November 4, 2013
IBW Town Hall Meeting to Address State of Emergency in Black Philadelphia
Conveners Seek to Engage Black Professional Organizations
Eager to play a more active role in combating the multiple crises plaguing many inner-city neighborhoods, a committee comprised of representatives of African-centered Black professional organizations is convening a Town Hall Meeting, Friday, November 22, 7:00 – 9:30 P.M. at Resurrection Community Methodist Church, 6200 Dicks Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia. The theme for the Town Hall Meeting is – State of the Emergency in Black Philadelphia: Time to Heal Black Families and Communities.
Working in conjunction with the New York-based Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW), the Philadelphia Chapters of the National Association of Black Social Workers, Association of Black Psychologists, Black Psychiatrists of America, International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice and Black Administrators in Child Welfare will engage a discussion of additional solutions to the economic underdevelopment, mis-education, neglect, drugs, crime, violence, fratricide and mass incarceration in distressed/marginalized Black neighborhoods. The organizations are affiliated with IBW’s Black Family Summit which is convened by Leonard Dunston, President Emeritus, National Association of Black Social Workers.
The Town Hall Meeting will be an opportunity to garner support for a Philadelphia-wide conference on these issues to be convened in March of 2014. A similar conference was held in 2012 but organizers hope to broaden the base by encouraging many more organizations to participate in the planning and implementation. The ultimate goal is to achieve greater cooperation, collaboration and coordination among organizations and agencies engaged in solving the crises afflicting Black neighborhoods.
A stellar panel of local and national speakers has been assembled to share experiences and to offer recommendations to address the crises: Susan L. Taylor, former Editorial Editor, Essence Magazine and Founder, National Cares Mentoring Movement; Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, Host, Our World with Black Enterprise; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, President Emeritus, Bennett College for Women; George Fraser, Chairman/CEO, FraserNet, Inc.; Bilal Qayyum, Presient, The Father’s Day Rally Committee, Inc.; Chad Lassiter, President, Black Men at Penn School of Social Work; Dorothy Johnson-Speight, Founder, Mothers in Charge, Inc.; and, Shondell Revell, Deputy Managing Director, City of Philadelphia will share the stage at the Town Hall Meeting. The Rev. Dr. Michael T. Tyson, Pastor of Resurrection Community Methodist Church will serve as Host. Several Black elected officials and community leaders have been invited.
Commenting on the importance of the Town Hall Meeting, Rev. Dr. Tyson remarked: “We think a Town Hall Meeting of this caliber with so many bright minds can be a blessing to the entire City as well as the Southwest Philadelphia community where our Church is located. Hopefully, more people will be encouraged to become actively involved in working together to find solutions to problems.”
Lois Hayman-El, President of the Philadelphia Alliance of Black Social Workers, believes the Town Hall Meeting will be an excellent vehicle to enlist the support of community based organizations, leaders and concerned people to organize a productive Conference in March. “We are determined to build stronger bonds of unity and collaboration between Black professional organizations and community based groups on the front lines of the struggle to combat violence and fratricide in our neighborhoods”, said Hayman-El.
Bilal Quayyam, who has long worked on these issues, said: “I welcome the opportunity to work more closely with organizations and agencies that can bring additional human and material resources to aid in healing our communities. There is enough work to go around for everybody.”
Under the leadership of veteran social and political activist Dr. Ron Daniels, IBW plans to work with leaders in communities across the country to sponsor Town Hall Meetings to address what the organization calls a “State of Emergency in America’s Dark Ghettos.” The Philadelphia gathering is the first in this series. WURD 900 AM will broadcast the Town Hall Meeting live.