Breaking News, City in Context, Education, Uncategorized

Temple Stadium Meeting Cut Short By Student Protestors

Temple protest 3

By Ashley Caldwell

Holding a sign that said “Where is the community?”, and chanting “Philly Made, not Temple Made”, Temple University students disrupted a Temple Student Government meeting organized to discuss student concerns about a proposed new football stadium on Monday.

Before they were escorted out of the room by Temple security, the students, members of 15Now Philadelphia, a group committed to a $15 an hour minimum wage and The Stadium Stompers, a community group that’s against the stadium, let university President Neil Theobald and Athletic Director Pat Kraft know how they felt at the meeting, which was held at Temple’s Howard Gittis Student Center.

“It was my hope that students would get a chance to sit down and have a hard discussion about it and express their concerns,” said TSG President Ryan Rinaldi. “But unfortunately, shouting is easier than having a hard discussion.”

There are more pressing concerns that Temple needs to address before it builds a new stadium, the protestors said. Spending millions on a stadium shows misplaced priorities.

“We have reached out to him for a year and we haven’t received any word,” said Zoe Buckwalter, a senior Early Childhood Education student and campaign leader for Temple’s 15Now group. “The only word we received was that there wasn’t enough money to raise the minimum wage, but all of a sudden, Temple comes up with $100 million to build a stadium.”

Glenda Bryant, a non-traditional Temple student majoring in Social Work and a member of the Stadium Stompers, said that not including people like her, people who have called the neighborhood around Temple home their entire lives, is a sign of disrespect.

“It’s shameful to me that in your feasibility schedules, we are not included,” Bryant said. “You’re in our community. It’s not an issue of is it a bad thing or good thing, it’s how could you not include us?”

While he wished the meeting had gone differently, Rinaldi said it was good to let the students express their feelings and that TSG will continue to push for opportunities for students to have discussions like these.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity,” Rinaldi said. “I just wish more students would have cherished it and taken advantage of it.”

Breaking News, City in Context, NABJ, PABJ Event, Philadelphia, Uncategorized

Richard Ross: Philly’s New Top Cop Faces Ongoing Challenges

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Commissioner Richard Ross speaks to PABJ Members. (Photo by Denise Clay)


The condition of Officer Jesse Hartnett, the future of stop and frisk, and police/community relations were among the topics covered when Commissioner Richard Ross spoke to the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists at the group’s monthly meeting.

By Denise Clay

The relationship between police departments and the community has been something that’s been discussed a lot in recent times due to such things as stop-and-frisk policies that tend to inordinately impact Black and Latino men and the deaths of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown and others at the hands of police.

Nationally, it appears that there’s conflict between the police, who feel overburdened and underappreciated, and communities of color, who feel unnecessarily targeted by law enforcement.

It’s a tightrope that Philadelphia’s new Police Commissioner Richard Ross walks on a daily basis. As part of a question and answer session he held with the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists during the group’s monthly meeting, Ross said that he understands where those concerned by police brutality are coming from and plans to continue the reforms started by his predecessor, Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

I grew up a little leery of the police,” Ross admits. “Before becoming a police officer, I was stopped. When that happens, even if you know that it was for a good reason, it’s unnerving. I have an understanding of the challenges that Black men face with the police.”

But while he understands those challenges, he also understands that there are neighborhoods filled with people of color who are a lot more concerned with that drug dealer on their corner or the person who made it impossible for their kids to play outside due to fear of gunshots, Ross said.

“We should also be careful about assuming how Black people feel about the police,” he said. “You can’t assume that all neighborhoods feel like they’re over policed because not all of them do. You have people who are concerned about their quality of life.”

“Some people are going to call you a sellout [for being a Black police officer], but you have to know that you’re doing this job for the greater good,” Ross continued.

In a conversation that took on a variety of topics ranging from the shooting of Officer Jesse Hartnett to what police accountability will look like to the connection between poverty and crime, Ross spent about an hour with PABJ, one of the founding chapters of the National Association of Black Journalists.


For more on PABJ’s talk with Commissioner Richard Ross, click here.

