PCHR trainings: Bringing messages and meaning to diverse audiences

Team PCHR was busy in the streets this week, deciphering laws and their practical impact for a range of audiences across the city.

On Tuesday, a partnership with the Nationalities Service Center helped boost the level of expertise for those assisting newly arrived citizens when it comes to areas such as countering discrimination in housing and employment.

Deputy Director Pamela Gwaltney leans into the point made by Executive Director Rue Landau during a recent training at the Nationalities Services Center.

Deputy Director Pamela Gwaltney (l.) leans into the point made by Executive Director Rue Landau (r.) during a recent training at the Nationalities Services Center.

Executive Director Rue Landau and Deputy Director Pamela Gwaltney tag-teamed as they explained the city’s fair housing laws and provided an overview of the Fair Practices Ordinance. Assembled were dozens of people who work with migrants and recent immigrants, representing the NSC as well as the Migrant Education Program and a representative of City Council Majority Leader Curtis Jones Jr.’s office.

With Philadelphia’s shifting demographics, it’s essential those helping people settle and integrate into day-to-day life are fully aware of what behaviors are accepted as well as what things are prohibited — such as discriminating or retaliating against pregnant or nursing mothers. It was a day of information exchange that included fielding questions and providing insights.

“The people who came to this training work with some of our most vulnerable residents, and it is so important that they are clear on the rules so they can share that information,” Landau said. “It was a great opportunity and it is totally what we love doing — getting out there and helping people understand how to protect themselves.”

PCHR's Naarah Crawley reviews the city's

PCHR’s Naarah Crawley reviews the city’s
“Ban the Box” law with a participant at the 2nd Annual Hispanic Job Fair at Esperanza College, sponsored by La Mega 1310.

Meanwhile, yesterday, Naarah Crawley and Monica Gonzalez strengthened understanding of the city’s “Ban the Box” law for dozens of people on the hunt for work during the 2nd Annual Hispanic Job Fair at Esperanza College, sponsored by La Mega 1310.

Private sector employers and the city set up tables with employment opportunities, while PCHR reps spoke about overcoming perceived barriers to claiming those opportunities.

City Managing Director Rich Negrin spoke about the power of education, opportunity and the rewarding nature of public service during the 2nd Annual Hispanic Job Fair at Esperanza College, sponsored by La Mega radio.

City Managing Director Rich Negrin spoke about the power of education, opportunity and the rewarding nature of public service during the 2nd Annual Hispanic Job Fair at Esperanza College, sponsored by La Mega radio.

Men and women of all ages and interests stopped by the table to learn how a criminal background doesn’t have to impede future employment. Under the law, employers are not allowed to ask about criminal histories in the initial phases of the interview process — not on a job application or during the first interview, whether in person or on the phone. Likewise, past brushes with the law cannot prevent someone from receiving a merited promotion or raise.

“So many people lose out simply because they don’t realize these protections exist,” Gonzalez said. “Yes. They made mistakes. But they paid for them. And their punishment isn’t supposed to be forever, especially when they’re trying to do the right thing moving forward.”

Team PCHR reads for a cause

On Friday, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce sponsored its 10th annual Read to Me initiative, flooding nearly 120 classrooms at some two dozen Philadelphia public schools with volunteer readers.

PCHR — represented by Commissioner Sarah Ricks, Rue Landau, executive director, Nia Ngina Meeks, director of communications and Naarah Crawley, executive assistant — joined the army of the willing, armed with a copy of Rocket Writes a Story, by Tad Hills. The event drew area CEOs and civic activists, along with Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. and members of his team.

Read to Me

Commissioner Sarah E. Ricks, Esq., and her class at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School

Read to Me

Rocket Writes a Story was the 2014 “Read to Me” selection, shared with early learners by Team PCHR

After a morning mixer at the School District of Philadelphia headquarters that offered the volunteers coffee and a firm reminder from GPCC President and CEO Rob Wonderling to “bring out your best bark,” Team PCHR boarded vans and departed for their designated schools, where eager 5- and 6-year-olds awaited.

And they indeed brought their best set of storytelling skills throughout the morning.

Read to Me and Team PCHR

GPCC President Rob Wonderling and Team PCHR: Naarah Crawley, Commissioner Sarah Ricks and Executive Director Rue Landau prep to read to kiddies across the city.

“I had so much fun,” Ricks said. “What a wonderful way to start the day, and the weekend. And the kids were so excited. It was wonderful to have PCHR involved in this effort.”

PCHR reads at McMichael

PCHR’s Naarah Crawley celebrates reading with students at McMichael Elementary School.