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Freelance Journalist

penny_dickerson_caro_article-small_26761Contact: 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 an 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 previously working as an adjunct English professor at  Florida State College at Jacksonville where she once taught English composition and Humanities courses including Writing for Non-Fiction, Introduction to Literature,     & Film and Literature.

Media contributions include: Orlando Arts Magazine, Jacksonville Arts & Business Magazine (ARBUS), EBONY.com, New America Media, Equal Voice, Miami Times,Mosaic Literary Magazine, Florida Times-Union, Florida Courier, Philadelphia Stories, Daytona Times, Tallahassee Women’s Magazine and others.

Journalism fellowships awarded include the New America Media Four Freedoms Fund Fellowship (2013); Henry Frank Guggenheim Fellowship (2015); Marguerite Casey Equal Voice Fellowship (2015) Continue Reading »

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Penny Dickerson Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

John Jay LogoThe Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation

 

http://flcourier.com/2015/01/22/florida-courier-writer-gets-guggenheim-fellowship

Florida Courier writer awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

Filed under FLORIDA, FRONT PAGE, LEAD STORIES, LOCAL NEWS, NEWS 

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Florida Courier writer Penny Dickerson was selected as one of 20 U.S. journalists from print, online and broadcast outlets to receive an H.F. Guggenheim reporting fellowship organized by the New York City-based John Jay Center on Media, Crime and Justice housed at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York.

Penny Dickerson Freelance Journalist & Adjunct ProfessorOver the next year, the Florida Courier will publish a series of stories titled, “Race, Justice, Community: Can We All Get Along?” written by Dickerson, a veteran journalist based in Jacksonville.

Dickerson is the third Florida Courier writer to receive a journalism fellowship. Senior Editor Jenise Griffin Morgan was awarded a 2013-2014 Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism. Publisher Charles W. Cherry II is a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow.

Diverse experience
Dickerson, a longtime contributor to the Florida Courier, has been a freelance reporter since 2001, advancing from local to more regional and national affiliates. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Temple University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Lesley University. Continue Reading »

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Penny Dickerson Awarded New America Media Fellowship

new america media

2015 Equal Voice Fellows and Scholars Announced

NEW YORK — (August 21, 2015) — Marguerite Casey Foundation has announced the recipients of the 2015 Equal Voice Fellowship and Scholarship.

Sixty journalists nationwide competed this year for six journalism grants to support at least one or a series of investigative and exploratory reporting projects on critical poverty issues in underserved communities. These include projects on faces of poverty in the southern Appalachian region; economic struggles that Latino families face in Los Angeles; and the interface between poverty, race, gender and HIV.

Selected fellows will receive a stipend of $2,250, plus up to $1,000 in travel reimbursement, while $500 and up to $800 in travel reimbursement for the scholars. Continue Reading »

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Dreaming with Steve Harvey & ESSENCE Magazine

florida courier

 

 

Helping teens jumpstart their dreams

Filed under EDUCATION, FLORIDA, METRO

Nine Florida students part of this year’s Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence

BY PENNY DICKERSON
FLORIDA COURIER

Nine Florida teens were among 100 high school students selected to participate in the ninth annual Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence magazine. Selected from an applicant pool of thousands, the blessed nine participated in a four-day, all-expense paid, hands-on educational and mentoring opportunity held March 3-6 at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista.

Students from Florida and around the country gain specific information about their areas of interest at a Deep Dive class during the Disney Dreamers Academy.( PHOTOS BY GREGG NEWTON)

Students from Florida and around the country gain specific information about their areas of interest at a Deep Dive class during the Disney Dreamers Academy.
(PHOTOS BY GREGG NEWTON)

Representing four separate quadrants of the state were Tyrah Rumph (Orlando); Maurice Morrison (Ocala); Steshawna Thomas (Middleburg); Alex Gregory (Port Charlotte); and Victoria Tinney (Zephyrhills). From the Miami area: Kirby Gilmore, Justin Gonzalez, K’deja Correa and Valeria Hansen.

