Wednesday, July 31, 2019


Tuesday, July 30, 2019


Karimu Hamilton

Rochelle Bilal -Sheriff Elect


Rochelle Bilal is a native North Philadelphian who has ascended from local police officer, President of the Guardian Civic League, Vice Chair of National Black Police Association, Secretary for Philadelphia Chapter of NAACP, landslide Electee, gracefully poised to become the first woman Sheriff for The City of Philadelphia. The Sheriff, unlike a police officer is an elected official and the highest law enforcement officer with in a county. The Sheriff has a very broad range of powers. The Sheriff has full jurisdiction on crime prevention in all of its elements with- in the presiding county. “I had one teacher in elementary school that took me under her wing and ensured that I graduated.” Bilal reminisces. “”I knew that I was being supported and my life took off after that.” Bilal actually began her career working at the post office. She was unhappy there and felt that the work was mundane. She was approached by the Guardian Civil League a very powerful civil rights organization that represents Philadelphia Police Officers of color. At the time the organization was working a project to recruit more melanated police officers as well as desegregate the Philadelphia Police Department. It was a win, win situation for Bilal because the salary was higher, they offered her early retirement and the job offer would help to relieve her urge to fight against the system from within.

The Domelights Factor; Officers within the force were circulating misogynistic, racist, memorandums throughout The City of Philadelphia internet infrastructure. “I instructed my colleagues to monitor the data and collect.” Bilal explained. After a period of time The Guardian Civic League secured counsel with Brian Mildenberg one of the top anti-discrimination attorney’s in the State of Pennsylvania. The case outcomes resulted in shutting down the Domelights web site, officers were disciplined accordingly and most importantly internet policy was established for the first time with-in the Philadelphia Police Department. “The federal lawsuits are a very critical component to fighting discrimination within any system.” Bilal reflects. ”It sets a legal precedence that gives future plaintiffs a reference point to lean on if and when a similar circumstance arises. “Bilal stresses. When advising newly minted police officers from the academy on how to deal with discrimination of any kind Bilal states; “You must be transparent regarding your position on race and gender early on.” Taking a position and speaking up helps to slow down discriminatory actions with -in the department is Bilal’s methodology. “ I have interrupted many unlawful searches via racial profiling in my day they called me Angela Davis out in the field all the time.” Bilal chuckles.

Colwyn Gate; Colwyn is a Borough in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Because of Bilal expertise in policy, community relations and administration within the Philadelphia Police Department, The Borough of Colwyn subcontracted her to work on developing the infrastructure of their police department. “We were able to implement directives and guidelines as well as strengthen the relationship between the CPD and the neighborhoods they policed. However; there was a resistance within the department to the changes that Bilal was implementing. This led to the fabrication of a police report and an attempted arrest which was denounced at the time by Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan. Bilal did later on file a lawsuit against the Borough of Colwyn in which there a was settlement.

SHERIFF ELECT; Bilal’s career has come full circle and she was nominated through the Democratic Party to the first woman to serve as Sheriff for the City of Philadelphia. “It is an honor that the people have entrusted me to serve them and their city.”” It is a very important job, there is so much work to do and I am prepared.”” I will be able to shed light on crime and make change as it pertains to all people.” Bilal shared a concern for the disproportionate amount of people of color losing their homes in The City of Philadelphia. “We are going to take a look at home loss and thoroughly inspect all processes and proceedings within the City of Philadelphia.” ”We can support our residents in keeping their homes. “ “There are established legal safeguards, this combined with policy and working very closely with various city programs we will protect home ownership in the City of Philadelphia. “



Thursday, September 17, 2015


By Karimu Abena Hamilton

photo provided by karimu abena

In 1763 Benjamin Franklin organized the first volunteer fire company in Philadelphia. The notion evolved from a fire that wiped out a large portion of warehouses on a wharf and burned down three homes causing thousands of dollars in damages. The company was called the Bucket Brigade., which enlisted 30 members of the established white privileged males.  In 1818 a Philadelphian African American Fire Club was organized by a group called the African Fire Association. Unfortunately, the organization was dismantled as a result of resistance from white fire fighters that felt it would be a threat to the communities that they would potentially serve. "The formation of fire-engine and hose companies by persons of color will be productive of serious injury to the peace and safety of citizens in time of fire, and it is earnestly recommended to the citizens of Philadelphia to give them no support, aid, or encouragement in the formation of their companies, as there are as many, if not more, companies already existing than are necessary at fires or are properly supported.”
It has been documented that the first Woman Fire Fighter was actually an African American Woman named Molly Williams of New York. It has been rumored that she wore a calico dress and checkered apron as she confronted numerous fires alongside her male counterparts. Centuries later, Fire Departments all over the country have become inclusive of all races and gender. Lisa Forrest was inducted as the first PFD African American Woman Fire Captain and would be the third woman fire fighter captain of the City of Philadelphia.  
In the West Philadelphia Quiana Cureton- Williams has broken barriers and made history as well. She is the first African American and Female Firefighter of Engine 68. “I have always wanted to accomplish goals that were nontraditional for women.” Williams explains. She is a mother, wife and Firefighter. “I have been working for the department for the last 7 years, being a woman has its challenges, but I love my job.” A day for Williams starts off with an inspection of the vehicles and her equipment. “We are also responsible for the house cleaning and food preparation.” “We stay at the firehouse in shifts, which allows us to spend time with our families.” “The firehouse itself can be considered a second home and the engine members are a part of my extended family.” It has to be that way for we rely so heavily on each other when fighting fires.” Williams recalls one of her most memorable Fire Fights was on 52nd and Lancaster Avenue at an elementary school. The crew had pulled out and she was the last one remaining in the building.  “I was alarmed but the Department trains us to remain professional and think quickly in those types of situations.” Williams reflects. “As an example to my community members with proper training and hard work you can do anything you put your mind to.”