Breaking News, City in Context

Funeral Arrangements Set For J. Whyatt Mondesire

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PHILADELPHIA, PA (October 5, 2015) – The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ) was heartbroken to learn of the death of longtime member J. Whyatt “Jerry” Mondesire. In his passing, we and other journalists recall the man who was always our conscience. To read the chapter’s full statement, including, comments from founders, early members and PABJ Leadership, click here.

The viewing for Mr. Mondesire will be held on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 from 4-8pm at the Bright Hope Baptist Church, 12th and Cecil B. Moore Ave., Philadelphia. A repast will follow at 9pm at the Champagne Cafe’, 21 E. Chelten Ave., Philadelphia.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at 11am at Bright Hope Baptist Church, 12th and Cecil B. Moore. A repast will follow immediately afterward at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to the Philadelphia NAACP’s ACT-SO program, the Philadelphia NAACP’s Youth Council or to the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists J. Whyatt Scholarship Fund. More details on the scholarship will be announced at a later time.

PABJ will remember Jerry and honor his many contributions to Philadelphia, journalism and to PABJ during the chapter’s Awards and Scholarship Reception on October 17, 2015.

Breaking News, City in Context

Remembering the Life and Work of Journalist and Activist J. Wyatt Mondesire

Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 8.43.17 PMThe Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ) was heartbroken to learn of the death of longtime member J. Whyatt “Jerry” Mondesire. In his passing, we and other journalists recall the man who was always our conscience.

Mondesire, 65, was an early member of PABJ, helping to build the 
foundation for the organization. He started his journalistic career at the Baltimore Sun as a writer and the Philadelphia Inquirer as a city-desk editor. He later became a top staffer for the late Congressman Bill Gray.

Mondesire took over the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP in 1991, and was
a relentless crusader for human and civil rights. He was an advocate for
the community that he loved as publisher of the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
and as a community affairs host on WDAS-FM radio.

During his tenure as president of the NAACP, which ended in 2014,
Mondesire helped pass laws that gave ex-offenders the right to vote in
Pennsylvania. He helped take down Pennsylvania’s voter ID law, fought for
better schools, stood up against gun violence and supported low-wage
workers fighting for fair pay.

“Jerry used the power of the pen and the bullhorn to advocate for those in
Philadelphia without a voice,” says Cherri Gregg, president of PABJ. “He
fought not only for Philadelphia’s Black community but for all people of
color, and wanted nothing more than for all people in this city to be
treated justly.”

His passing has deeply affected our members both locally and nationally,
many of whom have been sending condolences to the group and his family.

“Jerry was a champion for equal rights and an early member of the
Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists,” said Sarah Glover,
president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and a
former two-term PABJ president. “He’s had a lasting impact on the City of
Philadelphia by developing many of the city’s young leaders and
journalists. His fearlessness while speaking truth to power stands out as
much as his signature cowboy hat. He challenged me and others to be bold
in our leadership. I will work to that end and remember the man who fought
so hard for equality for all.”

“Jerry was one of the most talented and skillful writers and journalists
that I have known,” says Acel Moore, one of the founders of PABJ and NABJ.
Moore met Mondesire when he began working at The Inquirer. “He was a force
at the newspaper and made a contribution to journalism in a significant
way and made sure his voice was heard as leader of the NAACP on many
issues that affected African American people.”

“Mondesire used his God-given talents to speak for many who had no voice,
to ask questions that would not be raised and to challenge the status quo
on behalf of the disenfranchised,” says NABJ treasurer Greg Morrison,
who was also a founder of PABJ. “Initially he was a journalist
but chose to follow the legacy of John B. Russwurm and Frederick Douglass,
moving into advocacy for people of color. His loss takes his voice from
us, but his dedication to presenting a clear and honest expression of the
Black Experience will continue through the people he mentored and those
whose stories he told. Rest friend, your work in this life is done.”

