Race & Culture Unit at Action News Explained... With a Call for Your Ideas

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- In news, decisions are often made on stories that have to be told; but a new effort by ABC stations across the country, including 6abc, is also focused on stories that need to be told.

ABC Television has created a Race & Culture Unit composed of eight journalists across the country, including TaRhonda Thomas of WPVI. The Race & Culture team's mission is to tell stories that help to amplify all voices across our communities. It's a goal that has gotten attention in publications ranging from local media like the Philadelphia Tribune to national publications like Variety Magazine.

But what qualifies as a Race & Culture story? The answer is as varied and diverse as the people who live the stories.

One example of a Race & Culture story unfolding right now is the saga of refugees fleeing Afghanistan. We met one such person who made the same transition years ago and is now living in North Philadelphia. She shared her story with our Race & Culture team.

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"It's so hard to leave everything behind," said Yalda, a U.S. citizen and native of Afghanistan who came to America in 2013 after working as a translator and liaison for U.S. officials.



The team also looks into data such as statistics that revealed that gun violence was disproportionally affecting Black women in Philadelphia who accounted for more than 80% of female gun violence victims in the city.

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So far this year, 83 women have been shot in Philadelphia, and 66 of these women are Black.



The diversity beat is also about giving back. That includes the stories of a Northeast Philadelphia priest who's dedicated his life to helping Haiti.

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A group that has been working in Haiti since 1986, with a Philadelphia native at the helm, is working to help victims of the most recent earthquake.



We also covered nation's oldest historically-Black swim club dedicated to changing drowning statistics for children of color.

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Historic swim club in Yeadon, Delaware County, takes on a mission of teaching children.



Disability is also a type of diversity, as our team shared the story of Paralympic hopeful Frank Ganther who was among the countless people pleased with the return of expanded programs for people with disabilities.

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Along Boathouse Row on Kelly Drive, 30-year-old Frank Ganther thought about how much it meant to him to be out rowing on the water.


Looking through a diverse lens can also help us see history in the making as Philadelphia elected Greg Yorgey-Girdy, the first openly-gay Black man to serve as a municipal judge in the city. He, his husband and their three children opened their home to us to share their story.

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Pride Month is coming to a close, but the work for equality will continue long after the month is over. Much of that work is happening with local and state elected officials who are members of the LGBTQ community



As many stories as we see come out of our area, there are so many more across the country. That's why all of the journalists in the Race & Culture unit come together to create special programming and shows that can be found on streaming services including AppleTV, Roku, Hulu and the 6abc streaming app.

Those special programs have explored the Asian American community, including the growth of the Indian population in our area. They've also focused on the significance of Juneteenth, reflected on a year of protests and racial reckoning following the murder of George Floyd, and given platform to members of the transgender community.

As the Race & Culture unit looks forward to sharing more stories, you're invited to the contribute to the conversation. Share your story ideas and issues at 6abc.com/RaceAndCulture or use the form below:

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