Freelance Journalist

Africa Mercy Penny Dickerson Writer                 CONTACT:          pennydickersonwrites@gmail.com

Penny Dickerson is an independent journalist with a passion for cool people, extraordinary places, and good sushi.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Temple University (Philadelphia, PA) and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Lesley University (Cambridge, MA).


Temple UniversityLesley LogoPassionate about words and writing, Penny has augmented her freelance writing life by working as an adjunct English professor at  Florida State College at Jacksonville where she taught English composition and Humanities courses including Writing for Non-Fiction, Introduction to Literature & Film and Literature. Continue Reading »

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On Boarding Final Project: “Transformative Themes”

The “Welcome Dinner” hosted by Angie Fadely was my first clue that “Change” was on the horizon for everyone. However, I could not have imagined how significant those changes would be for me. Indeed, God is doing a new thing. Do you not see it?

I got spiritual chills when I saw the pattern of transformative themes that continued to recur throughout my On Boarding experience. It’s amazing how “Transformation” overlapped from Angie, to Dr. Clark, to me, Small Group leader Karen Ransone and finally Camille Bishop. Fittingly, it is the basis of my final project. TRANSFORMATION!
Project Dr. ClarkDr. Andrew Clark sent me into a writing frenzy. I was captivated by his conceptual command and delivery, but moreso by how the “nuggets” offered spoke directly into my life. I’m in charge? I’m RIDICULOUSLY in charge? Who better than me to lead than me? My “Aha Moment” is on the adjacent page, but reads:

“God never asks about our ability or our inability, but about our availability.
God, where am I not being available right now?”

On Boarding has taught me what it means to be available mentally, prayerfully, physically, and spiritually for God!


During the Silent Retreat, I  observed the flight of a dragonfly for close to ten minutes. It busied about with speed, yet exhibited grace and spread its wings while resting on varied blades of grass. Such sightings have remained symbolic in my life, much like Rachel’s sunflowers. While the voice of the Lord always speaks to me during these symbolic sightings, the internet confirmed it.
The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life. 

My small group leader, Karen Ransone added momentum with her July 2, 2019 entry in my journal. She prayed for God to give her scriptures for me and they are:

  1. Change:  “See, I am doing a new thing.” Isaiah 43:19
  2. Transform: “Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is. His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
  3. Adaptability: “For though I am free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain more.” I Corinthians 9:19               

Project camilleFrom the anointed Camille Bishop, it all came full circle with her World View presentations.

  1. “One of the biggest problems in the world today is that Christians believe they cannot CHANGE.
  2. “We never CHANGE in isolation. We need each other.”
  3. “Christian life is about CHANGING from the inside out.”

It initially saddened me that I would not be traveling to Dakar with my team for their two-week field practice, but God is resourceful.

He is using my writing gift stateside to illuminate SENEGAL and her culture just from a different location. Change advances God’s purpose, so Journalist Penny will travel to Washington, D.C. next week to write a feature on the following Smithsonian National Museum of African Art exhibit and then fly from Dallas to Madrid to Las Palmas, Spain on July 26th to meet Mercy Ships. From there, we all sail to Africa together.

The Wolof concept called “Sanse” is the basis of the groundbreaking exhibit. It means “Dressing up, looking and feeling good.”

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Congratulations Councilwoman Shirley McKellar

Congratulations Shirley McKellar!

A life-long public servant, McKellar was victorious in her quest to win a leadership seat on the Tyler City Council in her hometown of Tyler, Texas.

On Saturday night, the District 3 seat was divinely placed in her hands following a runoff against Pamela Phoenix, a local transplant who made Tyler her home after a forced evacuation following Hurricane Katrina.

Despite a close margin of votes and a low voter turnout, McKellar proved the favor of the Lord and the endorsement of the local community were what matters most.

She is undisputedly: Council Woman Shirley McKellar. 

““I believe that I won because the people in northwest Tyler wanted someone that they could reach out to and recognize someone that they know had already had their boots on the ground, someone who’s already been in this community.”

The aforementioned quote, given to the Tyler Morning Telegraph,  McKellar summed up her victory sentiments Saturday night, but it is important that the political community remember that this seasoned politician is humble. While this is her first elected, political designation, it is not her first rodeo by a longshot. Previous attempts included congressional runs against longterm dumbcumbant Gohmert.

McKellar successfully won the democratic nomination, but was defeated four times. In true fashion of a woman of valor, she recalibrated and forged ahead setting her eyes on local community, an area that perhaps needed her most in the short haul before she catapults her political career to greater heights. The latter will likely come to pass. Stay tuned.

McKellar is the charming “daughter-blossom” of a Tyler rose grower, and her roots run deep in East Texas. At the age of 71, she is a retired nurse and United States Army Veteran whose beauty and stylish presentation precedes any and all political ambitions.

She is an avid community volunteer, a mainstay in the democratic party with visibility that includes the Congressional Black Caucus and the Demoncratic National Convention and as it relates to me, she is mother of my college roommate/line sister, Danna McKellar, who unselfishly spent time with me (lunch/shopping) on Saturday morning and afternoon during my On Boarding training near Tyler, Texas for Mercy Ships. The latter is a hallmark of our Greek organization. “We help each other…” and we three are all progressive women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

On the campaign trail, McKellar offered the following to Tyler’s ABC-KLTV:

“I actually worked to lead the Intensive Care Unit in the 94th general hospital,” says McKellar. “Also, I am a member of the National Leadership Success Program at the University of Texas at Tyler which is my Alma Mater.”

