Strengthening Communities: SDG #11 Unveiling at Kipp West Philadelphia Academy

By Jeremy Goodman

On May 26, Global Philadelphia Association had its unveiling for Sustainable Development Goal #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities at KIPP West Philadelphia Elementary Academy. Unveiled as a part of GPA’s World Heritage Week series of events, SDG #11 is about making cities liveable, prosperous, and sustainable. This goal seeks to promote the creation of career and business opportunities, safe and affordable housing, and resilient societies and economies. It involves investment in public transport, creating green spaces, improving urban planning, and working with management to foster inclusive participation with the community. 

This new mural, painted by Nazeer Sabree, really brings the school front to life. As students begin their trek into the building, they are able to see themselves upon the wall. Sabree was born on March 9, 1998 and is a contemporary visual artist from West Philadelphia. Sabree's work is generally and most notably focused on depicting the dichotomy of everyday life in Black culture. The themes explored in his works are individual and shared cultural experiences, identity, personal narratives, literature, philosophy, social constructs, mental health, belonging, and African American history. 

Members from KWPEA and GPA visited the site alongside many others in attendance. It first began with a performance by KIPP Ballet Club. The emcees of the event, Zabeth Teelucksingh, GPA Executive Director, and Tiara Greene, KWPEA educator, introduced the mural. Sean Tucker, principal at KWPEA, spoke about the beauty the mural adds to his school. A poem was then read about sustainability by a grade student. Robert McNeill, GPA Board Chair and Managing Partner from Deloitte, spoke about the great work being done by GPA with the SDG project. Jessica Cunningham Akoto, CEO of KIPP Philadelphia, spoke about the privilege that this KIPP school has by having this gorgeous mural. Randy Hayman, City of Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner, presented the 7th Annual Proclamation of World Heritage Day provided by the city. To add even more life to the lineup of speakers, the KIPP Dance Team performed for everyone in attendance. Tommy Berner, Senior Group Manager from TD Bank, was there on hand as the sponsor representative for the event and mural. 

The event was a huge success with so many families in the crowd to witness the unveiling of the mural. Parents from the PTA of the school spoke with numerous GPA staff members about the gratitude and honor of having their school picked as the place for this work of art. This mural is one in a series of 17 celebrating the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

To check out photos from the event, take a look at GPA's Flickr.