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Inclusiveness and Diversity

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America
By Mike Pulsifer
Posted: 2022-12-01T15:33:01Z

Each month the Penn's Village Inclusiveness and Diversity Committee recommends several resources to help our members and friends to be more aware of the racial biases in each of us and in our society, and the resulting inequities, past and present. It is the committee’s hope that this information may even inspire us to make corrective changes. These resources assembled by Penn’s Village members represent different mediums, different perspectives and experiences, and diverse authors.

December, 2022

A Live Zoom Presentation: As the World Turns: Stories of Transformation with Dr. Kevin Ahmaad Jenkins

On Wednesday, December 7th from 2:00 to 3:00 pm Penn’s Village Inclusiveness and Diversity Committee will launch a new series on racism and aging. Dr. Kevin Ahmaad Jenkins, an award-winning national journalist and health-disparities activist will be the keynote speaker for a series of Penn’s Village programs planned for 2023. Subsequent programs will focus on themes such as confronting and righting the effects of inequities in education, health care, earning power and lifelong wealth. Dr. Jenkins’ presentation will include suggested actions that Penn’s Villagers can implement to improve equity and reduce racism in our community as well as in the city of Philadelphia.

This event is free and open to the public. Click here to register for the Zoom link. If you are unable to attend this live presentation a recording of this event can be found on Penn’s Village website after December 14th. 


Film: Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America

Through a powerful lecture and archival film, civil rights lawyer, Jeffery Robinson, packs a college semester’s worth of knowledge about racism in America. This myth-busting, ultimately hopeful 2 hour movie can be seen on Netflix.

Book: Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality by Tomiko Brown-Nagin

In a televised round table in 1961, the civil rights lawyer Constance Baker Motley tried to coax Malcom X into acknowledging that the average Black American “is substantially better off than he was at the end of slavery.” Malcom scorned the premise. “Now you have 20 million Black people in America who are begging for some kind of recognition as human beings,” he said, referring to Black Americans imprisoned at the time. “And the average white man thinks we’re making progress.”

In this 491 page book Harvard legal historian Tomiko Brown-Nagin describes how in 1966 Brown became the first Black woman to serve as a federal judge. She began working at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in 1946 where she used the courts to dismantle Jim Crow laws. Motley helped litigate Brown v. Board of Education and fought for Martin Luther King Jr.’s right to march in Birmingham. But to radicals disenchanted with the mainstream civil rights movement she was lambasted as “a pawn of the white establishment.”, while many in the white establishment criticized her for not being patient and moderate enough.

Civil Rights Queen is a balanced assessment of a brave and brilliant woman who help reform America’s legal system before she became a part of it. Brown-Nagin ends by observing that, as a judge, Motley wasn’t the “gladiator” she had once been. She delivered few “groundbreaking” decisions, but she was known for her fairness and dedication.