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PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 13, 2014—Community College of Philadelphia’s 15th Annual Law & Society Week (Feb. 24-27) tackles some of society’s most important issues such as the death penalty, cyber security, and legal issues surrounding crime scene investigations.

The legal system touches every American in a variety of ways. Law and Society Week was established to inform students and the general public of emerging legal issues and trends, while providing practical advice from respected experts. Events include more than two dozen workshops, lectures, panel discussions and demonstrations that are free and open to the public.

“When students see how law relates to the technology they use, the food they eat, and just about every topic imaginable, that’s a real light bulb moment for them,” said Kathleen M. Smith, J.D., director of the Fox Rothschild Center for Law and Society. Smith launched the annual Law and Society Week 15 years ago with the help of her husband David Freeman, an associate professor of Social Science at the College.

Activities kick off February 24 with “A Conversation with Honorable Edward G. Rendell” at 6 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Winnet Student Life Building, situated on the west side of 17th Street between Spring Garden and Callowhill streets. The former Pennsylvania Governor and Philadelphia Mayor will discuss his career and his personal experience to offer insight into current events.

Other highlights include “Cyber Intelligence-Why it Matters”, a presentation that explores issues of intellectual property, privacy and cyber harassment. It will begin 2:40 p.m., February 25 in Room C2-28 of the Center for Business and Industry, 1751 Callowhill Street. Co-sponsored and presented by Bowman & Partners, LLP, Cyber Intelligence is also offered at the Northwest Regional Center February 26 and the West Regional Center February 27.

Anti-death penalty activist Shujaa Graham, who spent five years on death row before a court exonerated him in 1981, will share his compelling story. Co-sponsored by Philadelphia-based Witness to Innocence, Graham’s presentation occurs 1 p.m. February 27 in the Great Hall. Now a self-employed landscaper, Graham travels the country as an advocate for prison reform and alternatives to incarceration.

Events also include the 10th Annual Reporter’s Panel with Tony Hanson of KYW Newsradio 1060, Walt Hunter of CBS-TV 3, Dave Schratwieser of Fox 29 TV, and Tom Gibbons a former Philadelphia Inquirer reporter. Panelists will discuss the rewards and challenges of covering crime and the news. The panel takes place 11:20 a.m. February 25 in the Bonnell Auditorium (Room BG-20), situated on 17th Street between Callowhill and Spring Garden streets.

Two separate panel discussions will also feature judicial officials.

The presentation “Making a Federal Case Out of It: A View of the Federal Bench from the Inside” will feature prominent members of the federal judiciary, including Judge Theodore A. McKee, Chief Justice of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Thomas L. Ambro, 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, and Kent A. Jordan, 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. The panel takes place at 8 a.m. February 25 in the Great Hall.

A second panel titled “The Judges’ Panel” takes place 6 p.m. February 27 in the Great Hall. Moderated by the Honorable Holly J. Ford, Judge Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, the panel features other distinguished Philadelphia county and municipal judges discussing the challenges of a legal career.

Some lectures qualify for Continuing Legal Education credits for legal professionals. To learn more about how to receive continuing education credits from Law and Society Week presentations contact LawCenter@ccp.edu. A complete listing of events and dates for Law and Society Week 2014 is available URL: bit.ly/ccplaw.

Community College of Philadelphia is the sole sponsor of the Black History Month news vignettes, Philadelphia Gamechangers, airing in February 2014 on CBS 3/CW Philly and KYW Newsradio 1060.

They feature the stories of 10 individuals or groups from across the region that have positively impacted the African-American community in Greater Philadelphia.

All three broadcast stations will feature a series of reports on the Gamechangers, and the vignettes will be hosted by CBS 3 television anchor Ukee Washington and KYW Newsradio community affairs reporter Cherri Gregg throughout the month.

The featured Gamechangers are Loretta Winters, president of the NAACP of South Jersey; Jerome Shabazz, executive director of the Overbrook Arts and Environmental Education Center;  J. Donald Dumpson, a composer, musician and producer; Alexa Grabelle, a 7th grader who founded Bag of Books, which gives used books to children in need; Maria Pajil Battle, president of AmeriHealth Caritas Partnership; Nikki Johnson-Huston, a lawyer who is working to end poverty; Donna Frisby-Greenwood, Philadelphia program director for the Knight Foundation; Linda Cliatt-Wayman, principal of Strawberry Mansion High School; and Archie Leacock, founder and executive director of the Institute for the Development of African-American Youth, and the Wolves Athletic Association, which uses sports to mentor young inner- city boys and girls.

The College has sponsored the Black History Month celebration of broadcast stations CBS 3, The CW Philly and KYW Newsradio for the last few years as part of the institution’s ongoing commitment to diversity and learning.

Nancy Pelosi

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), on campus to promote economic security and opportunity for women, took a moment on Feb. 7 to praise community colleges for providing a path to better opportunities.

