ONE CAN only hope that the ongoing human tragedy of gun violence at 52nd and Market will galvanize city officials and residents to fight back against the drugs, crime and hopelessness ravaging West Philadelphia.

Fifty-second Street is particularly worth fighting for. The strip is home to a vibrant business district anchored by long-standing African-American establishments like Big George's Diner and Hakim's Bookstore.

Immigrant entrepreneurs are transforming vacant storefronts into bakeries, braiding salons, video stores and restaurants, infusing an old neighborhood with an international flavor.

Few retail strips in the region can boast of the beautiful green spaces of Malcolm X Park, the one-of-a-kind Philadelphia Beauty Showcase National Historical Museum and the refurbished Bushfire Theater.

Around the United States, community activism and municipal collaboration have revived inner-city commercial corridors. Such work along 52nd Street would bring more jobs, greater stability and safer streets. More opportunity means fewer "lost souls" under the El, less crime and less fear.

Let's support 52nd Street's native and foreign-born business owners, community leaders and the 52nd Street Business Association. Let's make 52nd Street a model!

Anne O'Callaghan, Exec. Director

Welcoming Center

for New Pennsylvanians