Black Clergy Join Forces to Host Justice Symposium for African-Americans in Philadelphia

Reverend Terrance Griffith of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity with Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. — PHOTOGRAPH BY TRIBUNE CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER ABDUL SULAYMAN
Reverend Terrance Griffith of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity with Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. — PHOTOGRAPH BY TRIBUNE CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER ABDUL SULAYMAN

Reverend Terrance Griffith of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity said there are too many disparities between Black Americans and other races, and it is long past time to do something about it.

Griffin outlined the three main areas in which the most disparities exists — issues that will be the main topics during a justice symposium hosted by the group next week.

“We’re going to focus on three areas where we have the greatest degree of disparity: criminal justice, economics and education,” Griffith said. “We’re talking about justice in economics, in education and criminal justice.”

The gathering will be held on Tuesday at the Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ, located on the corner of Stenton and Ogontz avenues. The symposium is free and open to the public and will last from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Door will open at 8:30 a.m. The keynote speaker will be Missouri Sen. Maria Chapelle-Nadel who will be discussing the recent social unrest in Ferguson. Other speakers and panelists will include local nationally known educator Larry Spruill and economist Claud Anderson. Former Philadelphia mayor John Street will be speaking on the issues of criminal justice and prosecution.

“For example, why is it that African American-owned businesses don’t receive even ten percent of city and school district contracts? African Americans are not achieving parity with other ethnicities across the nation. Look at the Asians and Dominicans, where do they set up shop and who patronizes them? We do. Something has to be done about that. Our people are at the bottom economically and when it comes to educating our children.”

Griffith is the pastor of First African Baptist Church, which at 203 years old is the oldest African American Baptist church in Pennsylvania. He is a former senator of the Grenada Parliament, has authored eight published books and is the president of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity. In January he was installed for his third term as president of the organization. He said he expects quite a turnout for the symposium Tuesday.

“When I consider the huge numbers of Black men in prison and the current budget crisis facing the city’s public schools I become deeply disturbed,” he said. “Why is it that the children in school districts outside the city perform better? Our city schools have outdated computers, a lack of textbooks, and teachers are even going out of their own pockets to furnish basic school supplies. It’s a mess.

“It almost seems that some people are trying to prevent African-American children from getting an education.”

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SOURCE: The Philadelphia Tribune – Larry Miller

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