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Ursula Rucker: A Voice Raised by the City of Brotherly Love

A band of brothers and sisters living and working and creating together.

As is the case in most major U.S. cities, gentrification is pushing longtime locals and the working class further and further from city centers. Philadelphia is no exception, but while many are frustrated with the major social and cultural shifts, spoken-word recording artist Ursula Rucker appreciates all that these changes entail—and also what they ignite.

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A Love Letter to Philadelphia

A personal look into the city from the local poet, muscian, singer, and educator

Dear Philly,

Sonia always puts the words a place called before your name. Girl, you’ve been called so many names. Been called out of your name, too. Philly. Illadelph. 215. Killadelphia. You are corner stores and cranes, murals and museums, litter and Love Park.

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Closing schools has become an almost reflexive, corporate solution to a complex fiscal and social problema problem to which no one has found a satisfying answer.

Districts shutter, sell, or destroy physical properties typically for fiscal reasons. Districts also terminate contracts of poor-performing service providers to make way for new leaders who most often radically rearrange the organs of a schoolmaking it in essence a new school. In either case for students, alumni, and family members, closing a school can feel like excommunicating a grandfather to the wilderness to save money.

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Intermission: Two Philly Poets' Scathing "Hipster Racism" Performance

Reverse white flight, reverse racism, and even a Kony 2012 critique all in a three-minute smackdown.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9Avq8QPUO8

These two young poets' scathing spoken word indictment of hipster racism and gentrification is fully worth a few minutes of your time. The performance underscored for me a rancorous intellectual exchange (see "swagger jacking", and "politics of the urban comeback") on the topic of gentrification that took place recently in the media of my hometown of Washington D.C. Many neighborhoods of D.C. are nearly unrecognizable now compared to when I left in the early nineties and judging by this snapshot of Philadelphia, similar dynamics are at play in the City of Brotherly Love.

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