Community Member Spotlight: Hakeem Devore of the Inner City Peace Organization

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Elmwood resident Hakeem Devore is a lifelong Philadelphian who just wants to see an end to the gun violence that plagues our city. Like too many others, Devore lost countless friends and family members to the crisis growing up. That, combined with his tireless work ethic, is what inspired him to create the Inner City Peace Organization in 2018.

Through his grassroots, self-funded organization, he is able to bring to life a wide array of programs dedicated to violence prevention and neighborhood beautification. Since its inception, the organization has completed a variety of projects such as planting and trimming trees, community cleanups, food distributions in Center City, and a program called Junior Environmentalists where teens and preteens cut the lawns of elderly neighbors free of charge.

The 33-year-old father of one was the first black male in his family to graduate from high school, something he takes pride in. He finished school while working a variety of jobs including selling water ice, doing construction, and working at Kingsessing Rec Center throughout his childhood. “You can’t want change. You gotta be change,” Devore said when speaking about his journey and the path that led him to this work. These are the values that he tries to instill in the youth that he works with as well as his own child.

Devore’s 7-year-old son is also a major source of inspiration for him. “You want someone to feel that compassion for your child,” he explained. He doesn’t want his son to experience the same pain and loss he was forced to feel growing up in the city, so his solution is to teach kids valuable skills while keeping them off the streets and providing necessary services to neighbors.

This summer, Inner City Peace Organization will be embarking on weekend neighborhood cleanups with more programming to follow. If you are a parent of a preteen or teenager who would benefit from Inner City Peace Organization’s youth programming, you can reach Hakeem at or send him a message on Instagram at @innercitypeaceorg.

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