5.12.13: Philadelphia - (Arts/Culture/Nonprofit): A couple of years ago I performed with the Djembe drummers that make up the Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra. During a Black History production at the Arts Bank, I could clearly hear and see how talented these percussionists were. However, what I experienced last night when the Djembes were joined with the Tablas, Sambas, and Batas - during a weekend-long performance at the @PaintedBride Center that celebrated the groups 18th anniversary - left me speechless. 15 drummers in sync
King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden visit Philadelphia
5.11.13: Philadelphia - (Politics/Education): With the red carpet laid and ushered in by First Troop Philadelphia City Calvary, Mayor Nutter led the processional of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden into the Mayor's Conversation Hall. Referring to City Hall as the "fiscal center of Philadelphia," and the "iconic seat of our government," Nutter, during his welcome address, shared that "Swedish settlers lived in Philadelphia 50 years before William Penn in a colony called New Sweden. The American Swedish Historical Museum is on land that was apart of the original Sweden colony." He also noted that "the City Hall Tower host the statue of a Swedish woman and child and a Swedish man and child, representing some of the first settlers."
Governor Challenged as local politicians support District's request for more funds
5.10.13: Philadelphia - (Politics/Education): After closing more than 20 schools and issuing countless pink slips, The Philadelphia School District is in critical condition and is desperately pleading for more funds. From the Commonwealth, the District is requesting new funding of $120 Million. Additionally, the cash-strapped District has requested $60 Million from the City and $130 from Labor partners. Yesterday morning at the Andrew Jackson Elementary School, 12th & Federal St, Mayor Nutter, Senator Vincent Hughes, Senator Anthony Hardy Williams, State Representative Jordan Harris and members of the Philadelphia State Delegation stood with Superintendent Hite to announce their support of the District's call for additional funding from the State and City government and its request for labor savings. "We need help, and we appreciate the help that's being demonstrated here today," says SRC Chairman Pedro Ramos. While no percentage of the requested funds will be invested to grow capital and fuel innovation, it will be instrumental however in keeping guidance counselors, assistant principals and music and arts in schools, at least for another year.
First in the Nation, Philly offers Equality Tax Credit
5.9.13: Philadelphia - (Politics/Civil Rights) : History was made in Philadelphia today as Mayor Michael A. Nutter signed Bill No 130224 into law, becoming the first city in the nation to provide employers an Equality Tax Credit. Focused on strengthening and expanding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, the legislation will provide a credit to employers who offer health benefits to same-sex couples, life partners and transgender employees
The Art of Storytelling: Beginning, Middle, It Never Ends
5.4.13: Philadelphia - (Business/Entrepreneurship): I'm great at multi-tasking. As I'm writing this post, @WWE (Formerly World Wrestling Entertainment) Saturday Morning Slam is playing on my television. No, I didn't leave the television on last night and just happened to awaken to this G rated program - I turned it on purposely. Consistently interrupted by commercials of cheesy children's toys - toy's I probably would have wanted when I was age 7 - the 10:30am time slot is something I look forward to after a busy week in nation's 5th largest city. It's a chance for me to see some of the lower card "Sports-Entertainers," and how their storylines have advanced. WWE tells some of the best stories on television. Their flagship Monday Night program RAW is the "longest running weekly 'eposonic' entertainment show in television history," and many of their character's have emerged as pop-culture Icons; most notably Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea) and The Rock (Dwayne Johnson). Highly visible, pumped and charismatic, the "Sports-Entertainers" however are not to credit for WWE's longstanding market position in television and live event sales, its writers deserve to wear that title.
Knight Arts Challenge Winner, seeking to unify South Philly's neighborhoods, curates theatrical effort
4.30.13: Philadelphia - (Art/Culture/Philanthropy): Last night at the Art Museum of Philadelphia the John S and James L Knight Foundation celebrated the 2013 Winners of the Knight Arts Challenge, a community wide contest that funds ideas that engage and enrich Philadelphia through the arts. In its final year of the contest, the Knight Foundation awarded approximately 2 Million dollars to 43 projects, including awarding $150,000 to "Play On, Philly," a program that will cultivate students' music skills by coordinating a multifaceted creative initiative that will teach music production and technology, composting, jazz and more.