Women now hold the majority of bachelor’s degrees and advanced degrees nationwide, putting them in a position to drive our 21st century economy. Sixty-three percent of the students at Community College of Philadelphia are female.

"Community colleges are the bridge," she said. "They are the path that takes people from where they are, to where they want to be," Pelosi said. "With everything that we do, education is essential. That’s why it’s so important that we’re here at the College."

Pelosi, the first woman to serve Speaker of the House of Representatives, is currently the House Minority Leader. She spoke during the invitation-only "When Women Succeed, America Succeeds" event, which advocated for a higher minimum wage, access to child care for working mothers, and other policy issues that strengthen women and families.

PathWays PA, and The Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces sponsored the event.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) and U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) joined Pelosi on a panel alongside three area women who discussed the difficulties faced by those in low-paying jobs. They spoke to a packed room in the Klein Cube of the Pavilion Building.

Onetha McKnight, who works as a wheelchair attendant at Philadelphia International Airport, said she earns $5.75 an hour plus tips. She uses a co-worker’s asthma inhaler because she can’t afford to buy her own. McKnight said she is among 2,000 workers employed by a subcontractor to provide passenger services at the airport.

"I wish I could say my situation was unique at the airport, but it’s not. Most of my co-workers at the airport are women struggling to get by on poverty wages. Thankfully, legislators like Nancy Pelosi are listening," McKnight said.

Democratic congressmen have a put forth a proposal to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour and peg it to inflation. "Over 60 percent of people who make minimum wage are women over age 30," Pelosi said.

State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown (D-Philadelphia) and State Rep. James R. Roebuck, Jr. (D-Philadelphia) were among the dignitaries in attendance. Rep. Roebuck also serves as vice chair of the College’s Board of Trustees.

Luis Torrado, 46, of Old City, owns Torrado Construction Co., a general contractor in Port Richmond.

The College’s spring 2014 Professional Development activities focused on strengthening the culture for students with unique or complex learning needs.

During the opening session on Jan. 6, Bill Welsh, executive director for the Office of Disability Services at Rutgers University, delivered the keynote, "Creating an Environment that is Usable by All".

The presentation included a brief tutorial demonstrating how to use Microsoft Word tools to create documents that are easily accessible to those with special learning needs. Afterward, Welsh led a workshop for the President’s Cabinet on “Best Practices for Accessible Technology and Information.”

Jocelyn E. Sirkis, director of Professional Development, coordinated the Professional Development event and others that took place that week.

“What we know is that when we make our courses and our processes accessible to people with disabilities, we also typically make them better for all users,” Sirkis said.

In panel discussions and workshops, students, faculty and staff discussed the challenges of living with disabilities and offered the tools and strategies for making the learning environment more accessible. Workshop titles included “More than Life without Sound: ASL (American Sign Language),” “Being Deaf and a World of Visual Adaptation” and “Get to Know Us: A Person- first Panel.”

10,000 Small Businesses–Greater Philadelphia recently marked its second commencement and the one-year anniversary of the groundbreaking program’s launch.

Judith Gay, Ph.D., the College’s interim president; Nicole Pullen Ross, Mid-Atlantic region head of Goldman Sachs; Alan Greenberger, deputy mayor for Economic Development and director of Commerce; and Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter were among the dignitaries who attended the Jan.11 ceremony, where 27 business owners received program completion certificates.

“We’re really proud of this class,” said Nutter, who also met with the business owners before the ceremony. “We’re particularly excited about this program. We have a lot of focus on start-up businesses and entrepreneurs but this program answers ‘What are we doing to support those who have already survived the initial start-up phase and are trying to expand their businesses?’”

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses–Greater Philadelphia is a fully funded program that offers 14weeks of entrepreneurial instruction, one-on-one coaching and access to capital for eligible business owners from the region. The business owners in the second class represent a diverse mix of industries and professions, including urban planning, manufacturing, funeral rites, web development, education and retail. They come from cities and suburbs across the region and have two things in common—a proven track record and willingness to learn more.

Since its launch last year, 50 business owners from across the region have completed the program in Philadelphia. Applications for 10,000 Small Businesses are accepted on a rolling basis at Community College of Philadelphia, with Feb. 10, 2014, as the deadline to apply for the next cohort.

In his speech to fellow scholars, graduate Rich Goldberg, president of Safian & Rudolph Jewelers, noted how much the business owners had bonded during the course. “Each of us decided we were destined for something greater,” he said. “Not just because we believed it, but because we made others believe in us and our visions.”

In her closing remarks, Margaret Berger Bradley, the program’s executive director, told the entrepreneurs that their new skills and business acumen had prepared them for the next level of success. “This is not a graduation. This is your commencement,” she said.

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi visited Philadelphia Friday to push for a Democratic plan designed to boost women's economic prospects. 

Hundreds of African American kids lined up around the block to meet authors and buy books at this years' book fair.

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