“Jerry was an integral part in the beginning of PABJ along with several
other people,” says Paul Bennett, an early member of PABJ who drafted the
organization’s bylaws. “… there’s a group of folks who were early members
who helped build the foundation and Jerry was one of those. But Jerry
didn’t just write about what was wrong, he also worked to make change. His
perspective didn’t just come from journalism, but also from politics. It
set him in a different class. When you saw Jerry – you saw a warrior. The
question is will his legacy of social action and of being concerned about
the community – will that continue? Hopefully, it will.”

“To me, Jerry was one of the great leaders of Philadelphia – right up
there with the Cecil B. Moores,” says Loraine Ballard Morrill, news and
community affairs director of iHeartMedia’s Philadelphia stations who met
Mondesire in the 1980s. “He was someone who made a difference in the lives
of people. He wasn’t afraid to take on anybody – not afraid to take on the
corporations, not afraid to take on politicians. I don’t see that type of
leadership today. I hope that someone will come up that will have the type
of passion and courage that Jerry Mondesire had. He was one of my dearest
friends. I will miss him.”

Community and professional organizations that worked with Mondesire also expressed their condolences.

“We will never forget his sterling leadership over the Philadelphia branch over the past 17 years. We will never forget his leadership over the state chapter or on the national board of the NAACP,” says Minister Rodney Muhammad, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP. “In my heart I will always know Jerry Mondesire as Mr. NAACP of Philadelphia.”

“On Sunday we lost a leader, advocate and champion of justice,” says Shabrei Parker, president of the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia. “Jerry’s legacy of service to the community and commitment to equality had rippling effects in the legal and political communities, and he will truly be missed.”

On Oct. 17 during PABJ’s annual awards banquet, where Mondesire was always
present, we will honor his legacy.

City in Context, Culture, Education, Media, PABJ Event

PABJ Requests Resignation Of Philadelphia Magazine Editor Tom McGrath

NABJ Region 1 Rep. Johann Calhoun with Philadelphia Magazine Editor Tom McGrath and reporter Robert Huber at PABJ's

NABJ Region 1 Rep. Johann Calhoun with Philadelphia Magazine Editor Tom McGrath and reporter Robert Huber at PABJ’s “Being White In Philly” forum in 2013

PHILADELPHIA (October 2, 2015) The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ) has received numerous requests to address the cover photo in the October issue of Philadelphia Magazine. The cover story offers readers a guide to the “best public schools” in Philadelphia, yet the photo shows a group of students who are conspicuously unrepresentative of the majority African-American student body the School District of Philadelphia actually serves.

On behalf of PABJ leadership and its supporters, PABJ responds to the October issue as follows:

PABJ is outraged and disappointed by Philadelphia Magazine and its leadership’s continued and repeated insensitivity to race and diversity in a city with a population that is majority people of color­­­. Over the years, PABJ has repeatedly reached out to Philadelphia Magazine’s leaders. That includes outreach to editor Tom McGrath, during a town-hall, meeting with groups whose membership and constituents include people of color, sending letters, issuing statements and much more. We have requested more diversity at Philadelphia Magazine and even offered to help leadership identify viable candidates. None of these methods have worked.

When PABJ met with Tom McGrath in 2013 after the flagrantly insensitive “Being White in Philly” article was published, he promised PABJ membership that there would be change. He apologized to the Black and minority community for the magazine’s lack of sensitivity and promised to seek more diverse hires for the magazine’s newsroom.* Two years later, McGrath and Philadelphia Magazine are apologizing yet again, as part of what seems to be a never-ending cycle.

It is clear that Philadelphia Magazine will not change until it hires leadership that truly cares about diversity rather than leadership that apologizes for the lack of it whenever it is “called out” by the community. PABJ therefore requests that Tom McGrath resign as editor to make room for a leader whose track record supports a commitment that can ensure Philadelphia Magazine is truly representative of the city for which it is named.

In addition, it is up to the entire Philadelphia community to use its economic influence to show Philadelphia Magazine and other publications that producing racially insensitive material is unacceptable.  If community members are truly outraged, perhaps they should boycott the magazine and call on its sponsors to do the same.

