Glimpsing a diverse world via German eyes

As one of the oldest municipal civil rights agencies in the United States, PCHR often is a magnet for international visitors who also are in public service. Last Friday, a delegation from Germany joined a long list of scholars that have popped by the offices to get a better sense of how this agency works in balancing protection of the rights of all in such a diverse society.

The German visitors – whose positions range from university settings to halls of government – spent a couple of hours exchanging insights with PCHR staff and commissioners last Friday. It was a diverse assembly, indeed.

Turkish-born Muhterem Aras, one of the first elected officials in Germany of an immigrant background, is the first Muslim woman in the state parliament of Baden-Wurttemberg. Homaira Mansury, an Afghani immigrant, is a city council member in Wurzburg and an official in the German Social Democratic Party. Serkan Salman, born to Turkish parents, is a law enforcement official and dispute resolution expert from Berlin who also lectures on intercultural competency at the Berlin Academy of Public Administration. Sebastian Johna is a project manager and trainer at the renowned Goethe Institut, where educators and others from abroad study the German language, culture and heritage.

Having toured Washington, D.C., the visitors soaked up insights and experiences in Philadelphia before heading to New York.

“It’s always exhilarating to hear from people who are engaged in this same kind of work elsewhere, especially as they seek to learn from us and give us greater perspective on what is happening on the ground in their own countries, in ways that are far deeper than what we typically read or see in the news,” said PCHR Executive Director Rue Landau. “It was a great way to cap the week.”

Gaining a global perspective (back row, l-r) PCHR Commissioner Alfredo Calderon, Deputy Director Pamela Gwaltney, Homaira Mansury of Wurzburg, Germany, Deputy Director Randy Duque, Commissioners Rebecca T. Alpert, Wei Chen, Regina Austin and Marshall E. Freeman and Sebastian Johna of the Goethe Institut. (front row, l-r) PCHR Executive Director Rue Landau, Muhterem Aras of the German Green Party, and Serkan Salman, an officer in Berlin’s Central Office for the Prevention Landeskriminalamt.

Gaining a global perspective (back row, l-r) PCHR Commissioner Alfredo Calderon, Deputy Director Pamela Gwaltney, Homaira Mansury of Wurzburg, Germany, Deputy Director Randy Duque, Commissioners Rebecca T. Alpert, Wei Chen, Regina Austin and Marshall E. Freeman and Sebastian Johna of the Goethe Institut.
(front row, l-r) PCHR Executive Director Rue Landau, Muhterem Aras, German Green Party member of the Baden-Wurttemberg Parliament, and Serkan Salman, detective chief superintendent for the Office of Intercultural Issues, State Criminal Investigations Office in Berlin.

PCHR celebrates America, Philadelphia’s civil rights history

PCHR and the Farmer family joined Mayor Michael A. Nutter and dozens of dignitaries to celebrate and kick off the latest exhibit at the Philadelphia International Airport as part of the 2014 Wawa Welcome America! festivities.

Civil Rights in Philadelphia: 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 opened on July 2, the day President Lyndon B. Johnson signed this life-changing legislation.

PCHR, Farmer family celebrate civil rights

PCHR Commissioners Saadiq Garner, Alfredo Calderon and Chairman Thomas Earle, with PCHR Executive Director Rue Landau, Mayor Michael A. Nutter and members of Clarence Farmer Sr.’s family, including great-grandson Christopher Woodard Jr., granddaughter Helen Farmer , niece, the Hon. Carolyn Nichols, Christopher Woodard Sr., granddaughter Dr. Nicole Farmer Woodard, great-granddaughter Morgan Woodard, and Commissioner Marshall E. Freeman. Photo courtesy of Jim McWilliams Photography.

The exhibit pays homage to Philadelphia’s extensive and historic role in the struggle for civil and human rights, as well as highlights its continued legacy. From pushing for the rights of people of color and women to ensuring dignity and fair treatment for LGBT people, Philadelphia has been on the forefront since the nation’s founding,

PCHR celebrates Philly LGBT history

PCHR Commissioner Marshall Freeman, PCHR Executive Director Rue Landau, Philadelphia Gay News publisher and legendary LGBT advocate Mark Segal, PCHR Chair Thomas Earle and Commissioners Alfredo Calderon and Saadiq Garner celebrate the city’s LGBT history at the latest Philadelphia Airport photo exhibit, Civil Rights in Philadelphia: 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Members of the late Clarence Farmer Sr.’s family – niece, the Hon. Carolyn Nichols, granddaughter, Dr. Nicole Farmer Woodard, holding great-granddaughter, Morgan, and granddaughter, Helen Farmer, pose by his photo, one of those featured in Civil Rights in Philadelphia: 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 at the Philadelphia International Airport.

Members of the late Clarence Farmer Sr.’s family – niece, the Hon. Carolyn Nichols, granddaughter, Dr. Nicole Farmer Woodard, holding great-granddaughter, Morgan, and granddaughter, Helen Farmer, pose by his photo, one of those featured in Civil Rights in Philadelphia: 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 at the Philadelphia International Airport.

That story is documented in a series of archival and contemporary photographs in Terminal A in the airport. One of the featured shots is of iconic former PCHR Chair Clarence Farmer Sr., who died earlier this year.

His niece, the Hon. Carolyn H. Nichols, granddaughters, Dr. Nicole Farmer Woodard and Helen Farmer, and great-grandchildren, Chris Woodard Jr. and Morgan, helped commemorate his contributions to the continued effort of making Philadelphia a city welcome for all.

PCHR Commissioner Marshall Freeman, PCHR Executive Director Rue Landau, youth organizer Wei Chen, PCHR Chair Thomas Earle and Commissioners Alfredo Calderon and Saadiq Garner celebrate the city’s role in securing and maintaining rights for all. Chen was a student leader when Asian-American students protested bullying and brutality at the hands of their classmates at South Philadelphia High School in 2009.

PCHR Commissioner Marshall Freeman, PCHR Executive Director Rue Landau, youth organizer Wei Chen, PCHR Chair Thomas Earle and Commissioners Alfredo Calderon and Saadiq Garner celebrate the city’s role in securing and maintaining rights for all. Chen was a student leader when Asian-American students protested bullying and brutality at the hands of their classmates at South Philadelphia High School in 2009.

Others recognized for their contributions to advancing the work of civil and human rights include Mark Segal, longtime LGBT activist and publisher of the decorated Philadelphia Gay News; Wei Chen, a youth organizer who was instrumental in the South Philadelphia High School student response to bullying of Asian students; and Sister Mary Scullion and Joan Dawson McConnon, founders of Project HOME.

.