An inaugural charity event, Philly Techies are sold to highest bidder
4.25.13: Philadelphia - (Charity): Over a dozen local businesses and nonprofits have become Auction lot Sponsors for tonight's inaugural Philly Give & Get, a new charity "date" auction that connect professionals in Philadelphia with their surrounding communities in ways that educate and inspire all those involved. Held at National Mechanics (22 S 33rd St) from 7pm - 10pm, and developed and incubated at Indy Hall, the popular co-working space in the Old City section of the city, proceeds from tonight's event will be donated to Philadelphia Center for Arts and Technology, which offers children, youth and adults the opportunity to develop the academic, work and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. "We wanted to find a nonprofit that represented the key important communities that Indy Hall embodied," explains Lansie Sylvia, Founder of Philly Give & Get. Sylvia, believing in providing the students services they need to better themselves, has invited PCAT's Director to tonight's event to give a short presentation on its programming. "It's a nonprofit located in North Philadelphia. I want to provide it that 'WOW FACTOR' and introduce it to center city movers and shakers - raise the organization's profile," says Sylvia.
Partnership connects Philly to affordable broadband, computers and digital training
4.23.13: Philadelphia - (Technology/Innovation): In an attempt to level the digital playing field, especially for the 41
percent of Philadelphians who don't have home Internet access, yesterday, EveryoneOn had its local launch in Philadelphia.
The campaign, also recently launched in Charlotte and other US cities, aims to connect Americans to free digital literacy
training classes, discounted high speed Internet and affordable computers.
As a part of the Philly Tech Week
Annual Boy's "Power" Lunch Attracts Philly's 2nd Youngest City Official
4.22.13: Philadelphia - (Politics/Nonprofit): In an effort to introduce opportunities and careers in public service to young boys ages 7-12, the 16th Annual Boy's Power lunch took on the theme of "Prepare to Lead" and hosted State Representative Jordan Harris, the second youngest city official in Philadelphia. Representing the 186th District, the former Executive Director of the Mayor's Youth Commission, who was elected into office in January of this year, touted two new House Bills that he's putting forward that will soon become law. "House Bill 908 is an important bill," explain Harris, a former Middle School Social Studies teacher. "This law will give citizens a chance to get their criminal conviction expunged after seven years of being free from arrest." Harris also spoke briefly about House Bill 909, which "calls for a person's arrest record to be automatically expunged if a person was found not guilty or the charges withdrawn."
Growing Impatient with Gov. Corbett, Activists Consider Encampment
4.19.13: Philadelphia - (Politics/Activism): Frustrated with Governor Corbett's refusal to accept the Medicaid Expansion, hundreds of activists – made up by local grassroots and community organizations – marched down Broad Street yesterday afternoon chanting: "WHAT DO WE WANT? HEALTHCARE! WHEN DO WE WANT IT? NOW!" Led by Activist and popular voice-over artist Mannwell Glenn, the passionate posse of diverse races and ages ascended upon the Governor's Philadelphia office (200 S Broad Street) and held a rally where several speakers - including State Senator Vincent Hughes – demanded the Governor accept the Medicaid Expansion; providing healthcare for the "700,000 Pennsylvanians and 93,000 children in this state."
Holocaust Survivor talks "Strength of Survival"
4.18.13: Philadelphia - (History/Activism): Lecturer Michael Herskovitz, a Holocaust Survivor, shared his story Wednesday Morning at a breakfast presented by the Law Firm of Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy, P.C., a full-practice law firm with offices in Philadelphia, PA, Bethlehem, PA, Marlton and Jersey City. The Author of "Our Cherry Tree Still Stands" and "Early One Saturday Morning" told the story of how he, at 13 years of age, was captured by German soldiers and taken to concentration camps – including Auschwitz-Birkenau and Mauthausen. Speaking alone on stage for almost an hour, recounting the story as if happened yesterday, the noted writer and veteran discussed how he and his family survived the Holocaust, and how he came to the United States and has been able to positively affect individuals and organizations throughout the region; the event was sponsored by the Holocaust Awareness Museum. Living in Philadelphia and sharing his story with communities and school throughout the area, the 2009 Humanitarian of the Year (National Birth Sholom) holds no grudges over the soldiers who pulled him and his family away from their family grocery store and forced them endure years of unimaginable torture. He lives a happily life at almost 85 years of age, and is excited to share his story with anyone who will listen, stating "life moves on. You can't just sit back and be bitter. I have five great-grandchildren, I just want to live and tell my story."
