Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Youth Development Conference 2008

On December 11th, members of the Leaders Corps and V-Media attended and presented at the Youth Development Conference at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Youth from all over Philly, even Camden, came together to highlight their successes and projects, participate in workshops and become better leaders in their communities. The youth also had a chance to talk to Mayor Nutter about the budget crisis and how it is affecting them and their education.

Here are some bits of that conversation:

We learned that one of the libraries that's getting closed is the Fumo Family Library, and found out why this particular library is so important to its community.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Roxborough Town Hall Meeting Pt. 2

V-MEDIA's Kim Russell asks Mayor Nutter a question about the impact of the budget cuts on youth. See how he responds!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Is it up to the parents to engage their kids or should the city ensure that local resources for youth are available?

Roxborough Town Hall Meeting Pt. 1

Kim breaks down the signs explaining the city budget and approaches to cutting programs.

See what Roxborough citizens think about the cuts:

Citizens react to the town hall meeting:

What do YOU think? Have you been to a town hall meeting? Did you find the experience helpful or frustrating? Share your story.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

North East

Phew. V-Media had a long week traveling to each of the town hall meetings in the North East, Roxborough and at Ben Franklin High School. That's 6 for 6! We also presented two workshops at the United Way Youth Development Conference 2008 on "Youth, Media and Identity" and "Connecting through Spoken Word" and interviewed a lot of young people there about how the budget cuts are affecting them. We are in the process of editing and uploading all the great footage we got, so stay tuned for more entries. For this episode, Mosi Blaylock reports on the North East:

This was my second town hall meeting; my first was at the School of the Future. It was interesting how each of the town meetings were different from each other. For example, at the School of the Future, the crowd was more focused on the libraries and asking the mayor about how he made the decisions. The crowd at the School of the Future was also more diverse: people from the community, people from City Hall and people from other communities that were just concerned about the issues. At the North East meeting, the support was mostly coming from people from that local community and the majority of their questions were geared towards firehouses.

Here are two questions about libraries from the North East that we thought were interesting.

Will BookMobiles replace our libraries?

A teacher's view on libraries:

Again, check back soon for some really interesting interview footage.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Save Our Libraries Rally

This Saturday, December 6th, V-Media was at the Save Our Libraries Rally on 19th and Vine. Mayor Nutter announced that he'll be cutting 11 library branches out of 54, a decision that has upset a lot of people, groups and communities. Among the groups present were Friends of the Free Library, who are organizing petition drives and raising money to keep the libraries open. They were also suggesting that instead of closing some of the libraries, the whole system should share the cut, by closing on some days or reducing their hours.

Check out the video from the event! (We started editing our footage to make it more digestible - let us know what you think :)

Some of the reasoning behind choosing to close 11 library branches was looking at the branches that lend out the least books. But from all the interviews we did, and all the people we talked to, young people and community members use libraries more to access the internet, apply for jobs and find resources that are not available to them in their homes or already underfunded schools. Librarians serve as pathfinders and instructors, guiding library patrons to accurate sources and assisting them in using the software they need to get jobs and do their homework.

The other reason 11 library branches are getting cut is because apparently Philadelphia has more libraries per capita than many other cities, and the director Siobhan Reardon would like to make it a "smaller, stronger system". Sure, Philly may have "too many" libraries. But it also has one of the highest crime rates, drop-out rates, unemployment rates and one of the lowest literacy rates in the country. Maybe cutting libraries will make sense, when you fix our schools, community centers, after-school and violence prevention programs.

If that is not convincing, maybe the man who convinced the whole country last month will be. President-Elect Barack Obama says he got his community organizing job at the library. Philadelphia, are you sacrificing the future of potential president-elects?

Friday, December 5, 2008

School of the Future, West Philly

Reese interviewing Cynthia Young at the School of the Future.

Are we the people being listened to? Reese interviewing Tyrone.

Reese interviewing Amarah Nieem

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Feelin' The Cuts at Kensington

Here are the interviews for the Kensington budget cut meeting with a special intro from Aaron Kennedy:

Interview with Queena Bass, former candidate for mayor:

Interview with Fire commissioner Ayers:

Is there money that the city isn't tapping into? Interview with Joe Carlin:

Fishtown citizen fighting to keep Fishtown library open:

(this is the picture Natalia took when she accidentally walked into the shot. Oops!)

So tell us what do YOU think? Leave a comment or send us an e-mail at

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Another video from South Philly & our Flickr Set!

Last night V-Media was at the Town Hall meeting in Kensington Capa. The turn out was huge - people are really upset! Video interviews from the event are coming later tonight, but for now here's another interview from the South Philly town hall meeting:

Here's a picture of Ashley L. and Amberlynn D., students at Kensington High School for Creative and Performing Arts.

They said they heard about the meeting at school and came to check out "What's going on in the city." As VOICES, we love to support when youth get involved in local politics! Go Ashley & Amberlynn!

Speaking of pictures, make sure you follow our FLICKR page for additional updates!