A man with a mission to serve, Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson represents the 2nd District, which covers parts of Center City, South and Southwest Philadelphia and also includes the stadium area, Philadelphia International Airport, the Navy Yard and the Eastwick, Grays Ferry, Hawthorne and Point Breeze neighborhoods.
The youngest member of City Council, Johnson arrived on the political scene in 1998 determined to end gun violence through Peace Not Guns, an organization he founded after the murder of his cousin – to prevent violence through education and the creation of programs that would give youth an alternative to the streets. That activism led to a successful run for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he served as State Representative for the 186th Legislative District from 2009 until 2012 when he took the oath of office for City Council. He started his third term in Council in January 2020.
Out to make a difference, Councilmember Johnson has wasted no time doing the people’s work. In his first 12 months in office, he brokered a deal to save E.M. Stanton Elementary from closure; he committed $100,000 to rebuild the FDR Park playground destroyed by arson; and he successfully fought for the restoration of $3 million in funding for the city’s only abuse shelter – allowing it to add 100 more beds for victims of abuse.
He posted reward money which led to the arrest of a man sought in the murder of a mother of five, who was gunned down during a shootout in Grays Ferry. He established the Peace Not Guns Task Force, which fosters collaboration between city agencies and community groups to help stem gun violence. He also introduced and obtained Council passage for the City’s Affordable Housing Initiative, which supports the construction of housing that is priced so that Point Breeze and two other rapidly changing neighborhoods remain accessible to all.
In addition, he backed postponement of the Mayor’s Actual Value Initiative until relief measures could be established to assist elderly and working-class residents, who will be adversely affected by the anticipated increase in property taxes after the citywide reassessments.
Councilmember Johnson chairs the Committee on Rules, Transportation and Public Utilities, and is chairman of the Special Committee on Gun Violence Prevention, which is taking a leading role in giving a voice to victims and co-victims of gun violence in Philadelphia. He also serves on the following committees: Appropriations (Vice-Chair), Public Safety (Vice-Chair), Streets and Services; Licenses and Inspections; Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs; Commerce and Economic Development, Children and Youth; and Fiscal Stability and Intergovernmental Cooperation.
A lifelong resident of Point Breeze, Councilmember Johnson is a product of the School District of Philadelphia. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Mansfield University and a Masters Degree in Government Administration from the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania. He also has completed the Governing for Non Profit Excellence Certificate Program at the Harvard School of Business. A senate staffer for six years prior to running for the House of Representatives, Councilmember Johnson is a former volunteer for AmeriCorps, the national service organization that allows citizens to serve their communities. He was also a founding staff member of City Year, the non-profit AmeriCorps organization whose primary goal is to build advocacy through service.
Councilmember Johnson is committed to improving education, affordable housing, business development, public safety, job training and access to employment for his constituents in the 2nd District.