Harvey on dreams
The student’s dreams and collegiate goals were as diverse as their ethnicities, which contributed to the Class of 2016 comprising one of the academy’s most diverse groups. Continue Reading »

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Najee: timeless jazz impresario

florida courier

 

 

Najee Jazz in the Garden

Jazz In The Gardens

Filed under ENTERTAINMENT, METRO
BY PENNY DICKERSON
FLORIDA COURIER

Najee among top artists at 11th annual music festival in Miami Gardens

Jazz great Najee is scheduled to perform Saturday, March 19, at the 11th annual Jazz in the Gardens in Miami Beach. His performance repertoire primarily will be a 30-year anniversary tribute to “Najee’s Theme. He’ll also be joined on stage by Regina Belle and Alex Bugnon.

Three days of soulful and sultry music returns to the City of Miami Gardens March 18-20 for the 11th Annual Jazz in the Gardens (JITG) Music Festival at Sun Life Stadium. Continue Reading »

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April Raquel: urban, rock, soul, funk

florida courier

 

 

April Jazz in the Gardens

Ready for Jazz in the Gardens stage

Filed under ENTERTAINMENT, METRO

April Raquel’s self-proclaimed musical style is urban, rock, soul and funk. She’ll be one of the local artists showcasing her talent at the Miami Gardens music extravaganza.

BY PENNY DICKERSON
FLORIDA COURIER

Jazz in the Gardens will kick off on March 18-20 with a star-studded lineup that includes Usher, Aretha Franklin, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Michael McDonald, Average White Band, Kool & the Gang, Fred Hammond, and Brian Culbertson.

Along with internationally known artists, the multi-day concert at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, will introduce attendees to homegrown favorites like artists CriStyle Renae, Lavie, and regulars on the Broward County nightclub scene – April Raquel and Kouture Band. Continue Reading »

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American Bar Association combats Poverty

miami times

Plagued by poverty

 Penny Dickerson Special to The Miami Times | 10/14/2015, 2 p.m.

http://miamitimesonline.com/news/2015/oct/14/plagued-poverty/

A Miami youth whose life had been paralyzed by poverty and the criminal justice system spoke openly regarding her plight: ...
 A Miami youth whose life had been paralyzed by poverty and the criminal justice system spoke openly regarding her plight: while stealing food to feed both herself and a 2-year-old sibling, she was charged and arrested for theft. With no income or support system, she was left hopeless and unable to retain legal counsel or sufficiently advocate for herself.

Previously homeless adults who had been thrust in and out of foster care through their formative years shared similar struggles. Most of their short life span had been dedicated to navigating complex systems for survival—daily battles to simply exist as respectable citizens in society.

These crisis-driven scenarios—and formidable solutions to prevent them—were among the personal narratives shared during the recent Miami launch of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) anti-poverty initiative titled, “Collaborate to Advocate: Lawyers and Communities Working Together to end Poverty.”

A STIGMA DEFINED

Poverty is arguably a dual contender with race as America’s most important conversation in the millennium. And as the national representative of the legal profession, the ABA has embraced poverty in America as one of its foremost priorities.

A common American stigma, poverty is often misconstrued by language and assumption. The varied vernacular used to describe the impoverished ranges from economically challenged, poor, disenfranchised, dispossessed and indigent. To best advance the “Collaborate to Advocate” initiative, the ABA applied the working definition for poverty as follows:

“A state or lived experience caused and perpetuated by various and often compounded factors including inadequate economic resources and opportunity to build assets, including employment, adequate income and assets to meet basic human needs such as food, housing, clothing, etc.”

CAUSE AND EFFECT

The ABA cites an ongoing trend of “societal, economic and political events” as contributors and catalysts. They include America’s 2007 economic meltdown, the mortgage foreclosure epidemic, Trayvon Martin, Hurricane Katrina, Ferguson, Missouri, Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow,” 9/11, the “school to prison pipeline,” unaccompanied minors coming across the border, etc. to each have played a role in the number of children living in poverty as well as the disparate treatment and impacts of the law and justice systems on communities of color.

Manifestations of poverty include substandard and unaffordable housing and homelessness; disproportionate involvement in criminal and civil justice systems; inadequacies in food, health care and poor educational and health outcomes. Two of the least considered, yet relevant, poverty manifestations include lack of personal dignity and isolation from community and political infrastructure.

MIAMI’S IMPOVERISHED BLACKS

Blacks and “people of color” are faced with barriers and obstacles to justice such as disability, limited English proficiency, immigrant status and other factors at a rate higher than any other demographic.

