Despite some rain in the forecast, today should feel like a dream with temperatures expected in the 70s.
Today we examine how racism may play a role in efforts to distance an alternative school from a suburban town in South Jersey. 🔒
And also, this war story as told by a couple of Ukrainian women who escaped safely and are among the first to find refuge here in Philly.
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By all accounts, Kevin Dixon believed he was doing the right thing. 👆🏽
Dixon, a South Jersey real estate developer, decided to convert one of his properties in Galway into an alternative school for troubled students, but has since faced opposition from neighbors. Now, a lawsuit against racial discrimination against the town has landed in federal court.
🎒 Background story: Dixon, a longtime resident and town engineer, found himself in conflict with Galway officials after deciding in September 2020 to rent a building to Camelot Educational Resources, a Texas company that planned to enroll about 90 students, mostly blacks and Latinos from Atlantic City. And Pleasantville under a $ 2.3 million contract with the Atlantic City School District to create the Sea Shore Learning Academy.
🎒 Work has already begun: After obtaining building permits, Dixon donated $ 1.7 million to renovate the 17,160-square-foot building, creating 10 classrooms, an all-purpose room, a nursing office and an administrative office, prior to the school’s original opening in January, under six classrooms. Per year, $ 350,000 annual lease.
🎒 He said this: “I was very proud to bring this school to the community,” Dixon said. “I knew it was the right organization, the right thing to do.”
🎒 The problem: Residents of the white town mostly rejected the idea, treating students as “dangerous,” and one resident during a council meeting on Nov. 9 saw it as “garbage entering my city.” According to court documents, then-Mayor James Gorman referred to potential students as “the worst of the worst.”
🎒 How did it get to the federal court? U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler ruled in January that the actions of town officials were discriminatory, saying many of the students were widely documented to come from Atlantic City, where the population is mostly colored. The school.
Our reporter Melanie Bernie has more, including a look at what is happening near students in town, divided. 🔒
To better understand the magnitude of the growing war in Ukraine it is to look into the eyes of two shocked and exhausted Ukrainian women who arrived at Philly on Tuesday night late and woke up on Wednesday morning, safe but devoid of a world full of the unknown.
Veronica Matibeinko, 52, and her co-worker, Ella Puktska, left their homes in Kiev when bombs shelled the capital of Ukraine. From there the duo made their way west to Lvov before crossing into Poland, where they spent several nights at McDonald’s, with little money to pay for rooms elsewhere.
They are now here in Philly, inside the parsonage of St. Nicholas’ Orthodox Church in North Liberties. And although they hope to return home to family and friends, they know it may be a long time before this day comes.
“It was a real war,” Pochtska said. “It’s a constant understanding that you’re not protected, that you can not sleep, that you constantly have to run.”
Our reporter Jeff Gamage met with both of them to tell a story of survival and power in the face of severe uncertainty.
Former Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins announced yesterday that he is retiring from the NFL. Jenkins, a two-time Super Bowl champion, has also been a massive supporter of social justice reform. Today’s question: How many of Jenkins’ 13 seasons in the league have been spent at Philly? Guess and find the answer here.
🥖 sharing: Some early results from some Philadelphia residents are known for who they think prepares the best hoagie in town. Want to consider? You still have time to vote to love you.
🧹 remember: This street sweeping the city will be renewed next week amid a massive effort to increase the number of neighborhoods starting in May.
🗑️ reading: How surprisingly the problem of Philly’s illegal dumping has gotten out of hand.
The oldest pint in Philly. 🍺
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