Valerie Russ writes about race, identity and neighborhood and economic development.

Latest Stories

This weekend’s Peace in the East Festival -- PIE -- aims to unify millennials whose parents emigrated from East Africa

The Selam Committee, whose members are young East African Americans, are presenting Peace in the East, at the Spruce Street Harbor Park on Saturday.

‘Year of Gandhi’ in Philly to mark struggles shared by African Americans and Indians

The Saturday Free School will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth and will look at ties between the black freedom struggle in the U.S. and the fight against British colonial rule in India.

Proposed Callowhill business district stokes old and new controversies

“They are taxing us to subsidize their investment in the neighborhood,” said Philip Browndeis, who owns with his wife a condo on Buttonwood Street they rent out.

Tornado confirmed in northern Bucks; thunderstorms hit Philly area for third straight day

The small tornado Wednesday was the second in Eastern Pennsylvania in two days.

Three transgender women challenge portion of Pennsylvania’s name-change law

A current provision of the law blocks people from being able to change their names to match their gender identity.

Why is the top of Philadelphia’s City Hall tower a different color than the rest of the building?

Was it an oversight during a renovation project or is there a technical reason?

A new generation of black female economists revives a Philly lawyer’s legacy with the Sadie Collective

They may not face the same racism and discrimination that Sadie T.M. Alexander encountered at Penn, but for young women in a field like economics, it can still be a lonely pursuit.

More Latinos are becoming Muslims: ‘Islam is not as foreign as you think’

Hispanics are the fastest-growing group in the nation to embrace Islam.

Anti-Semitic incidents down in Pa. and N.J., but assaults up nationally, ADL report says

New Jersey and Pennsylvania are the third- and fifth-highest among states for reported anti-Semitic incidents.

‘Disappearing Blackness’: The campaign to show how African American history in Philly is being erased

Citizen preservationist Faye Anderson takes to social media to protest how development is creating a demolition crisis. Saturday, she will co-host a panel, “Gentrification, Resistance and Cultural Preservation.”