Darisha Parker

Darisha Parker

Community advocate Darisha Parker is strategically utilizing social platforms to educate and update residents in the Northwest area on the novel coronavirus.

She’s become increasingly visible discussing the effects of the virus on the community as she is running to become the next state representative for the 198th District.

“What I like about social media is that it’s real-time information,” she said. “It’s fast. It gives the constituent service side of me to actually walk them through how to fill out certain information.”

The virus has taken a toll on the Black community in Philadelphia with 39% of the cases being African-American, according to numbers from local health officials.

Parker recently went live on her Facebook page, informing residents about free local testing in the Germantown community.

On her social media pages, Parker posts daily information about the virus based on statistics, new regulations, preventative methods, and updates from Gov. Tom Wolf.

Parker is currently helping a resident who is not familiar with computer resources to receive her stimulus check. She believes that is part of her duty to serve.

“I was able to contact and figure out how the individual can get her stimulus check,” Parker said. “She texted me all the information. I called her back and read everything to her off the phone and then I’ll most likely have to walk her through the process because she isn’t computer savvy.”

Parker, who has been working directly with the community for the past few years, said the Northwest area is a part of her life. She’s also the daughter of the late political consultant William R. Miller IV, who died in 2016.

Growing up, Parker took swimming lessons in Germantown and often went to the Northwest Regional Library. She is a graduate of Germantown High School’s magnet program and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Bennett College in North Carolina.

Parker said she knows what the 198th District needs.

“You need an individual who has been working for the past three years with the neighbors to help fight the power plant, the town watch and bring the seniors into the office to discuss resources they need,” she said.

“By being elected I want people to still know that I am going to fight for funding to ensure that our schools are safer, our seniors are protected and our parks and recreation centers are preserved,” Parker added. “The only way that can happen now is on social media.”

Parker was endorsed by current state Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood. She has worked for Youngblood as a legislative assistant for the past three years and decided to step down from that position to run for Youngblood’s seat.

“I see a lot of Darisha in myself when I first felt the call for public service,” Youngblood told The Tribune in February. “Her understanding of how state government connects to its citizens is a crucial element of being able to lead immediately. I’m honored to give her my full endorsement in this race. The residents of the 198th will be well served should Darisha be elected.”

Youngblood became the first Black woman to hold a leadership position in the history of the Pennsylvania General Assembly when she was elected as the House Democratic Caucus secretary by fellow Democrats in 2015.

The others in the race include Fareed Abdullah, a teacher and political activist who ran for City Council last year; Supreme Divine Dow, executive director of the Black Writers Museum; and Bernard Williams, who serves on the 39th Police District Advisory Council and heads a diversionary program in the District Attorney’s Office. All six candidates are Democrats.

The 198th District includes East and Southeast Germantown, Sommerville, Nicetown, Logan, Tioga, Allegheny West, Swampoodle and East Falls.

The last day to register for the primary election is May 26. The primary election is June 2.

“I don’t have to go to Harrisburg and introduce myself,” Parker said. “I’ve already been working.”

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