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Three (Not Two) Frankford Institutions Named to the Northeast Hall of Fame

Sister Francesca Onley, CSFN, President of Holy Family University, and Dennis M. O’Brien, Philadelphia City Councilman At-Large, announced the 2012 inductees into the Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame at a press conference April 26, 2012 at Holy Family University.

Unity Monthly Meeting at Unity and Waln Streets

The 2012 inductees – two historical figures, two living individuals, and one group of institutions – include Inventor and Solar Power Pioneer Frank Shuman (1862-1918), Civil Rights Leader and Anti-apartheid Activist Reverend Leon Sullivan (1922-2001), Business and Community Leader Ed Kelly, Astronaut Chris Ferguson, and seven Northeast Philadelphia houses of worship at least 200 years old, to be inducted as a group: Unity Monthly Meeting Frankford, founded 1682, and Byberry Monthly Meeting, founded 1683, both among the earliest Quaker meetings in Pennsylvania; Pennepack Baptist Church, Bustleton, founded in 1688, Pennsylvania’s oldest Baptist Church; Trinity Church Oxford, Lawndale, in existence since at least 1698 and one of the oldest Episcopal churches in Pennsylvania; Presbyterian Church of Frankford, founded 1770; All Saints Episcopal Church, Torresdale, founded 1772; and Campbell AME Church, Frankford, founded 1807, the nation’s second oldest African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Campbell AME Church

The inductees were chosen by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee, an eight-member panel of experts in various aspects of Northeast Philadelphia life. The committee is chaired by Sister Francesca Onley. The public participated in the selection process by suggesting candidates for the committee’s consideration.

The inductees will be honored at a ceremony to be held Sunday, October 21, 2012 at 1:00 PM in the Education & Technology Center building at Holy Family University, 9801 Grant Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 19114.

Inductees into the Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame must be Northeast Philadelphia residents past or present whose lives or careers have been marked by high achievement, or individuals or organizations that have had a lasting, significant, and positive impact on the Northeast Philadelphia community. Past inductees have included Pennsylvania’s first Surveyor General Thomas Holme, Signer of the Declaration of Independence Benjamin Rush, Abolitionist Robert Purvis, Industrialist & Philanthropists Henry and Mary Disston, Humanitarian & Catholic Saint Katharine Drexel, Educator & Historian Harry Silcox, Jazz Drummer Butch Ballard, NBA Hall of Famer & Elected Official Tom Gola, Former Philadelphia City Councilwoman Joan Krajewski, Homeless Advocate Sister Mary Scullion, and social service agencies Aid For Friends and SPIN (Special People in the Northeast).

The goal of the Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame is to foster civic values and a sense of community in Northeast Philadelphia, along with a greater awareness and appreciation of the area’s rich history, by honoring the lives and accomplishments of its most distinguished citizens.

The Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Mayfair Community Development Corporation in partnership with Holy Family University, Historical Society of Frankford, The Northeast Times, and Philadelphia City Councilman At-Large Dennis M. O’Brien.
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Frankford’s Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.! The Promise of Hope!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday morning over 200 people from the Frankford area gathered to remember and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to continue working towards his dream of all of us joining our hands as “brothers and sisters”. Honoring Dr. King reminds us of our own call to serve, to show “true compassion … and a revolution of values” as we need more than ever, compassion, understanding and justice for each American. This was the 25th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast Celebration and this event had taken place at St. Joachim RC Church in previous years. This year, Dr. Ayesha Imani, CEO,Principal, and Founder of Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School, invited the community to use the school’s facility at 4256 Paul St. for the celebration. Besides George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Dr. King is the only one to be honored by having a federal holiday named after him.  At 8:30 AM, the school’s cafeteria was filled with people from the many different

Dr. Ayesha Imani, Sankofa Freedom Academy

organizations, churches and neighborhood who came for a free, cooked breakfast (by Ken’s Catering) and to participate in a program honoring Dr. King’s life that showcased the many talents of our area youth. There was a feeling of anticipation and excitement as we waited for the program to begin. Sponsored by the Frankford Coalition of Neighbors (FCN) with support from area organizations, this celebration, according to Jennifer Powell-Folks Executive Director of FCN, brings “Frankfordians together to sit with each other and talk with each other”. Jennifer reminded us that “grassroots people can make a difference” and that it is important that elected officials hear our views on what matters most to us. The mission of FCN is “… to improve relations among the diverse religious, economic, racial and ethnic groups in Frankford, while promoting volunteerism and community coalition”. At the end of this article we will provide contact information for two of community groups if you would like to get more involved. Also, be sure to check out the links of the various performances.

