Children First is supporting independent journalists who increase visibility of the challenges facing families of color in the greater Philadelphia area. The disParities Media Project brings the voices of youth and their parents to the public policy debate, giving their experiences a platform to inform polices as they are formed and reformed.
The inaugural reporting of the Project focuses on the lives of Black and Hispanic families in Norristown and Pottstown. In both small suburban cities, poverty is rising, public systems are under stress, and increasingly children are showing signs of struggle.
The reporting for each of the following articles was built from the firsthand experiences of youth growing up in these communities.
- Lead paint exposure for Montco kids is PA’s 6th highest. September 6, 2022 in the Pottstown Mercury
- Inequity also found on the path to college: Students in under-funded districts don’t get same college readiness resources as wealthier districts, February 27, 2022 in the Pottstown Mercury
- Staff diversity in schools can help students of color, February 16, 2022 in the Pottstown Mercury
- Neighboring districts show funding disparities: Minority schools suffer worst gaps, have least opportunities, February 10, 2022 in the Pottstown Mercury
- Critics say Pennsylvania school funding does real damage to children, February 5, 2022 in the Pottstown Mercury, Norristown Times Herald, the Montgomery County Reporter, and the Delco Times
These articles were written by Emma Restrepo. Emma is a freelance journalist focused on the LatinX community and hosts a weekly radio program called DosPuntos on independent radio WPPM 106.5FM. She was nominated as one of the best Freelance Journalists by the Pen & Pencil Club of Philadelphia in 2016. In 2017 she was honored with the IAmAnAmericanImmigrant awards by Al Dia Newspaper. She continues to collaborate with fellow journalists on the @BrokeInPhilly and @NICE projects in Philadelphia.
The Urban League of Philadelphia, has a collection of disParities stories based on student experiences in Norristown. You can read them here.
The disParities Media Project is a partnership of Children First, the Urban League of Philadelphia, and ACLAMO of Montgomery County, and has spurred our organizations to build the journalism skills of the youth by training them to write articles and to script/produce podcasts. This reporting was also made possible in partnership with the the Greater Norristown NAACP, CCATE and Unides para Servir Norristown.
Children First is grateful for the support of the Independence Public Media Foundation for its support of this ground breaking reporting.