City Controller Election Sparks Entertaining Debate
4.11.13: Philadelphia - (Politics): I've never been to a City Controller debate. Shamefully I must admit before today I didn't even know what they did. But when I read that "Young Philadelphians are especially impacted by city finances," I decided this was an event I wanted to attend. Concerned about rather I could covert the perceived "boring political talk" into a legitimate article that engages the interest of Millennials, Philly's largest demographic according to a recent study released by Pew Charitable Trust, I found that I had no problem finding and capturing great moments to share as the event was filled with laughter and random clapping; the latter being for Terry Tracy, the only republican candidate on the ticket - people agreed with him but given how democratic Philadelphia is the audience seemed solemn about showing too much support.
(WATCH) or (...read more)
Olen Montgomery of the Scottsboro Boys Reacts to News of Pardoning
Actor who Plays Olen Montgomery in 'The Scottsboro Boys' React to News of Pardoning, in Character
Actor David Bazemore played Olen Montgomery in The Scottsboro Boys' first regional production at The Philadelphia Theatre
Company's Suzanne Robert's Theatre.
4.10.13: Philadelphia -(Arts/Entertainment): Actor, Singer , Dancer David Bazemore played Olen Montgomery
in the first regional production of "The Scottsboro Boys," which premiered at the Philadelphia Theatre Company's
Suzanne Roberts Theatre, January 2012. The limited engagement, which ended February 19, 2012, featured several
of the original Broadway cast member. "The Scottsboro Boys" is now set to premiere in a little over a month at
the Ahmason Theatre in Los Angeles. Featuring the original Broadway production team - including Susan Stroman,
Director/Choreographer, Composer John Candor and book writer David Thompson - "The Scottsboro Boys" will be more
relevant than ever given the fac... I contacted Bazemore, who'll be traveling to L.A as part of the cast, playing
Montgomery again of course, and inquired: If Olen Montgomery was alive today how would he react to the news that
he had been pardoned?
Rendell, Nutter demands vote on Gun Legislation
4.9.13: Philadelphia -(Politics):What will U.S Sen. Pat Toomey do? Toomey, who has long been
backed by the NRA and opposed new gun laws apparently will "vote to end any filibuster and get
the gun legislation to a full vote in the Senate," according to Former Governor Ed Rendell,
although that has yet to be confirmed by Toomey publicly or his spokesperson, who declined to
comment on Rendell's statement, philly.com reports. Rendell, along with Mayor Nutter joined
CeaseFirePA in a rally in front of Toomey's Philadelphia office to demand he support commonsense
gun legislation. Toomey, however, was in the Capitol today as a 5pm deadline looms for reaching
a bipartisan agreement. In front of an energized crowd of over 150 Pennsylvanians, Nutter,
passionately stated, "I was in the legislature for 14 Â˝ years," referring to his time on
Philadelphia City Council where he represented the 4th District. "Your job is to vote," he added,
then leading the crowd in chanting: "WE WANT A VOTE!"
Sunshine Week Shines light on New Markets
With the Sunshine Laws shining light on FIOA, and Foundations offering
resources and cash to generate bright ideas, can techies, hackers, thought
leaders, educators and philanthropist collaborate to accelerate
3.28.13: Philadelphia -(Technology/Innovation): There's a new movement
sweeping the country and while it doesn't quite have a name, it has a
mission: To make Government more interactive through the use of open data
and technology. Two weeks ago the country celebrated sunshine week, a
national initiative spearheaded by the American Society of News Editors to
educate the public about the importance of open government and the dangers
of excessive and unnecessary secrecy. In Philadelphia, Sunshine Week
extended to the weekend. Starting on Tuesday, March 12th, WHYY hosted a
public forum entitled "Open Records 101: Your Guide to Open Government."
The Sunlight Foundation's Bill Allison talked about making the most of
public records; and journalist - including WHYY's Dave Davies and Holly
Otterbein- shared stories from the trenches. Ending on Saturday, March
16th, (National Freedom of Information Day) Knight Foundation hosted an
idea day focused on one question: how might we make Philadelphia more
awesome through information and technology? Knight Foundation - the
initial investors in Sunshine Week (2005) - is currently running a contest
on open government, looking for innovative ideas to improve the way
citizens and governments interact. Winners will get a share of $5 million
and support to make their project happen.
WWE stands on "top rope" of social good
By rumbling Malaria, tackling literacy and body slamming bullying, WWE
grapples society's problems and WINS!
3.22.13: Philadelphia, National -(Business/Sports-Edutainment /Activism):
In less than three weeks WWE (NYSE: WWE) will produce its flagship annual
event WrestleMania. Headlining the "Show of Shows" on April 7, 2013 at
East Rutherford, N.J.'s MetLife Stadium is WWE Champion Duane "The Rock"
Johnson v.s John Cena, The Undertaker v.s. C.M. Punk and WWE's COO Triple
H v.s Brock Lesnar. While the world is watching the action unfold in the
squared circle, WWE is behind the curtain in a backstage brawl with
society's toughest problems; most notably bullying, literacy and malaria.
