News and information changed quickly in 2020. And the Info Hub Radio Hour worked to keep up. Here are our ten most-read stories during the pandemic.
10. Parker takes seat this week with plans for Germantown
For the first time in more than two decades, voters in the 198th District elected a new state representative. Darisha Parker officially replaced Rep. Rosetta C. Youngblood on December 1, 2020 and joined us on the Info Hub Radio Hour. Parker discussed her plans and priorities, including working with community partners to get critical information and resources to vulnerable populations during COVID 19.
MyLisa Flowers-Shipanga and her family have created a year round gardening ecosystem and now teaches others to do the same via facebook. She designed her curriculum after parents at the Mt. Airy Homeschool Co-op asked her to put together gardening classes. Flowers-Shipanga shared advice and answered callers’ gardening questions on the Info Hub Radio Hour.
Gentrification and development without displacement have been topics of concern and discussion in Germantown for years. Several neighborhood organizations joined forces under a new non-profit, Germantown Community Alliance, in Jan. 2020. Their mission is to foster transparent communication between developers and neighbors, and to hold developers accountable on issues including affordable housing, advancement of economic opportunities for low-income communities. The non-profit status is also critical in order to draft a Community Benefits Agreement with developers.
Mentorship and models for supportive learning environments have been a consistent theme in Germantown stories this year. Baltimore Collegiate School, in Maryland, a charter school dedicated to advancing educational achievement for Black and brown boys, is planning to open a new institution in Germantown. Several organizations in Germantown advocated for the school, which was founded to address the low Black male graduation rate and lack of college-readiness, to consider a Northwest Philadelphia location.
Clarice Thomas and Barbara Kigozi are the neighbors behind the famous voter information cart. The local voting rights advocates from the 59th Ward pounded the pavement to ensure that Germantown residents had the most up-to-date information and forms to prepare for the 2020 general election. They talked about their grassroots approach on the Info Hub Radio Hour and participated in a live Q+A on voter rights, combatting voter suppression and misinformation, and election resources in September 2020.
Farmer Jawn Community Greenhouses owner Christa Barfield shares her dreams to provide affordable organic produce to Germantown families. Barfield and one of her farmers, Briana Mills-Walker talked about lack of access to food (and organic produce) for Black and brown communities, and what organic farming meant to them, as Black women, on the Info Hub Radio Hour.
As we all settled into the new normal of working from home, parents sought ways to foster helpful learning environments. Urban Youth Kings and Queens and Men Who Care are just two organizations that opened virtual learning centers to help children stay in the habit of leaving home for school, and returning. The organizations also provide mentorship and tutoring. UYKQ’s Haneef Hill, Men Who Care’s Clayton Justice, and Sophisticated Leaders’ Justina Ray spoke about parenting and their approaches to satellite learning centers in Germantown on the Info Hub Radio Hour.
After SEPTA indefinitely suspended the Chestnut Hill West line at the beginning of the pandemic, ridership shifted to the 23 bus. SEPTA announced plans to restore the line in September, though no reopening date has been set. Riders and advocates like the The Philly Transit Riders Union expressed concerns about delays and overcrowding.
One of the most replenishing mutual aid projects in Germantown was started by fourth-grade teacher Jane Ellis. The Germantown Community Fridge, hosted by Greene Street Friends, provides free, fresh food. In addition to donations, community members have offered free labor, food, and services to support the growth and maintenance of the fridge.
1. Your latest Germantown entrepreneur is an 11-year-oldIn a year of devastating business closures and unemployment, people gravitated towards Jabre Dutton’s viral business venture, Jabre’s Car Cleaning Service. Since starting his business, the 11-year old entrepreneur has gone on to primetime with Mario Lopez on Access Hollywood. Jabre and his mother Sabrina Dutton talked about a surprising year with Info Hub Community Organizer Maleka Fruean on the Info Hub Radio Hour.