Today is an awesome day. I’m so grateful and blessed that the community would pick little ol’ me to be a Hometown Hero for a city that I grew up in; born and raised in,” said Johnathan Abdur-Rahim King, a Chester City community liaison.
On Saturday at PPL Park, in a stadium full of soccer fans, the Philadelphia Union honored community organizer King as a “Hometown Hero” before the night’s locally-televised game against the Colorado Rapids that ended in a 3-3 draw. King is well-known in Delaware County as a mentor and anti-violence activist.
King also said he is not the only one working to make a positive difference in the community.
“Chester has a lot of great things going on in it and people need to know it. I will continue to work hard to be the change I want to see,” King said.
King is a founding member of the Brothers of Concern (BOC), an organization that aims to end violence by getting older men involved in the lives of at-risk teens and young adults. They provide mentoring for troubled youth and help connect them to community programs that can bring positive change to their lives.
BOC is most noted for its pro-literacy campaign in 2012 called Real Men Really Read. The campaign featured male leaders in the community sharing their love for reading as part of the promotion. Participants also tutored and read books with juvenile inmates in the Delaware County Juvenile Detention Center in Lima.
King is also recognized for his ‘round-the-clock organizing of neighborhoods against violence through Mayor John Linder’s Community Liaison team. The liaison team helps neighborhoods develop community watch groups block-by-block against crime and also help facilitate better community and police relationships to address the city’s problems with violence. King’s wife said she was elated by formal recognition at the event.
“I’m so blessed to be married to this lovely guy,” said Tara Williams-King. “I’m just so happy to be here today and I want to thank everybody.”
Rick Jacobs, PPL vice president of community affairs, said King is a great representation of what is good in Chester.
“My thoughts about King are really greater than him as just an individual,” praised Jacobs. “I think when we can honor men or women that represent all that is good about Chester, and at the same time honor their past accomplishments, that is what our stadium and team is all about; to be able to represent all that is good in the community and he does just that.”
The Philadelphia Union’s Hometown Hero award recognizes people who have positively impacted the lives of others and have been nominated by other community members.