Nearly 50 million Americans now live below the federal poverty line. In Florida, 17 percent of people in the state have incomes below the poverty line—$23,834 for a family of four, according to the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey. In Miami-Dade County alone, 20 percent of residents are living below the poverty line and 30 percent of them are Black.

The latter statistic is further compounded for impoverished Blacks who additionally suffer education, employment and criminal justice disparity. In Miami-Dade, Black youth enter the judicial system due to school arrests at a 58 percent disproportionate rate to their white counterparts.

Advocacy and intervention by the ABA will be integral in breaking cyclic patterns that begin with poverty and too often end with a life of crime.

COMMISSION ON POVERTY

The ABA has established the Commission on Poverty and Homelessness as a governing body for the “Collaborate to Advocate” initiative. On Oct. 2, a committed panel of community and philanthropic liaisons gathered at the University of Miami School of Law for the first of many nationally scheduled anti-poverty community roundtable discussions.

“This convening serves as our official launch of the commission’s new, multi-year initiative,” said Ted Small, chair of the ABA Commission on Poverty and Homelessness. “The initiative is aimed at identifying and promoting best practices for eliminating legal and justice system-related policies, practices and procedures that unfairly perpetuate or worsen the harmful effects of poverty in low-income communities.”

POVERTY PANEL

Panelists in attendance collectively represented the voices of anti-poverty expertise from the state and local government, service providers, religious, academic, political and legal communities.

Included were Amy E. Horton-Newell, director, Commission on Homelessness & Poverty; Oliver G. Gilbert III, mayor of Miami Gardens; Lars Gilberts, United Way of Broward County, (Director, ALICE); Barbara “Bobbie” Ibarra, executive director, Miami Coalition for the Homeless; Paco Velez, president and CEO, of Feeding South Florida and a host of others.

“I am happy we are finally thinking about the generational causes and effects of poverty. Far too often we treat poverty like a headache that we can get rid of; take two special programs and call me in the morning,” said Mayor Gilbert. “It’s more like a genetic predisposition that can be planned for and planned around. But it all begins with diagnosing it and treating it like it is something real that won’t just go away because we want it to.”

ROUNDTABLE GOALS

The goal of each roundtable is to bring together a consortium of 10-15 community stakeholders. Professor Kele Stewart, associate dean of experiential learning, at the University of Miami School of Law, served as moderator and led the consortium through an interview-style dialogue.

Queries posed included, “How can those who are already addressing poverty in Miami/Dade-Fort Lauderdale/Broward work more collaboratively and in a cross-disciplinary fashion?”

“This [roundtable] was a good start to identifying synergies and shared priorities that will hopefully lead to collaborative initiatives,” said Stewart.

“The roundtable also included powerful insights from community advocates who have themselves experienced first-hand the harsh realities of homelessness and community displacement in Miami,” Stewart added.

POSITIVE OUTCOMES

The four-hour, Miami anti-poverty roundtable discussion informally “kicked-off” an ongoing collaboration of community representatives. Most panelists work in tandem on a regular basis, but the roundtable provided a forum for future motivation.

“What I walked away with most was the exposure to actual youth and adults who had experienced poverty and homelessness,” offered Brett McNaught, CEO and founder of Educate Tomorrow.

“They were able to give roundtable guests and the commission some real firsthand stories and experiences. I think the take away is they all found value from having support from a mentor, coach, or someone in the community organization who had taken time to get to know them and help them get out of situations,” McNaught added.

Future poverty roundtables are scheduled and include San Diego (Feb. 5, 2016), a variety of communities in Alabama (Spring 2016), two communities in Oklahoma (including a rural convening with tribal representation), and San Francisco (Aug. 5, 2016—with the possible addition of a convening with farmworkers in northern California).

marguerite casey foundation

Penny Dickerson is a 2015 Journalism Fellow of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, a private, nonprofit grant-making organization, which seeks to increase the public’s understanding of the issues and policies that affect families living in poverty. Through profiles, vignettes and features, Dickerson’s series hopes to shift public perception and broaden awareness in areas that critically affect the definition of poor people of color by reporting from four-quadrants of the state: Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Daytona and Miami.

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