MyPhillyLawyer’s Dean Weitzman to be inducted as a member of the Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Nonviolence Inc.
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on March 31st, 2011
Dean I. Weitzman, the managing partner of MyPhillyLawyer, will be inducted today as one of nine new board members for The Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Nonviolence, Inc.
Weitzman and the other new members will join the group’s board in ceremonies at the offices of Herman J. “Pete” Matthews, president of AFSCME District Council 33 in Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Nonviolence works in the community to preserve and advance the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through educating, interpreting, advocating, and promoting non-violent theory and philosophy.
“I look forward to joining the board without hesitation because the work of the Philadelphia Martin Luther King Association for Non-Violence is really about helping kids in Philadelphia get off on the right foot to pursue a college education,” Weitzman said. “The main crux of what they do is that they mentor young kids and encourage them to continue along with their educations and that’s really important. I was a Philadelphia kid who could have gone either way, but I had good mentors who pushed me to finish my education. I went to Philadelphia public schools and Temple University and that’s really important for kids here to do if we’re going to continue to be a world-class city.”
“I believe in that,” Weitzman said. “I want to be a part of an organization that cherishes the kids of Philadelphia and helps them to become better citizens.”
Also being inducted in today’s ceremonies are local CBS-3 TV news personality Ulysses “Ukee” Washington; Michael A. Rashid, the president of CEO of the AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies; retired Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Doris Smith-Ribner; Philadelphia City Councilman-at-Large James Kenney; radio personality E. Steven Collins of RadioOne; Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers; Lincoln University Trustee Dr. Donna Laws; Pastor Dr. Bruce N. Alick of Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Germantown.
The Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Nonviolence, Inc. was founded by the late city activist Dr. C. Delores Tucker and a group of local leaders in 1983, 17 years after the assassination of Dr. King, according to the group. Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, knew that Philadelphia held a special place in her late husband’s heart and thought it fitting to have a permanent organization dedicated to his ideals of peace and freedom here in the city.
The Philadelphia branch of the group is the only affiliate commissioned in the nation and the world by Mrs. King and the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia, according to the group.
Joy Nottage, the executive director of the Philadelphia group, said the board here consists of 24 members who serve terms of four to six years each. Responsibilities of board members include fundraising, management of the programs run by the group, organizational management and attending quarterly board meetings.
The incoming members will bring in “a new energy that we desperately need,” Nottage said. “They’re a new generation of leaders.”
The group runs workshops on non-violence and sends out leaders into city schools and other organizations to talk about non-violence, based on the six principles of non-violence supported by Dr. King, she said.
Among the major educational programs organized and run by the group each year are a College for Teens curriculum, which is a year-round program that helps students in middle school and high school to succeed in high school and beyond, Nottage said. There is also a summer component where students spend time on college campuses to get some experience on campuses.
The group also runs the Educational Ambassadors of Non-Violence Club, a component of the College for Teens program, where students learn to debate, give speeches, learn about the political system and train to be leaders in their communities and schools. Nottage said.
“We’re doing something 365 days a year,” she said.
Each December, the group also organizes two special events for underprivileged children and families during the Christmas holiday season to provide food boxes, toys and warm wishes for needy families.
The new board members will help improve and expand the group’s diverse work, Nottage said.
“I thing that we have some great new people who really love the work of the King Association,” she said. “I think it’s just going to take us to another level.”