Vipers.

Her energy and devotion to the game brought her to her current job, but don’t call her a pioneer in the space.

“It sounds bad to say, but that’s never been my motivation,” she said. “I haven’t come into this waving the woman card. That’s not me. If this helps broaden the path for others, great. But I want them to be qualified and experienced."

What you need to know today

  • Investigators are still working to determine what led to a bloody and disheartening wave of violence over Father’s Day weekend. Over two days, more than two dozen people were shot — five fatally — in 19 incidents across the city, making it the highest number of shooting victims recorded in a 48-hour stretch in the city since at least the beginning of 2015.
  • We’re two days away from the NBA Draft, which will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Barclays Center in New York. The Sixers find themselves in need of a backup center to support Joel Embiid, so here’s what the draft and free agency have to offer.
  • This Philly dad works to expand opportunities for his community. Now, the nation knows. Last week, Charles Reyes was honored on TV for his work, and was surprised by celebrities with a vacation for his family and a large donation to help feed hungry Philadelphians. Inspired by Reyes, Mayor Jim Kenney declared June 13 “Give Back, Make an Impact Day."

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Every so often, it pays to look up. Thanks for capturing this cool angle @crackd_lens!

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

That’s Interesting

  • It’s always uplifting to read stories that remind you to keep working and follow your dreams, like Chester native Mahir Johnson’s. He played for Division II Goldey-Beacom during his final two years of school, and consistent practice and a determined work ethic landed him a workout with the 76ers, a rare moment for a student from a Division II school.
  • Anthony Davis’ departure from New Orleans to L.A. has shaken up the entire league and the upcoming NBA Draft. Where does this put the Sixers and decision holders at the top? All eyes are on Sixers general manager Elton Brand, who’s quietly established himself as the person in charge, not a figurehead.
  • People with physical disabilities will be able to purchase a new tool that will allow them to control their TVs with their eyes. Developed by Comcast, the web-based remote will help customers change the channel, record and search for shows via eye movement.


Growing up is hard to do.
Growing up is hard to do.

“ ... each of Biden’s missteps raises the question of whether someone with a fresher face and cleaner record on key issues like racial and gender equality would not be a better choice for the Democratic Party in 2020, especially if the central strategy Democrats plan to deploy is to draw a stark contrast between their nominee and Trump.” Lauren A. Wright, Princeton lecturer in Politics and Public Affairs on how the qualities that made Joe Biden an effective running mate in 2008 could hurt his 2020 presidential bid.

  • Every year, millions of vacationers flock to New Jersey’s beaches to enjoy the freedom of summer. Veterans, who have protected that freedom by storming beaches, guarding coasts, and serving our country with dignity and honor, deserve free beach access, writes New Jersey Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco. It’s the “least we can do,” he says.

What we’re reading

  • The Atlantic tackles how Instagram accounts are capitalizing on the Sudanese crisis and rake up social followers, and money, in the process.
Yazmeen Washington, 21, pulls an espresso at The Monkey and the Elephant, a non-profit coffee shop that seeks to equip those recently aged out of foster care with the tools necessary for adulthood.
Grace Dickinson / STAFF
Yazmeen Washington, 21, pulls an espresso at The Monkey and the Elephant, a non-profit coffee shop that seeks to equip those recently aged out of foster care with the tools necessary for adulthood.

Your Daily Dose of | Training

Brewerytown’s the Monkey and the Elephant has a mission that goes beyond dispensing coffee. It doubles as a transitional employment program to help young adults that are aging out of foster care find balance and stability in the adult world.