Statistics show that during this year's WrestleMania Reading Challenge -
which was expanded this year to include www.WWEReadingSuperstar.com, a new
digital reading program partnered and supported by the Pearson Foundation
- over 110,000 books were read, averaging out to 3,200 books a day! This
year's WrestleMania Reading Challenge will mark the program's eighth year
and will culminate at the national WrestleMania Reading Challenge Final
the weekend of WrestleMania 29 in New Jersey. More than 2,000 branches and
50,000 young people from the U.S. and Canada will participate in this
year's challenge, including students from the Tri-State area.
Closing North Philly School wins Championship
February 24, 2013: Philadelphia -(Education/Nonprofit/Activism): The majority of
students at Vaux High School don't know where they'll end up in the fall.
However, three Vaux High School students know where they'll be this
summer…New Orleans! Yesterday evening, three young men - Christopher
Sheppard, Christian Smith and Christian Rammseur - represented Vaux High
School in the African-American History Challenge; sponsored locally by 100
Black Men of Philadelphia. With a final score of 40-10, Vaux High School
was victorious over Math, Civics & Science High School in the senior round
of the African-American History Challenge, and will be representing
Philadelphia in the National African-American History Challenge
Competition which takes place in June of this year. Hosted by CN8 on-air
personality Arthur Fennell, with guest judges, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson
and Dr. Chuck Williams, the Vaux team successful ran through questions
like: "In 1820, which two U.S cities had the largest African-American
populations?" and "Why was the Royal African Company founded?"
World Relief's CEO talks Poverty, Immigration Reform & the Minimum Wage
February 23, 2013: Philadelphia -(Politics/Nonprofit/Activism): It's the Justice
Conference's first time on the East Coast. However, Stephan Bauman, one of
the conference's keynote speakers and World Relief's President/CEO, is no
stranger to the East Coast's unpredictable winters and life in the inner
city. After living in Africa for eight years and holding previous
positions as Director of International Programs for World Hope
International and Vice President of Programs for World Relief, Bauman now
resides in Baltimore, where he oversees the 50+ year old international
organization; an organization with 2,500 staff and 100,000 volunteers in
20 nations. Holding a M.A in International Development from Johns Hopkins
University and a M.A in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College
Graduate School, Bauman, who in the summer of 2012 held a Press Conference
on Capitol Hill pressing Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration
reform plan, sat down with me to talk about Poverty, Immigration reform
and raising the minimum wage.
Nutter leverages Washington to help Philadelphians access Healthcare
February 21, 2013: Philadelphia - (Politics/Health): More than a million
Pennsylvanians are without health insurance - Philadelphia makes up about
210,000 of that number, estimates Mayor Michael Nutter during his open
remarks at today's Press Conference with Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services. Accompanied also by Dr. Donald
Schwarz, Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity, Mayor Nutter ensured the
public: "we will have a coordinated and cooperative approach to helping
every Philadelphian enroll in a quality health insurance program." October
1st begins the open enrollment process for the Pennsylvania Health
Insurance Exchange, under the "Affordable Care Act". Mayor Nutter, as he
prepared to introduce Secretary Sebelius, stated "We are literally in a
sprint to October 1st. We have a lot of work to do in a relatively short
period of time, but we're Philadelphians and we can get things done. We
are gonna make sure that our fellow Philadelphians - those who've been on
the sidelines, those who have been left out and locked out from getting
affordable health insurance, now can get it, as the President worked so
hard to make sure it can happen."
