Attacking Racism: Black-Asian Solidarity After the Violence at South Philly High

A fast-growing spirit of cross-racial solidarity is taking root in the Philadelphia public schools in response to the December 3rd attacks on 26 Asian immigrant students at South Philadelphia High School.

On the Monday following the attacks, 50 students refused to attend classes, kicking off a highly publicized boycott that lasted eight school days. At the School Reform Commission Meeting held that week, students and numerous community advocates gave public statements expressing outrage over the gross failures of teachers and administrators to intervene and stop the attacks. Despite the fact that the attackers were primarily African American and the school has seen long-standing tensions between the racial groups, students carried signs of protest that read, “It’s not a question of who beat whom, but who let it happen.”

Indeed, activists have been calling attention to the school district’s repeated negligence in addressing a history of racial incidents at the school.

The dodging response from the district as well as the coverage by mass media has tended to create the wrongful impression that tension and violence between African Americans and Asian Americans is somehow natural and inevitable. School District Superintendent Dr. Arlene Ackerman wrote in a Jan 11th editorial for The Philadelphia Inquirer, “All too often, students bring racial intolerance from their homes and communities into school. When these prejudices exist in cultures and neighborhoods where violence can be a way of life, it’s no surprise that tempers explode and learning becomes impossible.” Mainstream media coverage has tended to portray Asians in South Philly as the latest immigrant newcomers in a changing neighborhood who are understandably met with resentment and abuse because of their differences in language and culture.

Save Point Breeze Campaign: Fighting Gentrification in South Philly

The Save Point Breeze Campaign, a part of the community organization Concerned Citizens of Point Breeze, is an anti-gentrification movement in South Philadelphia fighting to stop market rate housing from pushing out poor and working-class families.must read this!
Three neighborhoods in Philadelphia, including Point Breeze, have been designated to receive federal stimulus money through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (1). This stimulus money comes at a time when concerns about gentrification in the neighborhood have intensified. At both 1741 Federal St. and 23rd and Alter St. there are houses/condos on the market for $300,000. At 1737 Manton St. a penthouse is being built that will be in the high $300,000s. "We can go on and on, those are just some examples. How in the world can people stay in Point Breeze with those houses coming up all around them?" said Betty Beaufort, activist and longtime Point Breeze resident. In one year, from 2008 to 2009, the median home sale price in Point Breeze has gone up 45.7% or $29,500 (2).

Put a lid on the trash tax

Mayor Nutter wouldn’t dare impose on his wealthy buddies, developers and big business in trying to balance the budget.  So with the city still in need of funds he sang his usual refrain at his March 4th Budget Address.  Poor and working Philadelphians can foot the bill!  Under the “Healthy Philadelphia Initiative” he has proposed a 2-cent tax per ounce on ‘sugary drinks’ (70 cents more on a two liter bottle of soda or $2.88 more on a 12-pack of cans.)  The “Keep Philly Clean” initiative is even more concerning.  Nutter has p

Do U.C. What Happens?

California entered a serious budget crisis in 2008 as a result of the financial crisis and slump in its once-hot housing market. (Despite having the largest dollar per capita prison system in the entire United States, cuts were instead made to vital public services under the watch of of Arnold Schwarzenegger, super-rich Reagan-wannabe known for his attempts to ‘terminate’ allegations of sexual misconduct and business-related conflicts of interest).

Agent Moe

On the last Thursday of every month there is an event at the rotunda on 40th and Walnut, which to many people in Philly has been a mainstay for the Hip Hop/B-boy cultural movement, a magnetic grindstone attracting many of the best upcoming talents in this city called The Gathering. However this month’s Gathering was a little different.. it was missing one key element the most “raw” Agent Moe who had recently passed away after 4 years of struggling with a terminal illness.

Poor Families Demand Change from Obama

Protesters shut down street to call for a national freeze on foreclosures

On January 28th, the morning after President Obama’s first State of the Union address, over 50 people organized by the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC), most of them poor, shut down a busy stretch of Market Street to call for change.

Port Richmond Philadelphia Community Rallies Against Police Officer in Fatal Shooting

The community of Port Richmond has come together and rallied against police officer Frank?Tepper?after he killed?Billy Panas Jr,?this past?November in Northeast Philadelphia. Port Richmond is in the part of Philadelphia adjacent to Fishtown and Kensington and is one of the?more working class?sections of the city. This community has mobilized against a police shooting where support for the police is usually very strong.

On Blue, Black and White: The Tragedies of Lawrence Allen and Billy Panas Jr.

The life of Billy Panas Jr. was cut short on November 21st, 2009 when off duty cop Sgt. Frank Tepper gunned him down in the Port Richmond neighborhood where they both lived.  After almost two and a half months he has finally been charged with the murder of Billy Panas  Jr. and is awaiting trial. A strikingly similar case exists and has gone largely unnoticed for well over a year.  Both cases involve an off duty cop shooting a young man, but there are differences. This case occurred in North Philly, not Port Richmond. The cop and the victim were black, not white.

Hearts on a Wire:

Trans and gender variant people share lifesaving support across the walls of Pennsylvania’s prison systems

Prison Health News

A lot of inmates from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community feel lonely because either their families gave up hope for them, or they’re so caught up in the system that they feel like there’s no hope for them when they come out. So they stay  in the same addictive behaviors when they come out, which is not healthy for someone living with HIV.

Survivor of Holmesburg Experiments Continues Fight for Justice.

I met Ed late last year outside Holmesburg’s glowering walls.

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