July 18, 2015 |
A two-month investigation of the Cordish Cos. by the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity found "no credible evidence" that the firm chosen to build a casino in South Philadelphia "practices racism or has a culture or history of discrimination. " The 16-page report released Thursday contained new background on a controversy that erupted last month when a news conference on alleged racist practices by Baltimore-based Cordish unraveled. The Rev. Terrence Griffith, president of the Black Clergy, said he learned of the alleged discrimination against guests at Cordish facilities in the Midwest at a March meeting with Jason Ortiz of Metropolitan Public Strategies, a consulting firm working for a labor union that has had a rocky relationship with Cordish but does not represent Cordish employees.
June 7, 2015 |
A Protestant bishop from Philadelphia will join clergy from around the country next week in a visit to the Vatican to meet with advisers to Pope Francis to discuss how the pope's message of inclusion applies to race relations in the United States. Bishop Dwayne Royster, head of Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild (POWER), said the group wants to convey to the Vatican how low wages, criminalization, immigration, detention, and police brutality have hurt families in the U.S. "One of the things we're trying to say to the pope very clearly, and convey to his advisers, is, in the U.S., when you talk about any justice issue, race is at the center of it," Royster said.
May 16, 2015 |
With the Democratic primary for mayor five days away, former City Councilman James F. Kenney visited a predominantly African American neighborhood Thursday to pick up the endorsement of City Council President Darrell L. Clarke. Add Clarke to the list of influential African American elected officials backing Kenney, who is white, including Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco and State Rep. Dwight Evans. And there was also this on Thursday: The president of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity praised Kenney while saying State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, who is African American, had botched his shot at becoming the city's next mayor.
April 14, 2015 |
Two Philadelphia clergy members visited the McDonald's restaurant at Broad and Arch Streets on Sunday afternoon with a group of activists, blessed the hands of a restaurant employee, and spoke about "God's call for economic justice. " The surprise showing was part of the organization POWER's effort to have the minimum working wage raised to $15 an hour and improve working conditions for low-wage employees. The clergy members used olive oil Sunday to anoint the hands of a McDonald's employee and two other fast-food workers as a prelude to a national walkout scheduled for Wednesday to protest the need for a higher minimum wage.
December 12, 2014 |
A group of clergy gathered for a special service Wednesday night in North Philadelphia focused on justice in response to police killings of African Americans. The program at New Vision United Methodist Church on North Broad Street was titled "Strange Fruit: The Seven Last Words of Seven Black Lives. " The name is in part a reference to the traditional Holy Week sermon about the last words of Jesus on the cross. It also was inspired by Strange Fruit, the poem about racism and the lynchings of African Americans that Billie Holiday turned into a song.
December 9, 2014 |
Staging a "die in" to highlight perceived racial injustices by police against black people, protestors planned to lie in the streets near Lincoln Financial Field after the Philadelphia Eagles game Sunday. Led by a group of clergy and lay people called POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild), the event is an example of "people of faith [stepping] into the public sphere in powerful ways," according to a POWER statement. The protestors planned to gather at 7 p.m. at the northeast corner of Broad St. and Pattison Ave. to lie in the street for four and one-half minutes to symbolize the four and one-half hours that the body of Michael Brown, 18, lay in the street on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. Brown was killed by Police Officer Darren Wilson.
November 29, 2014 |
On the summer Sunday after a white policeman killed a black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., the Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler climbed his historic Society Hill pulpit to introduce his congregants to a minister in Ferguson - via speakerphone. "I thought it was important on that day they hear from someone on the ground," Tyler remembered. "They were angry, upset, confused. " In Oxford Circle, his friend and fellow clergyman Bishop Dwayne Royster was already making plans for how the two could travel to Ferguson.
October 8, 2014 |
The Methodist pastors who jointly officiated a same-sex wedding last year in Philadelphia will not face church trials and the potential loss of their credentials. But the decision is far from a green light for other clergy to break the church's same-sex marriage laws without fear of reprisal. Bishop Peggy Johnson, in announcing the move, said future complaints regarding same-sex weddings would be handled "swiftly and with significant and appropriate consequences. " Previously, Johnson has publicly grappled with enforcing laws she believes to be discriminatory.
June 28, 2014 |
The Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity said Thursday that District Attorney Seth Williams should have dropped an investigation of five Philadelphia Democrats allegedly caught on tape taking bribes. Williams announced last week that he was taking the case to a grand jury. Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane had dropped the investigation in 2013, calling it tainted by racism and overly reliant on an informant with a checkered past. The Rev. Terrence Griffith, president of the Black Clergy, said in an interview late Thursday that the way the investigation was conducted - using an informant and soliciting the alleged corruption - represents a major problem in the justice system.
May 10, 2014 |
Pennsylvania's Supreme Court agreed Thursday to resolve the contested key legal theory underpinning the landmark 2012 prosecution of the first Catholic Church official charged in the clergy child-sex-abuse scandal. The state's highest court will thus decide the future of Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former Archdiocese of Philadelphia official responsible for investigating and recommending punishment for priests accused of sexual and other misconduct. It could also dictate the standards for prosecutors to bring future charges against any church officials accused of covering up misconduct by clergy they supervise.