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

On Course With LaRue Temple-113th U.S. OPEN

 By Karimu Hamilton

There was a tinge of excitement everywhere in Ardmore P.a. The Norristown High-Speed Line was jammed pack with middle aged men and some women in khaki shorts, skirts or pants, white visors and a rainbow assortment of polo shirts. Business boomed for residents and local businesses of the region alike.  The 113th U.S. Open was held in the suburban region of Pennsylvania on the Main Line and every one was excited. “Oh I can’t really explain it…” Dale Venable of Dales Beauty Salon Reflects; “but there was a sense of excitement in the air, it would have been even better if Tiger Woods had won.” She giggled. “My daughter”, another main liner beams as she walks up Lancaster avenue actually secured a Job at the U.S. Open for the week, she sold concessions and  this was a perfect way for her to start her summer.’ These are the type of stories that are being told; generously sprinkled throughout the Main Line regarding the past U.S. Open Event in Lower Merion, Ardmore, Pa last week. The local story however that has had a lasting impact is of Temple Larue, a young gentle man, a North Philadelphia residents who works at The Merion golf course;  was solicited to  be the caddy for golfer Michael Kim at the U.S. Open. “The Caddy has knowledge of the course; he assists the golfer around the details of wind factors, club and shot selection, distance and textures.” “The caddy is sort of like an assistant or guide to the golfer.” Larue explains. Growing up Larue was a huge fan of baseball. His mother would take him to the games during the season and he would always stay after the game to get autographs of his favorite players. “There is a click of the same people that always hang around after the game to get autographs of players and that’s when I met a woman named Lisa Jinn who recommended me to work at the Merion Golf Club.” Larue has been working at The Merion Golf for 16 years. “It has been a great journey working at The Merion, you have to have discipline, be able to withstand the heat and carry heavy golf bags.” “It was an amazing experience to work with Michael Kim.” He was a great player, actually a stellar player and very easy to work with.”” We had a lot of fun on the course we were working but we were also cracking jokes.” Larue is a big fan of Tiger Woods. “Well Merion is tough and Tiger he wasn’t prepared, I think that a lot of players undermined The Merion and were just not able to gain harmony with the course.” Larue reflects. Larue is definitely a gentleman, he has an excellent work ethic, he also works as and has a passion D.J ing, and he is a bartender. He does enjoy playing golf for leisure and believes that working at The Merion Golf course is a good place for him to be, he is surrounded by successful entrepreneurs and businessman and being in that environment has place him on course.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


the best food i ve had in a long time
mamma k live food specialist

Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble\
 Kwanzaa was established during a time period when African Americans were involved in a cultural evolution. Prior to this movement which would have begun in the early 1960’s visible African American culture had been limited to the experience of slavery and poverty. Founders of this cultural evolution had become very concerned with the negative impact that these facets of American culture would have on their children and their communities. Thus, collectively and independently a nationwide movement had been born and it cross referenced all components of culture. Kwanzaa, Jambo Means Hello, The National Black Theatre, Central Harlem Montessori Project, Afro centricity and Odunde are all examples of what the cultural evolution produced. Children were given traditional West African Names, Independent African American schools were founded and rites of passages were structured. It was an extremely successful strategy. The mission of this movement was to provide the African American community with literature, art, spirituality that goes beyond the history of slavery and explores the importance of Africa and the accomplishments of African American achievers in this country before, during and after being enslaved. Africa was no longer presented as a dark and unwanted place but a Continent that was rich in heritage, culture and resources.  This year I attended an awesome Kwanzaa celebration held at the Imhotep Institute, a charter    school in Germantown, Pa. founded by Christine Wiggins. The event was very well attended, there were a plethora of artisans whom sold thier crafts from crochet hats, homemade soaps, and self-published books and healing herbal concoctions. The cafeteria was adorned with delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes, finger foods and nutritious drinks. One vegan food vendor Mamma K an elder in the living food lifestyle says; “my introduction or education in diet and nutrition began over 40 years ago with the Nation of Islam and the guide book Eat to Live, by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.”  “I have since evolved my practice to natural food living and host occasional vegan food prep workshops and a Friday vegan cafĂ© at my home in Willow Grove, Pa. Another outstanding vendor that embraced the spirit of this Kwanzaa celebration was Carolyn Griggs a Hospital Administrator who custom makes pens out of clay. Her creative company Posh Penique began with” a dream”, she explained. She followed through and it translated into very interesting characture pens that resemble African masks and everyday people. The auditorium was filled with drumming and dances by the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble. Robert Dickerson, founder of Unity Community Center and The Universal Dance and Drum Ensemble was actually the Host of this event. “We have been performing for Dr.Karenga for 14 years now, “Dickerson reflects.” He actually hires our performance arts company to present before he lectures and it is an honor.”  “ This was a historic event and it is important that we engage the youth and the entire community in hearing and meeting an African American scholar and visionary.” Dickerson continues. Dr. Maulana Karenga Kwanzaa founder and developer, was the last to speak and he stood at the podium as a very powerful figure. The audience was alert, at the edge of thier seats and hung off of his every word , some shouted yes and others swayed back and forth as he spoke.” Kwanzaa should be a way of life, a daily celebration of who we are as a people.” “We must remain connected to our African roots and embrace our entire heritage.” Dr. Karenga emphasized.  In practicing values and systems that mirror greatness we will reflect that greatness in our lives and in our communities is at the core of Dr. Karenga’s message this evening. Kuumbaa which means creativity is the 6th principal that was being commemorated. This event in its entirety reflected all of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, an effective collaboration of committed individuals, die –hards to preserving, empowering African American Youth, Families and Communities. Developers of tools to assist in sustain a holistic African American Culture. 

