Cheryl Ann Wadlington’s Fight to Save Black Girls

Students from Evoluer House summer 2015 Youth Workforce Development and Personal Development programs leaving class at Peirce College.

Students from Evoluer House summer 2015 Youth Workforce Development and Personal Development programs leaving class at Peirce College. Inset: Cheryl Ann Wadlington.

When video surfaced of a South Carolina school security officer yanking a high-school student from her desk because she had allegedly disobeyed orders to put her cellphone away, observers howled. Although the white officer, Ben Fields, was fired, many blamed the girl — an African American teenager — for not complying with her teacher. The incident was one of thousands that have played out across the country in which reported misconduct by Black girls at school prompted a seemingly disproportionate — and often violent — response by school and local authorities.

“Girls of color face much harsher school discipline than their white peers but are excluded from current efforts to address the school-to-prison pipeline,” according to “Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected,” a report by Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies and the African American Policy Forum. The report, based on a new review of national data and personal interviews with young women in Boston and New York, cites several examples of excessive disciplinary actions against young Black girls, including the controversial 2014 case of a 12-year-old in Georgia who faced expulsion and criminal charges for writing the word “hi” on a locker room wall. A white female classmate who was also involved faced a much less severe punishment. Read more »

This is America, Speak … Whatever You Want

One of these things is not like theod

One of these things is not like the other.

Saturday was a good day to be a Philadelphian. A great day. Collectively, maybe one of the best days.

After a not-too-shabby introduction by Mayor Nutter calling for LGBT rights, Pope Francis took the podium at Independence Hall with a speech that the place was built to host. At times speaking in Spanish – and drawing cheers from the crowd – the man of the hour seemed to hip-check Donald Trump. “I ask you not to forget that, like those who came here before you, you bring many gifts to your new nation,” he said. “You should never be ashamed of your traditions. Do not forget the lessons you learned from your elders, which are something you can bring to enrich the life of this American land.”

That’s right. A politician and a leader of the Catholic church got together and said a real thing. And this real thing felt good, maybe even holy. It was weird, it was wonderful, it was the essence of Saturday in Philadelphia.

And yet, it was within the same state that Rep. Daryl Metcalfe is promoting a bill to make English the “official” language of Pennsylvania. And within the same week that he cut the mic of Leslie Acosta – a bilingual immigrant as well as the General Assembly’s first/only Latina lawmaker – who was arguing that the bill is unconstitutional. Read more »

University of Delaware “Nooses” Turn Out to Be Lantern Remnants

Oops:

What began as trepidation about a possible hate crime on the University of Delaware campus has transformed into a debate about political correctness — and all because of a mistake. Read more »

Here’s What’s Missing From the #BlackLivesMatter Discussion

NEW YORK CITY - AUGUST 23 2014: Thousands rallied in Staten Island demanding justice & accountability in the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown & other victims of alleged police brutality a katz / Shutterstock.com

NEW YORK CITY – AUGUST 23 2014: Thousands rallied in Staten Island demanding justice & accountability in the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown & other victims of alleged police brutality a katz / Shutterstock.com

There are missing pieces in the coverage of Black Lives Matter.

Yes, putting an end to abuse of force by the police is a primary goal. But there are other systemic things that impede the quality of black life: Bad schools. Poor nutrition. Bad health. These things matter, too, but they’re not getting the attention of tragedy-porn dashcam video and police confrontations with protesters.

It’s time that we broaden our understanding of Black Lives Matter to include how the movement affects black lives that are still being lived, to address the issues that impact quality of life for blacks living in America.

The deaths of black youths have galvanized protesters and the children have become the barometer of the movement and how much work is left to be done. The legacy of redlining and its uneven distribution of resources impacts their access to basic needs, ranging from quality public education to quality produce.

So let’s talk about the rest of the agenda: Read more »

Civil Rights Lion Julian Bond Was a Bucks County Cub

Julian Bond, left, with Dr. Martin Luther King in 1966 (AP), and right, with the last book he authored.

Julian Bond, left, with Dr. Martin Luther King in 1966 (AP), and right, with the last book he authored in Philadelphia for his last major public appearance at the 2015 NAACP conference (Bobbi I. Booker).

A couple years ago, I was strolling through Philadelphia International Airport when I came across the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University Libraries photo exhibit of the late John Mosley, a society photographer of Philadelphia’s Black elite.

I eventually came to a full stop as I took in the images, pondering the lives of those who existed before me. Many of the people portrayed where long deceased, but there was one picture of a little boy that I instantly recognized. Standing next to entertainer and social activist Paul Robeson was an 8- or 9-year-old Julian Bond, fully possessed of himself and the moment. When the longtime civil rights activist died last weekend at age 75, I couldn’t help but to reflect on that long-ago picture that showed a slave’s grandchild and a college president’s son at the beginning of a life of activism. Read more »

What Does Alice Goffman Have in Common With Rachel Dolezal?

goffman-on-the-run-criticism-940X540

When last we heard of Alice Goffman, the Penn alum whose undergrad field project became the renowned (and controversial) ethnography On the Run, she was dealing with charges that her book’s account of the years she spent immersed in a poor black Philadelphia neighborhood was something less than truthful. That flurry died down, only to be reignited by a long article in the Chronicle of Higher Education this week by Paul Campos, a law professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Prior critiques of Goffman focused on her methodology and veracity, and while Campos addresses those, it’s another facet of his argument against the young white sociologist that will ring particularly true for Philadelphians.

Here’s a passage from On the Run in which Goffman describes her reaction upon arriving at Princeton for grad school after her harrowing years in the ’hood:

More than discomfort and awkwardness, I feared the hordes of white people. They crowded around me and moved in groups. I skipped the graduate college’s orientation to avoid what I expected would be large numbers of white people gathered together in a small space. In cafeterias and libraries and bus and train stations, I’d search for the few Black people present and sit near them, feeling my heart slow down and my shoulders relax after I did.

And here’s Campos’s response to that: Read more »

Report: Former Penn State Basketball Player Detained on Suspicion of Terrorism

Penn State’s DJ Newbill, left, drives against Akron’s Alex Abreu during a NCAA college basketball game in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

Penn State’s DJ Newbill, left, drives against Akron’s Alex Abreu during a NCAA college basketball game in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

A former Penn State basketball player was reportedly detained on suspicion of terrorism as he tried to join his new team in France, his European agent says.

D.J. Newbill was stopped by German authorities, Newbill’s agent, Francois Lamy, said in a Facebook post. (The post has been translated from French.) The incident was first reported by the Black Cager blog.

“An officer of the German immigration doubted his statement that he was in Europe to play basketball,” Lamy wrote. “He also doubted that France was the country of final destination. Newbill was interrogated for hours. German immigration officials were convinced he had a terrorist motive.” Read more »

Everything You Need to Know About the Philly 10K Bibs and Beers Pick-Up Party

philly 10k leadWe have a lot of emotions going on right now: On one end, we’re sad the summer has flown by so fast, but on the other, we are oh-so-excited that the Philly 10K is right around the corner. The Philly 10K Bibs and Beers Pick-Up Party — their pre-race party, because as they say, “Expos are lame” — at the Shambles at Headhouse Square is just two weeks away, people! Below, everything you need to know about the beer-filled, food-filled, fun-filled event.

Read more »

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