If elected McKellar is also interested in park improvements in the district and plans to focus on bringing new businesses to the North Tyler area.

“I think it’s really crucial that we have more businesses come into North Tyler,” says McKellar. “I should not have to drive across town to shop.”

See full interview: https://www.kltv.com/2019/04/10/election-preview-tyler-city-council-candidates-share-their-goals-office/

Candidate, District 3- Tyler City Council

At her Saturday watch party, McKellar plaintively summed it all up:

“I come from this community,” she said. “I know this community. That’s why I won.” (Tyler Morning Telegraph)

Penny Dickerson 2019

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Cancer, SisterHermana,Veronica Glover


Penny in MarylandSo, everyone who knows me, knows I survived cancer. It’s not a neon sign on my sleeve, but it’s an integral theme in my life’s narrative, and it is also a shared occurrence by many I know. I almost typed, “shared dilemma,” but cancer is not a dilemma. Cancer is definitely an unwelcome journey and undoubtedly a disease that challenges you internally by attacking cells – being a nuisance – ruining lives – and taking lives. 

Fortunately, 21st Century medical advances invite us to see more lives spared. There are also more fighters staying in the ring. Some are people like me who championed their battle(s) and then there are rare breeds. Virtuous women who are survivors and dually personify an angelic “High Five” for not only beating their own cancer, they continue to pave the way for others, even after the loss of a husband who succombed. 

Veronica 6Meet Veronica Myers Glover, a breast cancer survivor and widow of Horace Glover, her husband who lost the good fight against stage IV colon cancer in less than six months of being diagnosed. Veronica Cancer Awareness

We hate such stories, but we go slap nuts over the indomitable spirit of women like Veronica who had already established a nonprofit organization to benefit breast cancer survivors, but following her husbands death, expanded its reach to include ALL cancers.

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THANK YOU: my “Address Africa” donors

go fund meWe made GOAL!

Thank you immensely to my family and friends for your unwavering support as I embark upon a Godly assignment and magnificent journey with Mercy Ships Africa Mercy in Senegal.

While your photographs are below (randomly tiled by wordpress), I wanted to share you with the world. None are greater than the other as you each played an integral role in meeting my goal.

Collectively you are:

A two-time presidential appointee and foremost consultant on African trade; an accomplished stage/television actress whose boss is Tyler Perry and who calls Oprah Winfrey’s network home; my daughter and dancer who unselfishly coaches “The Fly Girls” at a Title I school while raising two of the world’s next best geniuses; a 29-year U.S. Army retiree who is a cultural product entrepreneur; a U.S. Air Force reservist who currently procures billion dollar contracts for the FAA; a dancer/executive director/model who was named one of Jacksonville’s most beautiful women; a Villanova University law graduate and soror who sweats her way through life with both fitness and finesse; a jewel who is my first love’s daughter, and he was a gem. Rest in Peace J. Continue Reading »

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Things Mom Would Want to Know: Mercy Ships On Boarding

My Dearest Mom,

My Mercy Ships On Boarding experience is going tremendously well. We actually don’t begin official On Boarding until tomorrow morning, but thus far, there isn’t an isolated item that defers my expectation(s). I am content, but wanted to take a moment to share with you salient points about my journey.

You would want to know specifics about my whereabouts.

It’s not so much that the Mercy Ships International Support Center is located in the middle of nowhere, it’s better expressed that it’s not planted adjacent to anything that jars my familiarity. Continue Reading »

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Bon Voyage to Brunch: Mercy Ships On Boarding

The trajectory of my personal life has taken a quatum leap in the past four-days. I’ve departed Tallahassee, Florida; arrived in Jacksonville and enjoyed a splendid gathering with family and friends that served as a celebratory       bon voyage; boarded two jets to Texas; moved into a wooded and welcoming lodge; worshipped with the Mercy Ships global brand director at his quaint church; and attended a fabulous brunch at a Hideaway lake house with my new Mercy Ships communications team.

Six semi-colons later, I connected my movement to form a mental title: “Bon Voyage to Brunch.” Not bad, eh? It seems like just yesterday I was feverishly finishing “Tasks” to complete my extensive application and interview process. When I look back at these dates and activity on my laptop, it seems time flew by! Continue Reading »

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African-American Experts Broaden Diversity – Association of Health Care Journalists Conference 2019

  Image result for Association for Healthcare Journalists Conference in Baltimore

African-American Experts Shine at 2019 Health Care Journalists Conference

Notable experts from varied medical extensions of Johns Hopkins University serve as speakers and panelists on cancer, racial disparities, equity at the Association of Health Care Journalists Conference in Baltimore. As an Ethnic Media Fellow in attendance, I am grateful for being selected and learned a great deal from peers, panelists, and stakeholders.

The Florida Courier was my sponsoring media affiliate and consistent with diversity, we celebrate all news but like to illuminate the presence of African-Americans in any sector in which they emerge as leaders. Since I have liberty of space and creativity on my own website, I opted to also include every ethnicity in this blog which I initiated to both chronicle and share my positive experience(s) at the 2019 conference. Continue Reading »

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