The Justice Conference to Convene Leading Advocates on Justice and Human Rights in Philadelphia for two day conference, February 22-23, 2013
February 14, 2013 - Philadelphia(Nonprofit/Activism): In its third year, The Justice Conference, a two-day annual event that focuses on justice-related issues like human trafficking, slavery, poverty, HIV/AIDS, and human rights, will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia on February 22-24, 2013. Organized by World Relief, the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals, along withKilns College, the third annual conference - which aims to educate, inspire and connect a generation of men and women around a shared concern for the vulnerable and oppressed - is being held on the East Coast for the first time this year, and is expected to draw more than 6,000 attendees and over 200 exhibitors. This year's conference also coincides with a special film festival focusing on how art and film shape global culture. For more information please visit www.thejusticeconference.com
Vice President Joe Biden 'triggers' consensus on Universal background checks during discussion on Gun Violence
February 11, 2013: Philadelphia, National - (Politics/Crime): The headline is not a
typo and yes it's ironic. This morning while Vice President Joe Biden was
in town meeting with elected officials and law enforcement officers -
including, Philadelphia's Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Police Chief Charles
Ramsey, District Attorney Seth Williams, Congressman Chaka Fattah and
Wilmington's Police Chief Christine Dunning - a man walked into a
Wilmington Courtroom and began shooting. Using a semi-automatic weapon,
the gunman - described as a white male between 50 and 60 years of age -
killed two women and injured two Capitol Police Officers inside the New
Castle County Court of Common Pleas; at least one of those women is
believed to have been the target (...read more)
Tony Nominated Actor Colman Domingo plays host at Knight Arts Challenge Fundraiser
February 4, 2013: Philadelphia - (Celebrity/Arts/Culture/Entertainment): Award
Winning Actor Colman Domingo came back home yesterday evening to host The
Brothers' Network "Mountaintop" Gala - which included a 4 course dinner at
Tashan, an authentic Indian restaurant with wide ranging global culinary
influences and a pre and post performance reception at The Philadelphia
Theatre Company's Suzanne Roberts Theatre; where guest enjoyed a
performance of The Mountaintop, a gripping re-imagining of the events
taking place the night before the assassination of Civil Rights leader Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Winners of a 2012 Knights Arts Challenge Grant
from the James L. and John T. Knight Foundation, The Brothers' Network's
last fundraiser was a 5 Star Wine tasting event hosted by Wine Expert
Byron C. Mayes, C.S.A., Also that evening, The Brothers' Network Managing
Director Gregory Walker handed out "The Brother of the Year Awards" to
four deserving Black Men: (...read more)
January 27, 2013 - Yesterday's Icons, Today's Issues: What Would They Do?
Philadelphia - (History/Nonprofit/Activism): Yesterday evening at the Moonstone Arts Center at 110 S 13th Street, Activists, Journalists, Scholars, Authors and Historians gathered to discuss the importance and relevance of Ida. B Wells and other Civil Rights Leaders; including Dr. Martin Luther King- the event was part of Moonstone Arts Center's "Hidden History" series. Moderated by Erica Armstrong Dunbar, an Associate Professor of History with joint appointments in Black American Studies and Women's Studies, the panel of thought leaders - including Attorney, Activist and self-described "America's Angriest Black Man" Michael Coard, host of WURD's Radio Courtroom - Award Winning Journalist Linn Washington Jr and Author of "Ida B. Wells: To Tell the Truth Freely", Mia Bay - discussed how yesterday's Icon's - such as Ida B. Wells - would look at Gun Control, The Prison Industrial Complex, Mass Incarceration and other "headlining" issues.
January 19, 2013 - Techbook Online Corporation's CEO talks "Digital Dominance" with Philly's Power99FM
January 17, 2013 - Award Winning News Director interviews Philly Knight Arts Challenge Winner
Philadelphia - (Technology/Business/Nonprofit) This weekends edition of Insight will feature Gregory Walker, Managing Executive Director of The Brothers' Network - 2012 Knight Arts Challenge Winners, and TRX Cymbal Co Artist Christopher "Flood the Drummer" Norris, CEO/Founder of Techbook Online Corporation - one of PhillyinFocus.com's largest and most active publishers. Hosted by Award Winning News Director Loraine Ballard Morrill, Insight aired Sunday on WDAS FM from 6:00-7am and on Power 99 FM from 7:00-7:30am.
January 6, 2013 - ARSIN "sets fire" to North Philly Bookstore
29th 2010: After 3 months of negotiations with
the Blaque Market
Production Co. Techbook Online has reached a deal. The
chosen to keep the inner workings of this deal confidential until other
29th 2010: Techbook Online acquired "Joy of God Ministries
deal now gives Techbook Online extensive reach in African countries
such as Kenya, Uganda, and Nigera
CEO Christopher Norris entered into negotiations with Mt. Hebron
Baptist regarding the teaching of its Green education program in its
20th 2010: Techbook Online's CEO along with
Messiah DanceWorks CEO
established a private partnership to develop a Technology that can
the educational gap between Africa and America.
19th 2010: CEO Christopher Norris unveiled the companies
educational program. This programs will start in urban inner cities The
program has been developed for all ages from 8-80
15th 2010:Techbook Online announced its plans to
the Publishing companies to bring a full arsenal of course required
literature to its social site.