Social Justice

Pen and Pencil Club Philadelphia News Awards: “The best journalism that this city has to offer”

I’m starting this week very happy to find myself listed among some of my favorite people, nominated for the inaugural 2013 Pen and Pencil Club Philadelphia News Awards, celebrating and recognizing “the best journalism that this city has to offer.”

Unabashed endorsements: I respect and admire a lot of my colleagues on the list, but I especially hope you will take a minute to vote for:

  • Kathy Matheson: Breaking News nominee from AP — and love of my life, and..
  • Joe Kaczmarek: Multimedia nominee — and my co-founding partner at the Gun Crisis Reporting Project.

Vote early and often. It’s Philadlephia after all:

Pen & Pencil Club: Awards

The Pen & Pencil Club is the oldest continuously operating press club in America, and the second oldest in the world.

Where’s the memorial? Philadelphia shooting deaths since 9/11 now exceed toll of the terrorist attacks

I posted this one year ago today ay

World Trade Center, 2001. Photograph by Jim MacMillan

By most counts, 2977 lives were lost to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, excluding the 19 hijackers.

In response, the United States created a cabinet-level Homeland Security Department and occupied two nations, in one case leading to the longest war in U.S. history.

Since 9/11, more than 3000 people have been shot to death in the city of Philadelphia alone.

The latest victim was a 24-year-old man who was shot to death in the Northwood section of Philadelphia just before midnight Monday night. Photo by Joseph Kaczmarek.

According to Philadelphia Police statistics published by, 2865 people were shot to death in the city between October 1st, 2001 and the end of 2011. The Philadelphia Police web site now shows that 252 people have been killed so far this year.

More than a million people have been killed with guns in the United States since 1968, but there is no sign of a nationwide movement to stop the shooting. Please join in our search for solutions. Seeking solutions to the epidemic of homicide by gunfire in Philadelphia

It shouldn’t be this easy to find a shooting scene.

But on the average, at least one person has been murdered in Philadelphia every day over the last 25 years — and more than three-quarters of them have been killed with a gun.

Last week, local photojournalist Joe Kaczmarek took us to this scene just after a man had just been shot multiple times — but there has been no other reporting on any of the crime scenes he showed us that night. is a new open source journalism project intended to fill in the gaps.

We will strive to avoid polarizing debates but contend that there is an epidemic of homicide by gunfire in Philadelphia and similar cities.

We will study the landscape and the roots of the crisis, seek the individuals and organizations working to disrupt and intervene, and expand the community of citizens who refuse to rest until we make a difference.

Join us at

Philly Midnight Motorcycle Run for Peace

The Midnight Motorcycle Run for Peace kicked off from Philadelphia City Hall late friday night.

According to their Facebook page, the Midnight Run for Peace Committee is an organization of dedicated motorcycle enthusiasts — committed to stopping violence by riding through high crime locations throughout the city — as well as promoting motorcycle safety.

So far this year, Philadelphia has suffered 61 homicides, nine fewer than 2011′s year-to-date total but 17 more than in 2010.

#OccupyPhilly Monday: still standing past eviction deadline

I checked in on #OccupyPhilly this morning and found it smaller yet still present after yesterday’s eviction deadline. I counted roughly 40 active demonstrators, possibly a similar number of other residents, and slightly more police and old media than usual, but there wasn’t much going on. The veterans section appeared unchanged.

#OccupyingAutumn in Philadelphia

Here’s a peek at the morning rush through #OccupyPhilly on this crisp autumn Monday. After finally visiting #OccupyWallStreet this weekend, I have to say that in proportion to the local population, this encampment at Philadelphia City Hall – of which only part is pictured here – is enormously more impressive.