Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Message about the League and Their Meeting Space From 2008.....

Letter # 9

Friday, June 13, 2008 Updated: August 5, 2008


Brother Tracy Gibson Mr. Larry Williams

214 Southwyk Road

New Castle, Del 19720 Philadelphia, PA

TO: The Honickman Learning Center

1936 North Judson Street

Philadelphia, PA 19121-2029


TO: Project H.O.M.E.

1515 Fairmount Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19130

Staffers Including:

Amanda S. Arnoff

Michelle Byrnee

Nicole Drake

Dan Flamini

Jeannie Lopez


Funded By:

The Pepsi Cola Company,

Chairman & CEO

Indra K. Noovi

Corporate Headquarters

700 Anderson Hill Road

Purchase, New York 10577-1444 An Open Letter

Ms. Cynthia Ferguson,

Honickman Center Director

Dear Ms. Ferguson & Other Center, Project H.O.M.E. Managers, Associates, Supporters & Other Concerned Citizens—as well as Media:

For Immediate Release:

RE: We Demand Meeting Space For The League!!!

We write this letter, not as community activists nor as community organizers, but as voting African American citizens. Although I am (Brother Tracy) a resident of New Castle, Delaware now, my roots remain in the Philadelphia area and always will. (My elderly Father still lives in West Philadelphia). The other writer of this letter, (Mr. Williams) is a long-time supporter of the League and a resident of West Oak Lane Philadelphia, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with honors in Math in 1973 ... We both often attend League meetings. As such, we would like to express our outrage at the treatment of the African American Freedom & Reconstruction League by your staff, management, your ownership and contributors at the Honickman Learning Center on Judson Street and it’s parent Non-profit, Project H.O.M.E… The Honickman Center should be a bright tech star for the community, but not without the full participation of key community members, leaders, noted elders and organizations such as Brother Rob Gray and the African American Freedom & Reconstruction League (AAFRL). There are allegations that the leadership of the AAFRL is ``homophobic’’ along with other allegations. There are and always have been divergent views within the Black community and a variety of different kinds and types of people within our race. Our feeling, as Same Gender Loving persons ourselves (So-Called Gay people), is that you don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. The views of AAFRL leadership may be pro-family (and this is a good thing because we are ONE diverse family of Black people), but we have always found ourselves welcomed and treated graciously by the League, both League leaders & League membership. People may have different views from the leadership of the League, but at League meetings, members are always given the opportunity to go up to the mike &, unfettered, allowed to speak their mind on any issue they want to. Isn’t this how our system of democracy is suppose to work? For this reason, we don’t understand why support of the League by the Honickman Center was pulled back. If it is true that the League is now not allowed to meet at the Honickman Center on a regular basis, the center may as well pick up and move back down to the University of Pennsylvania because you are no longer reflecting the desires, concerns and wishes of the Black community in North Philadelphia or the rest of the city for that matter. Nor are you allowing the important progressive political & social change views & vision of this vital organization to be heard and organized around there in North Philadelphia—a key location for any grass roots Black oriented organization to organize in!! This move blocks real progress for the Black community. Black people are suffering (especially in North Philadelphia) from real systematic economic persecution across America. No jobs; No access to education; too much homelessness; to much hopelessness; and a real and persistent lack of opportunity. League Leader, Mr. Rob Gray, his wife Silvia and others involved with the League, helped fight for better education for our Black youth; more African and African American History in the educational process; and greater economic inclusion for our working men and women in Philadelphia—including SEPTA workers and through the so-called Board of Education…. (Which we feel does more to mis-educate our children that educate them—just read Carter Woodson—The Mis-education of the Negro and go from there). But The League does much more than that. The League actually provides spiritual & cultural enrichment through guest speakers such as author –activist Sister Shahrzad Ali; Dr. Tony Monterro of Temple University; Dr. Cleora Levettere, Director of Human Services in Philadelphia; Dr. Daud Malik Watts, adjunct Professor at Temple University; Dr. Ella Forbs, retired professor from Temple’s Black History Department; Members of the youth group The Bright Lights and their teacher Ann; Dr. Greg Carr, Howard University Professor of Black History and many others. Also: slide shows, readings, films and other cultural and educational events at the Honickman Center were offered by the League. The loss of the League as regular guests at the Honickman Center is an outrage, a slap in the face of the Black community, and a real loss to the surrounding Black community and for Blacks throughout Philadelphia and the supporting area. I (Brother Tracy) would often come all the way from Delaware to attend League meetings. The Center should be supporting the wonderful people and events that were being featured by the League there, not trying to curtail such constructive, positive and educationally enriching programs, events and people… We demand, as voting U.S. Citizens, the inclusion of The League at your Center, if that is what they wish and an apology to Mr. Gray and the entire League Membership and League leaders and especially elders—which includes Same Gender Loving people, disabled people, Muslims & Christians, elderly, children, veterans, Whites, straight people and people from within the Black community from other backgrounds such as the unemployed, former offenders and former drug dependent individuals as well as the educated, women, successful business people and even pastors of churches including the Reverend Joe Williams and members of the Black Israelites. The league represents a cross section of people within the Black community and their supporters and we hope you will find ways to interact with them in a less abrasive more unity-driven and positive way in the future. Please send a response to this letter as soon as you can along with the full details of the original allegations and how they were acted upon by your leadership, managers & financial supporters. We are fighters and very concerned….


Brother Tracy Gibson,

President & CEO

Brother Tracy Gibson & Associates, Inc.


Mr. Larry Williams

Philadelphia, PA

(A Signed copy of this letter is forthcoming by regular mail to many concerned groups, individuals and media reps.)

CC: Congressman Chaka Fattah, The League, & Congressman Bob Brady…, Senator Barack Obama, Senator Bob Casey, Oprah Winfrey, and others…

Building Community Through Strength


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