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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Made in America highlights Philadelphia’s philanthropic organizations

“Cause Village” was located at the center of Made in America 2019 over Labor Day Weekend. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22

This year, Philadelphia music festival Made in America featured a collective of social justice organizations called “Cause Village.”

The festival had dozens of up and coming and established hip-hop artists, with headliners Cardi B and Travis Scott leading the pack. But Roc Nation didn’t just roll out a star-studded lineup, they rolled out an impressive line up of social justice campaigns as well.

A newly redesigned space in the heart of the festival changed the flow of traffic so that attendants could see a plethora of organizations devoted to bettering the Philadelphia community in their own ways.

Cause Village was a strip of 56 charitable and activist organizations located between 22nd and 23rd streets along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. This hub of social justice was located in the center of Made in America, consisting of a cluster of tents on the outskirts of the festival in previous years.

Made in America attendees make their way through Cause Village. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22

Dania Diaz, managing director of philanthropy for Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s entertainment company, said the company is focused on music, activism and culture, and tries to bring that to the festival.

“It was really important to us, and us being Roc Nation, to really emphasize the importance of giving back, the importance of activism, and making it such a real focus for the festival,” Diaz said.

While walking through Cause Village, festival goers had a chance to meet Rochelle Satchell, co-founder of Peace and Love, an organization hoping to make the world a more peaceful and safer place using “F.A.M.E.” (fashion, arts, music and entertainment). 

“It forces people to come and engage with the way they moved the traffic [through Cause Village],” Satchell said. 

St. Joe’s students Kerriann Howley ’22 and Tao Nguyen ’22 attended the festival together and stopped by the village after noticing the large sign at the village’s entrance. Howley and Nguyen also noticed Cause Village’s larger presence this year.

“I thought it was really cool because, especially at Made in America where the majority of the audience is teens, it’s a great way to spread awareness to the audience,” Nguyen said. 

While at the Village, Howley and Nguyen stopped by the Kids In Need Foundation, a national charity striving to help students succeed in their education. Howley was so interested she decided to read more in the foundation.

“We were very curious about what the organization is about so we followed the Instagram and everything,” Howley said. “I actually was looking more into it and how to get involved.”

Roc Nation chose to highlight one charity specifically. This year, the REFORM Alliance was chosen. 

REFORM is a new organization focused on changing how people struggling with parole and probation are seen by the public with a focus on policy change. The organization was founded by Meek Mill and Jay-Z following Mill’s own battle with probation.  

Andi Lichtenfeld, who represented the organization at Made in America, said REFORM fills a space in criminal justice reform by targeting something not normally talked about: probation and parole. REFORM saw this as an opportunity to change the way society views those in criminal justice system. 

“We’re just here to help change the laws so fewer people are stuck in the system for crazy amounts of time, for unnecessary reasons,” Lichtenfeld said. 

Following this year’s focus, another organization called New Leash On Life offers a unique way to combat recidivism, the tendency to land back in the system, among Philadelphia inmates. The organization takes dogs scheduled to be euthanized and pairs them with inmates of Philadelphia’s prisons in hopes of giving both parties a better life with one another. In addition to a new best friend, New Leash On Life provides career building skills. 

New Leash On Life was one of many organizations present at Made in America 2019. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22

To Sean Hawes, a member of the organization since its creation, something like Cause Village combines two powerful things: music and social justice.

“Not only are you having a great day to come out and see some great acts, but you’re also able to see and learn about different causes and different organizations that are looking to make change in our country and returning citizens in the city of Philadelphia and around the nation,” said Hawes.

According to the most recent data published on the City of Philadelphia’s website, the recidivism rate for Philadelphia is just under 34 percent, or about 1 of every 3 inmates. New Leash On Life’s program hopes to cut that percentage down to single digits.

Danyon Kirchner found his playful pitbull, Franco, through the program. Kirchner and his wife wanted to adopt a dog, specifically through New Leash on Life because of the organization’s mission.

“The beauty of it is you’re giving the dog a new chance and you’re also helping the inmate to get a career and help him not to keep recidivising,” said Kirchner. 

Kirchner said his dog, Franco, came home fully trained and housebroken through New Leash On Life. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22

According to Satchell, Cause Village is what makes Made in America unique and Philadelphia-centered, with charities such as REFORM and New Leash on Life, which address Philadelphia specific social problems. 

“I’ve gone to a lot of concerts and festivals, and I would say that Made in America is the only festival that I’ve been to that makes causes and social change movement a priority,” Satchell said.

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