The program began with a song entitled “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. The Frankford Friends School Choir sang and played bells to accompany this song. We have links to all the performances at the end of this article. This song is commonly known as “The Negro National Anthem”. We were welcomed by Janet Bernstein, a member of FCN and the Frankford Garden Club, who asked us to reflect what each of us can do to continue Dr. King’s work. The beautiful table centerpieces were provided by the Frankford Garden Club with assistance by the Frankford High School ROTC (FHS ROTC) members. FHS

Jennifer Powell-Folks, Frankford Coalition of Neighbors

ROTC “presented arms” and we listened to the National Anthem. They also treated us to a drill team performance. Reverend Laurie Ann Rookard of the United Methodist Church gave the invocation and blessing. Breakfast was then served – buffet style. Following breakfast, there was an acknowledgement of the local dignitaries in attendance. Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez and state Representative Tony Payton, Jr. were among the notables. Both were thanked for their active support and advocacy for our community.

The poetry performances by Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School students were very, very moving to all. These poets are wise beyond their years and offered us a chance to see the dreams of a life they envisioned for all. Listening to these young people, Dr. King would know his message has not been forgotten. Kimberly Washington, the Northeast EPIC coordinator, explained that her organization needed more involvement from area residents. Many of the civic groups in Frankford participate in this organization but the voices of those of us who live here, the residents, needs to be more vocal and active. The next meeting of the EPIC Stakeholders is Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 5:30 PM at Aria Health – Frankford. Please make sure your presence and voice are there!

A liturgical dance was performed by the Treasures from Heaven of the Campbell AME Church. This Church on Kinsey Street is over 200 years old and the second oldest church in the Philadelphia conference. There was a free will offering to help defray costs of the breakfast. Northeast Boys and Girls Club marched and stepped lively to drums which accompanied the drill team’s performance.

Dr. Imani explained the development of freedom schools (Wikipedia reference which references the Philadelphia Freedom Schools based on the Children’s Defense Fund model). More information is also found here on the Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School web site. Reverend Rookard closed the program with a benediction.

How Can You Get Involved? Bring a Friend! Explore and Use Your Talents for Frankford!

Frankford Coalition of Neighbors
Jennifer Powell-Folks, Executive Director
c/o Campbell AME Church
1661 Kinsey Street
Philadelphia, PA 19124

CORA Services Northeast EPIC Stakeholders
Kimberly Washington, Esq.
Next meeting: Thursday, 1/27/11 at 5:30 PM at Aria Health, Frankford

Contributing Organizations besides those already mentioned: Aria Health, Frankford Campus; Fruit of the Vine United Methodist Church; Mater Dolorosa RC Church; Friends of Wissonoming Park

You are able to share in and relive this celebration by clicking on the following links:
MLK Day at Sankofa
Frankford Friends School Choir
Frankford High School ROTC Drill Team
Sankofa Essay and Poetry Readings
Campbell AME Church Liturgical Dance Performance
Northeast Boys and Girls Club Drill Team
Sankofa Freedom Academy “Something Inside So Strong”

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Community Ambassador Program Meeting

Good sized crowd for a Saturday

Beth Grossman

I went over to historic Campbell AME church on Kinsey Street Saturday morning to check out the Community Ambassador Program.  The community ambassador program is a Tony Payton initiative. It is designed to help the blocks communicate with each other to improve the quality of life in  the 179th Legislative District. He believes that a cohesive effort to fight what problems plague the district is more effective than combating problems as they arise. It is intended to make this an ongoing effort.

I missed the first half hour of the meeting but when I arrived found Beth Grossman, Chief Assistant District Attorney on the Public Nuisance Task Force discussing what could be done about nuisance properties.

Jim Sanders, of Philly 311, was up next and discussed what 311 can and cannot do.  He also talked about their new program,

Jim Sanders

Neighborhood Liaisons.

Tony Payton

A significant benefit in getting a group of people together in one room is the opportunity to hear their ideas.  I was impressed with some of the men there and their response to the “Take back the night” walk the previous evening.  There were some voices that thought it was not an effective way of reaching the people who are involved in the type of violence Frankford has seen over the last few weeks.  Seth Williams made the point that a walk through the neighborhood would not solve the problem.  It will take something more.

There was a survey distributed soliciting information.  You can download the pdf for page one here and page two here.

For further information about this program you may contact Simone Woods at Tony Payton’s office on Frankford Avenue.  The phone number is 215-744-4901.

Simone Woods