Why rigorous self-reflection and self-healing is the necessary first step in creating a healthy village of social justice warriors

By Shamm Petros

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Leaders, activists and changemakers participating in the 2021 BIPOC Institute opening session

“Tell your story. Heal the village.”

Sometimes, when we’re doing the work of Lion’s Story, we’re asked, “What do you mean by ‘healing the village?’”

To put it succinctly, when we talk about healing the village, we mean looking deep within ourselves to identify the coping mechanisms we’ve developed as a result of racial incidents in our lives. …


Five questions to ask to assess the status of your organization’s diversity and inclusion programs

by Charles Barrett Adams

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Weekly — and sometimes daily — I find myself in an awkward position: breaking the news to company leaders that, while they’ve implemented some diversity, equity and inclusion efforts into their organizations, they likely aren’t as racially inclusive, committed or “woke” as they think they are.

These are leaders who are used to — and expected to — measure and track performance, achievement, revenue and/or impact goals, but aren’t sure how to go about the new, or at least newly highlighted…


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Grind culture is the idea that status is achieved by always being “on and available.” No matter where you are or what you’re doing, you’re hustling. You’re reachable. The first thing you do when you wake up is check and respond to email. You are the first at the office and the last to leave. You have a never-ending to-do list and it’s a badge of honor when you work well into the late night and/or sacrifice your weekend to finish a project.

And it seems as if the badge of honor is contagious.

In a recent student thesis from…


by Charles Barrett Adams

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Anyone who knows me will tell you: Books are my friends.

As an educator and non-profit leader, I am constantly looking for ways to challenge my thinking, materials to add to my own self-growth curriculum, and for timely relevant information that I can offer to my village of peers, colleagues and friends taking their own journeys towards racial literacy.

And let’s face it: there is no better excuse to add a few more books to my shelves than a new year.

That said, here are five books I’ll study or revisit in early 2021 as I…


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The countdown is on!

If you’re still looking for some last-minute gifts for friends, colleagues or family members — and you’re looking to support Black businesses in Philly — we’ve got your back!

Here are some of our favorite local shops and services to help you put the finishing touches on your holiday shopping.

For the Sci-Fi/Comic Book Enthusiast: Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse

2578 Frankford Ave.


by LV Wrighter

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Scene in West Philadelphia in the aftermath of the Walter Wallace Jr. shooting. (Image Credit: Philadelphia Inquirer/Tom Gralish)

I’m from Philly.

Since high school, my family has lived blocks away from where Walter Wallace Jr. was murdered. It would not surprise me if Walter Wallace Jr., or any member of his family or me and my family, passed by and greeted each other at some time — a corner store, the bus, anywhere.

A little more than a decade ago, my younger sister was late to school, for no insidious reason other than it being one of those days. She left our home and headed to the check-cashing place to purchase tokens for the bus…


Charles Barrett Adams

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The first Tuesday in November is familiar to me, and, ever since I was able to, I voted.

But this first Tuesday — this one is different. There is nothing “normal” about this first November Tuesday. This Election Day is unprecedented and feels unsafe, for a number of reasons.

The world is watching and the results could take more time than usual to confirm the winner, yes, but we’ve seen that before. Still, a power grab or coup is as much of a possibility, if not moreso, than during any of the other first Tuesdays in November.


by Ricky Strickler

One of our village members, Ricky Strickler, shares a poetic reflection on how ideas of race and oppression intersected with music in his racial memories and moments at a predominantly white high school in suburban Philadelphia.

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“It’s funny how most people love the dead
Once you’re dead, you’re made for life.”
-Jimi Hendrix

“…in New Orleans There’s water water everywhere and babies dead in the streets It’s enough to make you holler out Like where the fuck is Sir Bono and his famous friends now? Don’t get me wrong man I dig U2 But if you ain’t…


by Dwight Sterling Dunston and Brian Caselli Jordan

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Image Credit: Zack Garlitos at The School at Columbia University

Two of our trainers, Dwight Dunston and Brian Jordan, illustrate their experience as musicians and educators teaching young children about racial justice and the meaning of love, hope and community.

It’s 7:20am on a Monday morning. Two spoons and a huge pot of oatmeal, still hot, sits between two men in a ’98 Saturn. Both sleepy, only one of them has the option to doze off. He considers it but fights off the urge to get a few more minutes of rest, choosing instead to be in solidarity with the driver, who’s…


by Shamm H. Petros

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Black people are exhausted. We have been sentenced to death on multiple fronts. We are tired of dying. We are tired of fighting for our lives. And, while facets of this pain are familiar and known, there are layers to this that are unknown to all of us, unexperienced by any of us.

The glaring inequities and the scabs of long standing racism in this country have been magnified by the public health pandemic of COVID-19; only to be met with the recent murders of four Black people — Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and…

Lion’s Story

Tell your story. Heal the village. Lion’s Story helps individuals and organizations navigate racially charged situations using research-based strategies.

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