Happy Tuesday, everyone! In case you haven't heard already, Parkway Central is planning a sure-to-be-amazing Living Library event for Wednesday, June 20. In anticipation of this exciting evening, we'll be introducing some of the human "books" that will be available to be "checked out" right here on the Free Library's blog! Today, we'd like to introduce two of Philadelphia's activist movers-and-shakers: Chris Bolden-Newsome and Tobey Gordon Dichter.
Describing himself and his lifelong dedication to food justice, Chris writes: "I grew up in an active social justice household, the oldest son of small scale organic farmers and food sovereignty organizers Demalda Bolden-Newsome and Rufus Newsome, Sr. The Bolden-Newsome family comes from the Mississippi Delta though my parents currently farm in North Tulsa, Oklahoma. I have been involved in community organizing and education since the age of 13, first as a teacher’s assistant in ESL programming in and later through his involvement in issues of immigrants’ rights, all in the southwest. I worked for five years in HIV Prevention and Public Health education as an outreach educator in low wealth and difficult -to- access communities of color in Dallas, Texas and later in Washington, DC with city and community based agencies. Always fascinated by growing food, I got involved in food justice initially in Washington, DC by starting backyard gardens while studying anthropology at Howard University beginning in 2001. Over the years, I have worked in Tulsa, Oklahoma with my family's farm, neighborhood, and tribal entities to increase access and food awareness in the low wealth communities of color in the Tulsa area. In late 2008, I moved to Philadelphia where I directed the Seeds for Learning Farm program for students at Martin Luther King High School. Currently I advocate for community sovereignty as the Farmer Educator for the Urban Nutrition Initiative,the youth Food Justice Farm program of the University of Pennsylvania at Bartram's Gardens."
Tobey Gordon Dichter began working in media and communications at Glaxo SmithKline Beecham Healthcare Services, where she eventually became Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs. She founded the national SmithKline Beecham Drug Testing Index used by industry, media, and government and has received several awards for her work in communications, including a regional Emmy, the Gold Quill from the International Association of Business Communicators, and the Sarah Award from Women in Communications. She began a personal study of the digital divide and its impact on the nation's senior population in 1996 and by 1999 recognized that the Internet could be a fantastic place for multigenerational communications or a means by which seniors could become further marginalized from the increasingly fast-moving society surrounding them. To combat Internet illiteracy within this population, Ms. Dichter launched Generations On Line in 1999 with the stated goal of "enhancing communication among generations by promoting Internet access and literacy to elders" by "foster[ing] and promot[ing] Internet literacy, access and skills to the elderly; overcom[ing] older persons' fear and reluctance of new, electronic media; and stimulat[ing] and encourag[ing] communication and exchange of ideas among generations." She also serves as the Chair of the Free Library Foundation's Board of Directors and is a longtime advocate for the Library and the services it provides to Philadelphians of all ages.
Intrigued by these stories? Come to Parkway Central's Living Library on Wednesday, June 20, and ask Chris and Tobey about their lives yourself!