The Chester Made audience tuned in for a panel discussion where their questions were answered about Chester’s continuously negative portrayal in the news. Panelists included Delaware County Times Editor Phil Heron, Chester Blogger Stefan Roots, and WURD Philadelphia program host Eric “Brother Shomari” Grimes, and the late William ‘Bill’ Nix who we would like to honor for his invaluable contributions to the Chester Made project. Bill was a man who loved his city and never doubted that one day others would see it as the jewel he knew it to be, and for that we are forever grateful for his commitment to Chester.
Ulysses also produced his first Facebook interviews this winter with local authors Chris Mele and Stefan Roots. Chris Mele presented his new book Race and The Politics of Deception: The Making of an American City and shared his thoughts about the Chester Made project and recent revitalization in downtown Overtown. Mele unpacks America’s history of dealing with racial problems through the inequitable use of public space in Chester and its experience of post-industrial decline. He documents how past development plans touted as a way to “save” the city have divided it into spaces of tourism and consumption versus the everyday spaces of low-income residents, segregating the community by creating a racialized divide. View the interview here.
Slaughter produced another Facebook interview with Stefan Roots, Chester blogger and author of Toxic Man: The Melvin Wade Story, to honor the 40th anniversary of a waterfront fire that rocked Chester on February 3, 1978 and made the city one of the first Superfund sites in the nation. The Wade dump fire revealed that toxic waste had been illegally stored in the community, and many responders and neighbors that were affected died from carcinogens that were released. This example of environmental racism put Chester on the map in the 1970’s as a case where poor, minority communities bear the heavier load of environmental risks than nearby wealthier communities. View part 1 and part 2.
These engaging social media video posts got our audience talking, along with posts asking for people’s votes on Top 10 Most Influential People in Chester History. The more we focus on Chester history, the more we realize how important it is for people to be in charge of the story that is told and the way their community is represented and their pride made known.
Question? E-mail Chester Made project manager Ulysses Slaughter at firstname.lastname@example.org