Finally, diversity in newsrooms is important to ensure adequate coverage and representation of a community as richly diverse as Philadelphia. PABJ is asking any organizations or individuals interested in diversifying the media in this city to stand with us. PABJ is an organization of journalists — not activists — and we cannot do this without you. PABJ needs the entire community of all colors and backgrounds to take a stand and demand that all newsrooms reflect the diverse people they seek to represent.


The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of journalists, students and media-related professionals and to the promotion of diversity in the media. Formed in 1973, PABJ is the founding chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). PABJ was recently named the 2014 NABJ Professional Chapter of the Year. 


Philadelphia Celebrates Birth Of Hip Hop (via CBS Philly)

Reported by KYW’s NewsRadio’s Cherri Gregg – reposted and linked with permission via CBS Philly


A look at the proclamation issued by Mayor Michael Nutter declaring Hip Hop Celebration Day in Philadelphia.

It’s Hip Hop Celebration Day in Philadelphia, and there’s a city proclamation to prove it. A New York man with local roots is hoping take the celebration nationwide.

Hip hop music was born on August 11, 1973 when Kool Herc got on the mic at a party in the Bronx New York.

Forty-two years later, hip hop is its own musical genre with Philly giving birth to artists like Lady B, The Fresh Prince and the Roots, as well as admirers like Mayor Michael Nutter, who performed Rapper’s Delight at Philly’s 4th of July Jam.

“I have reached out to mayors in different cities coast to coast,” says LeRoy McCarthy, a Cheyney University graduate now living in New York. He is the force behind this effort to recognize hip hop and says he’s requested and received proclamations from Philadelphia, Oakland, California, Englewood and Newark, New Jersey, and two boroughs in New York. But he wants to take it nationwide.

“Honoring hip-hop would show to the communities where hip-hop historically comes from, and that the city, government, law enforcement has respect for their art and culture,” he says.

McCarthy says the momentum is picking up, so next year on hip hop’s birthday, he wants more cities involved.

Happy Birthday hip hop!


PABJ Holds Mayoral Forum

From left, State Sen. Anthony Williams, former State Sen. T. Milton Street, businessman Doug Oliver, former City Councilman Jim Kenney, Judge Nelson Diaz and former District Attorney Lynne Abraham participate in the PABJ/Community College of Philadelphia Moving Philadelphia Forward forum at Community College Thursday night. The forum focused on issues important to working class and poor Philadelphians.

From left, State Sen. Anthony Williams, former State Sen. T. Milton Street, businessman Doug Oliver, former City Councilman Jim Kenney, Judge Nelson Diaz and former District Attorney Lynne Abraham participate in the PABJ/Community College of Philadelphia Moving Philadelphia Forward forum at Community College Thursday night. The forum focused on issues important to working class and poor Philadelphians.

PHILADELPHIA -The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ), Community College of Philadelphia and the College’s Faculty and Staff Federation successfully presented the Moving Philadelphia Forward Mayoral Candidates’ Forum on April 9, 2015 to a full house at the Bonnell Auditorium. The 90-minute Forum, which was attended by all of the Democratic candidates for Philadelphia mayor, focused on their specific plans to impact the lives of working class residents.

Veteran CBS3 anchor, Ukee Washington moderated the event, which featured a panel of PABJ members who queried the candidates on issues ranging from poverty and education to affordable housing and job development. Panelists included Philadelphia Daily News columnist Jenice Armstrong, 900-AM WURD’s Wake Up With WURD host Solomon Jones, The Philadelphia Tribune’s managing editor Irv Randolph, and Community College of Philadelphia student journalist Aminata Sy.

“Part of PABJ’s mission is to engage the community by providing access to important information,” says Cherri Gregg, Esq., president of PABJ. “Philadelphia is seeing a resurgence—and we believe it is critical to test the candidates’ positions on issues that not only impact African Americans, but all working class people and people of color. ”

The forum was made possible by generous support from presenting partner the Community College of Philadelphia; media partners WURD 900AM, The Philadelphia Tribune, KYW Newsradio, CBS3 and the CW PhillyCW-57; and community partner, The Philadelphia Community of Leaders.