The people who care for Philly’s gunshot victims

The people who care for Philly’s gunshot victims

On average, Kenneth Dupree of Dupree Funeral Home at 28th and Diamond streets sees one to two victims of gun violence a year. Bruce Talbert says Talbert Funeral Parlor at 22nd near Lehigh has received 10 so far. The services for the victims that both men preside over have all been young people, usually in their early 20s. Talbert says he’s not surprised when gunshot victims come through the door, but it doesn’t get any easier. “It’s not an everyday occurrence, but it’s not something that alarms us when it happens,” the Chester native said. “When I was growing up, you handled things with your hands. [Young people now] handle things with guns, so it’s not something that catches you off guard to get a call from a family that someone has passed from a shooting incident.” With anyone who has passed — but specifically with those of gun violence — the family conferences that follow with funeral directors can be highly emotional....
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Lost in the education system, two West Philly natives on what got them into — and out of — jail

Lost in the education system, two West Philly natives on what got them into — and out of — jail

Josh Glenn was first introduced to the world of drug dealing when he was 13. When he was working as a bagger at local grocery stores, someone from his West Philadelphia community approached him, asking if he would be interested in making “real money.” “There were no role models, no mentorship, we didn’t have anything in our community,” Glenn said. “The role models were people who were selling drugs, they would come up to me looking flashy, having good money and would try and get me to sell drugs.” Glenn was constantly approached and pressured to start dealing, eventually getting worn down. The police, Glenn said, would often target people in his community. In 2005, he was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon. He said that he didn’t commit the crime, but the police charged him based on a complaint, and he found himself in jail for the next 18 months. Glenn admitted that had a brief criminal drug history prior to...
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After prison, Faith Bartley wants to help other women get a second chance

After prison, Faith Bartley wants to help other women get a second chance

Faith Bartley wants a home to call her own. Not just a rented room, but somewhere that can take her away from the community that she’s known all her life. “I was born and raised in this community, so I know everybody. From the time that I was a child and up until now,” Bartley, now 53, said. “Right now, I reside in a room, because every time I go look for an apartment, they go into my criminal history. Even though my record has been expunged, there are still some drug felonies on my criminal history that can’t be removed, because I was convicted of it.” Bartley is a fixture in her neighborhood, doing what she can to help others. A the start of our conversation, she was even interrupted by someone asking if she had coffee. “No sir, ain’t no coffee, bro,” She said. “Brotha, close my door. I’m in an interview.” She doesn’t sugarcoat her past. Over the years, she’s spent...
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Looking forward to better days

Looking forward to better days

The last image that I saw of my dad, was when he was laying in his casket. He looked so peaceful and it was at that moment that I realized I would never hear from him again. Prior to that I had only seen him twice before, when he was being pushed into an ambulance with a bloody patch covering his forehead and when I had given him my last hug on Father’s Day 1999. It’s a story that I’ve told a few times and each time I tell it, it feels as if the terrible events happened just yesterday. It’s a common scene and an unfortunate story that is told too often while trying to live and thrive in the city of Philadelphia. The amount of gun violence that Philadelphians experience is nothing new, but the question that keeps coming up at each crime scene and each vigil is what will be done to address the ongoing problem? The situation is dire...
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Reflections Of A Temple Grad II

Reflections Of A Temple Grad II

I remember when walking across the stage on graduation day, just last May, and how uncertain I was about entering the “real world” with a bachelors in journalism. Would I be accepted in the field? Would I be able to obtain a job? What challenges would I be facing next? I never expected to obtain a job right out of college. It had already been explained to me and other graduates in my class over and over that obtaining a career in journalism would be somewhat slim and difficult. Most do not know that I am a barista at a café at the Free Library of Philadelphia, so I was never too worried about being unemployed out of college. People like their coffee, and I make a pretty mean cappuccino when given the chance. Still, there are times when I just want to leave the café and the smell of coffee behind for a career in my chosen field. Click here to read...
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When The Justice System Fails

When The Justice System Fails

For young black men in Philadelphia, sometimes just walking down the street is all it takes to earn a two-month stint in jail. On Dec. 8 2010, then-18-year-old Isaiah Smith was just returning from visiting his cousin, when he noticed two police officers who were patrolling the area peering out at him from their squad car. The two officers returned to riding through the neighborhood and Smith thought nothing of it. Not until he found himself against the squad car, and countless officers surrounding him. "When they grabbed me I had asked, why?" Smith said from his North Philadelphia home. "One of the arresting officers told me that I was being arrested for being an asshole." He was about to learn a valuable lesson about the strained trust between the police and residents in vulnerable neighborhoods. While he was held, Smith overheard the description of who the officers were looking for, a male with braids wearing a gray sweat suit. Smith had braids, but...
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