The best way, many believe, to defeat the "stop snitchin' " philosophy is to talk about it.
That's just what will happen today when the United Way teams up with several other prominent anti-crime voices to offer their insight during "The Muted Truth: Philadelphia's Stop Snitching Crisis" symposium, held at WHYY's studios in Center City.
"This event is about discussing how the code of silence is destroying our communities," said David Fair, United Way's vice president of community impact. "This is the beginning of bigger, citywide discussions, with political leaders and those really on the forefront of this issue."
The invited panelists provide a cross section of voices on the topic, including Dorothy Johnson-Speight, founder of Mothers In Charge; Daniel Carino, youth activist at Congreso de Latinos Unidos, a bilingual-services provider; Darryl Coates, of the Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti-Violence Network; and Everett Gillison, deputy mayor for public safety.
Deputy District Attorney Mark Gilson will also be on hand, as will fellow deputy George Mosee and Department of Human Services' representative James Randolph.
"Most of the people on the panel were selected because they have been a part of Samuel George's research," Flair said, referring to a junior fellow at the Stoneleigh Center, a child-welfare advocacy group. "It was his thesis, and his interviewing them led us to think about doing this in the first place."
Flair doesn't expect this conversation to solve "stop snitchin' " overnight, but he does plan on soliciting feedback from those in attendance about where next to take this conversation.
"We want to see how this discussion goes, but we are going to ask the audience to come up with ideas to keep this issue alive and moving," Flair said. "Among the things we are considering is a focused effort to reach out to younger people in the African-American communities, get them motivated.
"The next step is how to get people in the neighborhoods to talk about the issue." *