Coatesville Students Leave School to Protest Racist Pumpkin Carvings

pumpkins, coatesville, protest

Photos via 6ABC Action News

Students at Coatesville Area High School walked out of their classes on Friday to protest a disturbing photo of their classmates posing with swastika- and KKK-carved pumpkins.

The image, which circulated on the internet this week, shows six students posing with pumpkins – one of which features a carved swastika, while another displays the letters “KKK.” The rest of the pumpkins have traditional Halloween-themed carvings.  Read more »

Coatesville High Schoolers Pose With Swastika-, KKK-Carved Pumpkins

pumpkins, coatesville

The image, as blurred by 6ABC Action News. The swastika symbol appeared on the first pumpkin on the left.

It’s a deeply unsettling photo.

An image of several Chester County teenagers posing with swastika- and KKK-carved pumpkins is making the rounds on the internet. According to the Coatesville Area School District, the teens pictured are current and former Coatesville Area High School students.  Read more »

Temple Police Investigating Banana Left on Door of Black Students’ Dorm Room

Morgan Hall at Broad and Cecil B. Moore |

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

Temple University police are investigating two alleged bias incidents this week.

The Temple News reports that the first incident allegedly occurred when four black students found a banana balanced on the door handle of their Morgan Hall dorm room.  Read more »

Philly Teacher Says She’s the Victim of Reverse Discrimination

Ellwood Elementary School in East Oak Lane. (Photo via

A British-born teacher is suing the School District of Philadelphia and a black principal she formerly worked under, alleging that she suffered “vindictive reverse race discrimination and harassment” before being fired without just cause. Read more »

A Black Face in a White Space: My Four Years at Penn

Illustration by Matt Clough

My first day of class at the University of Pennsylvania was an introduction unlike anything I could have predicted. It was my fourth day living on the East Coast — I was born in the Midwest and grew up in the South — and the third time I got lost around campus. Penn felt like a huge kingdom filled with the kinds of mini-castles you’d find in Harry Potter books. The historic towers had real ivy that climbed the walls. Campus lawns and gardens were elaborate displays of exotic horticulture. It was everything I imagined it would look like, but better.

There were a few yard workers tending to the lawn as the sun began to rise. They looked at me strangely as I skipped across Locust Walk all by myself. One of the men asked if I was lost, and I told him I was headed to class. Read more »

OPINION: Philly Isn’t Charlottesville. It’s Worse.

Rizzo Statue Protest | Photography by Ernest Owens

“Who is more racist: The North or the South?”

That is the age-old question I’m often asked when I tell people I moved to Philly from Texas. Initially, my answer was the South, easily. Philadelphia, with its majority Democratic political base and socially progressive laws, was a clear contrast to the land of statewide bans I grew up in.

But after seven years of residing in Philly, I can’t help but reflect on my grandmother’s long-held response to that question: “What’s worse: a town that can’t seem to get any better no how, or one that doesn’t get any better by choice?”

And it’s that line of thinking that has made me realize that Philly is one of the most unapologetically racist cities around. Read more »

OPINION: The Rizzo Statue Should Stand as a Monument to Human Imperfection

One cannot look at the Frank Rizzo statue in front of the Municipal Services Building without catching a glimpse of the nearby Jacques Lipchitz sculpture, Government of the People.

The 30-foot-high Lipchitz sculpture was commissioned by the City of Philadelphia, but when a plastic model of the proposed work was unveiled by the Art Commission, then Mayor Frank Rizzo called it “a load of dumped plaster” and immediately cut off funding for its completion. Lipchitz died without ever seeing his sculpture mounted. Funds for the completion of the statue were raised by the Association for Public Art in time for the 1976 Bicentennial. Read more »

Coatesville Police Make Arrest for Racist, Anti-Semitic Vandalism

coatesville, vandalism

Photos via Janine Humphrey

Coatesville police have arrested a suspect in connection to racist and anti-Semitic vandalism discovered in several locations in Chester County.

George Rissell, 24, of Coatesville, was taken into custody late Wednesday night. He has been charged with multiple counts of ethnic intimidation and criminal mischief.  Read more »

OPINION: White People, Only You Can Stop the Next Charlottesville

White nationalist protesters and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017. Photo by Steve Helber/AP

The moment I came out of the womb, I already had two strikes against me: being black and gay in a nation that continues to systemically oppress both aspects of my identity. I am expected to function as a productive citizen while experiencing a daily onslaught of discrimination and microaggressions — and added to this personal and social distress is the burden of having always to defend my community: When one black person deviates, we are all held accountable. Read more »

The Inquirer and Daily News Don’t Know How to Talk About Racism

iStockphoto | ymgerman

As a black man in Philadelphia, telling me that racists exist in the city is like reminding me that oxygen is in the atmosphere. I don’t need disturbing graphic images to trigger me — I observe it when noticing a white woman clutch her purse as I walk by her in Rittenhouse Square, complying with an embarrassing stop-and-frisk near a SEPTA station, or being asked by security guards for a receipt upon leaving Liberty Place plaza downtown. Read more »

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