Friday, December 14, 2012


i love the african aesthetic and i totally adore this movement of afro-fusion design that is poping up all over the runway and even in shoe stores. I was on my way to work and I ran into this really cool lady who had this awesome book bag and i was inspired to take a picture and find out where did she get that bag...?karimu abena hamilton

her name is ms. royale randolph( i think) and she brought her bag in ghana. she is a dance major and learned all of these interesting forms of dance and movement and she took history lessons there and remembers specifically a lesson on ghanain medicine....interesting.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

West Philadelphia High School A Safe Haven For Hurricane Sandy Evacuees

red cross volunteers smile as they pass out oranges

helen mae reisner & norma edwards volunteer nurses

A hurricane can be defined as a tropical cyclone, a storm with winds that blow at a minimum of 74 miles per hour. Along with strong winds a hurricane can be accompanied with heavy rain, thunder and lightning. Hurricane Sandy made her presence felt late Sunday afternoon with temperatures dropping, sporadic gusts of wind and heavy rain. Mayor Nutter, through a press conference, urged “to all residents if you live in a low line area, if you live in a flood prone area you need to relocate right now.” To assist evacuees that do not have anywhere to go, The City of Philadelphia has provided emergency shelter to its residents at West Philadelphia High School, Roxborough High School and Samuel Fels High School. Mayor Nutter explains those site were picked for a reason, “they are large, they are relatively new and they are able to accommodate a large number of people as well as pets,”  At West Philadelphia High School, the emergency response team appeared prepared and ready to serve Philadelphian evacuees. There are Red Cross workers, Police Officers, Civic Volunteers walking quietly through the hallways. ” My apartment is on the Mill Creek and last year my whole apartment was flooded and I was unwilling to learn that lesson again.” I am disabled , I came here so that me and my grandchildren would be safe.” “Once Mayor Nutter had said The New West building, I was out,” Ms. Iceland of the Lucien Blackwell Apartments  explained. ” I am glad that I came and I feel safe,” she continued. The Gymnasium was quiet with neatly lined cots covered in Red Cross blankets. “I am homeowner,” Mrs. Jenell  Anderson of South West Philadelphia explains . “I am scared to death of trees falling on my house. ” “The roof is not stable and it may collapse.” “ I rushed so fast to West Philadelphia High School that I brought my school books but forgot my clothing and personal items.” The Red Cross has been great they gave me a sweat suit and a bag of toiletries,” Anderson revealed. There is an intergenerational group of volunteers in the building that range from  seniors to college students .  Helen Mae Reisner a nurse administrator for the United States Postal Service and a volunteer nurse for this Hurricane Relief effort  explains,” I have been doing this for a long time I am here to serve and offer comfort to the evacuees. “ Alongside Helen is Norma Edwards a 21 year nurse veteran for the City of Philadelphia . “I worked for the city for 21 years at health center #4.” “This is what we do, we are involved in many civic operatives regarding nursing.” “We are with the medical reserves, first responders and today volunteers for the relief effort implemented here at West Philadelphia High School,” Edwards explained.  If you are a pet owner, there is also a section in the school for pets. At that time the shelter contained 5 cats.  Janet from the Philadelphia County Animal Rescue Team PCART explains , ” After Katrina people were unwilling to leave their animals and so the Red Cross concluded that shelters should be set up for residents  and their pets.” In the cafeteria Red Cross workers are anxiously passing out sandwiches and fresh fruit. The area is quiet and there is a sense of contentment. People are playing cards, game boards , children’s feet are kicking under the table gently as they wait in anticipation for their mothers to peel their oranges. It still is the beginning and the storm has yet to arrive but amidst this potential crisis The City of Philadelphia  is prepared with what feels like a safe haven for its South West and West Philadelphian Residents. Karimu Abena Hamilton                                                                             

ms. iceland of lucien blackwell apartments