The recent “Know Your Rights Symposium” provided the local community with an interactive opportunity to constructively discuss the subjects of basic legal rights and community-police relations. — Submitted Photo

State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus (PLBC), has been active and springing into action of late.

With her annual springtime initiatives that engage constituents throughout her district, the 190th Legislative District, Brown has been busy.

“Spring is a very active time in the district,” she said. “I look forward to hosting these annual events because they are proof that spring is indeed coming.”

Earlier this month Brown hosted several events for residents of all ages. Brown’s annual Spring Fling and Egg Hunts took place at Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse. She and her staff provided information on a variety of state programs, including CHIP, the state’s health insurance program for children; and the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for seniors and other eligible citizens. The event also featured healthy food tutorials, exercise demonstrations, arts and crafts, face painting and a silly hat parade.

In addition to her annual Prom Safety Event and Suit and Gown Giveaway at Greater Bible Way Temple, Brown recently led the second installment of the PLBC’s Know Your Rights Symposium.

More than 100 people attended the symposium, an occasion that provided the local community with an interactive opportunity to constructively discuss the subjects of basic legal rights and community-police relations.

A panel discussion comprised of local representatives from the law enforcement community, community-based organizations and legal/criminal defense fields included Nena Carter, Philadelphia Public Defenders Office; Michael Coard, attorney and activist; The Rev. Rodney Muhammad, president, Philadelphia NAACP; and Joy Soto, Philadelphia Mayor’s Office, executive director of the Philadelphia Youth Commission.

“We have all heard the horror stories about violence occurring between police and members of various communities,” Brown said. “Many incidents have arisen from the lack of understanding between the law enforcement community and those they are sworn to protect.

“The PLBC aims to offer advice and support to all Pennsylvania residents who believe their rights are not adequately being protected.”

To highlight the positive experiences of living in the 190th Legislative District, Brown is gearing up for the 2015 Legislative Image Awards.

Residents of the district are invited to nominate local women who have made a positive and quantifiable impact within the community or the individual’s spheres of influence. The awards ceremony will be held Saturday, May 16, at Christian Stronghold Church, 4701 Lancaster Ave, from 3 to 6 p.m.

“We acknowledge 190 women throughout our district and show them that we appreciate them,” Brown said. “We need support from area businesses to provide these women with tokens of appreciation and to show them that they matter.”

As advocates of education and youth, Brown and the PLBC are currently accepting applications for the PLBC’s Annual Scholarship Program and Competition for the 2015-2016 school year.

The scholarships are available for high school seniors and first-year college students who will be enrolled in an accredited two- or four-year Pennsylvania college or university.

Brown said the students applying for the scholarship must be minority students, have a minimum grade-point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, reside in the legislative district of and be sponsored by a PLBC member, and demonstrate leadership qualities. Each scholarship awarded is $1,000.

“I am pleased to announce that the PLBC will again play a role in helping minority students in their pursuit of higher education,” Brown said. “Interested and qualified students should move quickly to apply.”

Brown is currently facing charges for allegedly accepting cash from an undercover operative.

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