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Operation Hug The Block holds nightly vigils on streets beset by violence

In the early hours of September 17, 2023, Mazzie Casher and Steven Pickens were foot patrolling near A Street and Indiana Avenue in Kensington, a hotspot for gun murders. The co-founders of the Philly Truce Foundation, a nonprofit that tackles gun violence among the city’s Black youth, were accompanied by a Philadelphia police officer and

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4 mins read
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In the face of rejection and violence, Philadelphia’s Black transgender community helps each other with housing and employment

By age 5, Philadelphia native Tatyana Woodard knew she was different. Born with a male body, she felt like a girl. She preferred girls’ clothes and loved White Diamonds, her grandmother’s perfume. Over time, Woodard’s conviction and hidden stash of feminine outfits grew. “At 16, I was put out of my house due to my

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6 mins read
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Afrocentric practice offers culturally competent mental health care in North Philadelphia

The phone woke Jacqui Johnson, founder and clinical director of Sankofa Healing Studio, from a sound sleep. On the other end of the line, Tinika Hogan, recently released from prison, teetered on the brink of disaster. She was about to do something that would have gotten her kicked out of a halfway house, which could

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4 mins read
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An archaeological dig helps re-envision West Philadelphia’s demolished Black neighborhood

The small light-brown button excavated in broiling August heat rests in the palm of Megan C. Kassabaum, Ph.D., associate professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and Weingarten Associate Curator for North America at the Penn Museum. Dug up from one of three small sites in the parking lot behind the Community Education Center

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8 mins read
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West Mount Airy comes together to beautify a regional rail station

On a sunny afternoon in late spring, 27 sixth graders from Mount Airy’s Henry H. Houston Elementary School skipped and hooted their way to SEPTA’s Carpenter Train Station, as if already savoring the adventure of planting trees there. “We identified flowers and pollinators along the way,” says Christine Bush, a STEM (science, technology, engineering and

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5 mins read
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Docents give energizing presentations on local Black history

The late autumn wind began to bite during the 1838 Black Metropolis walking tour last year, but historian Michiko Quinones warmed the 10 participants with stories of riches, a riot and secret dealings in Philly’s antebellum Black community. “Some 20,000 Black people lived in Philadelphia in the late 1830s,” Quinones said. “The 1838 census showed

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5 mins read
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