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May 31, 2024 30 mins
Interfaith Philadelphia, is a  nonprofit whose mission is to equip individuals and communities for interfaith engagement, builds collaborative relationships and stands in solidarity with our diverse neighbors.  I speak to Abby Stamelman Hocky, Executive Director of Interfaith Philadelphia about the organization and how its celebrating it’s 20-year anniversary.  
 https://www.interfaithphiladelphia.org/
 https://www.interfaithphiladelphia.org/2024dtu-awards  

On June 8th there will be a  special concert celebrating the newly inaugurated Marian Anderson Hall! Music.  Artistic Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin commands the stage, leading The Philadelphia Orchestra alongside a constellation of guest stars including GRAMMY Award–winning vocalists Audra McDonald and Angel Blue and the acclaimed jazz pianist Marcus Roberts. These phenomenal performers join GRAMMY®, Emmy®, and Golden Globe® Award–winning and Academy Award®–nominated artist, actor, and producer Queen Latifah, who will host the evening honoring the memory of the great contralto, civil rights icon, and Philadelphian Marian Anderson. I speak to Marcus Roberts about his extraordinary career and what Marian Anderson’s legacy means to him.
 Marcus’ website: https://www.marcusroberts.com/
Concert page: https://www.philorch.org/performances/our-season/events-and-tickets/2023-2024-season/verizon-hall/great-stages-concert/    

I Speak to Joanna Otero Cruz, Executive Director and President of Women Against Abuse talks about the services provided by the organization individuals experiencing intimate partner abuse.  They are hosting 2024 Dish It Up where citizens can  enjoy a night of delicious food from Philadelphia's top women chefs, all while raising money for a crucial cause! THURSDAY, JUNE 6TH 6 to 9 pm, with VIP reception beginning at 5 pm Vie, 600 N Broad St, Philadelphia https://www.womenagainstabuse.org/events/dish-it-up https://www.womenagainstabuse.org/
 24 hours hotline 1.866.723.3014
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Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
(00:00):
Good morning, and welcome to what'sgoing on a show about making a difference
in our lives and our communities.I'm Lorraine ballatmorl We'll tell you about a
spectacular concert kicking off the Kimmel Centerat a hall renamed after opera singer and
civil rights icon Marian Anderson. We'llalso tell you about a delicious event coming
up to raise funds for Women OrganizedAgainst Abuse. First, we are certainly

(00:23):
living in challenging times. It seemsas though we are more divided as a
country and as a world than everbefore. But there's always people working to
bring us together to support tolerance andunderstanding. One of those organizations is inter
Faith Philadelphia. Since two thousand andfour, this organization has challenged Philadelphians to

(00:44):
dare to understand one another, buildingour region as one that reflects the vibrancy
of a religiously diverse democracy in whichall people are valued, distinctive traditions are
welcomed, and people of diverse backgroundscollaborate the shape a just and compassionate society.
That is a quote from Interfaith Philadelphia, and boy, that is a
powerful message and mission. Joining usright now is its executive Director of Interfaith

(01:11):
Philadelphia, Abby Stamelman Hockey, thankyou so much for joining us today.
Thank you very much for having me. Well, you are celebrating twenty years,
is that right we are? Yeah, twenty years is a good long
time and the work that you aredoing is certainly needed now more than ever.
Tell us how you do what youdo well. Interfaith Philadelphia really invites

(01:34):
all Philadelphias to be part of thisaspirational vision that you so eloquently expressed.
It takes all of us to reallylean into one another and with curiosity,
with openness, with respect. Itreally isn't that difficult a tesk to do.
It's something within all of our reach, and so we invite people from

(01:55):
all sectors, young old religious leaders, leaders of all sectors to help us
accomplish the decision. Currently, weare undergoing a real crisis in the Middle
East. Certainly, what's happening inGaza and in Israel is of concern to
all folks, but it also hasresulted in a lot of conflict between those
who are on one side of theissue and those on the other side of

(02:19):
the issue. And sometimes it seemsas though both sides will will never come
to terms with one another. SoI'm wondering if you have any thoughts about
how we can navigate in this verydivisive scenario right now where folks are very
convinced that they are on the rightside of history and others are saying they
aren't. And you know, it'sa difficult time, and I think all

(02:40):
of us are having a challenge tryingto navigate what is the most thoughtful and
kind way to address our conflict.That's one we have so many But I
wonder if you have any thoughts onthat. Yes, that's certainly been the
overlay of our work since October seventh, And really people are wondering how to

(03:01):
have these conversations, and we invitepeople to do so because the best thing
is to stay in relationship. Toask people that are in your circles,
how does this conflict affect you?Do you have family friends in the region,
have you traveled to that region.We are not likely to solve the
problem here on these shores, butwe can understand what affects us deeply,

(03:24):
why it keeps us up at night, what is painful about it for us,
for our family, for our communities, and what are the repercussions of
not understanding. What would you likepeople to understand about this situation from your
vantage point, Well, you arean interfaith organization, and I wonder if
you can tell us more about howfaith enters into the picture of what you

(03:45):
do. First of all, wedefine faith as any way that people orient
around religion, so that could beworldview, ethics, values, People could
be agnostic, they could be observantof their faith. Part of what we
feel is we're here to pick upthe bold idea that William Pence started us
with back in the day, thisidea of freedom of religious expression with not

(04:09):
one dominant religion, and he andothers could never have known the diversity of
faith traditions that have flourished, really, and expressions and practices and rituals and
ideas that have flourished under that boldidea. So we feel like we're here
in this century, in our regionto pick up that bold idea and carry
it into the future. Tell usmore about some specific actions that Interfaith Philadelphia

(04:31):
has taken over the course of thelast year. You mentioned October being,
you know, just a signature eventwhen missiles went into Israel, and that
triggered what's going on right now toa tremendous loss of life and suffering for
those Palestinians living on the Gaza Strip, but also for those Israelis who've lost

(04:54):
people to the hostage taking. Andwe're all so so many people are just
stuck in their particul ular points ofview. Tell us more about how you're
helping people navigate through that, butalso looking to the larger picture to allow
us to be more tolerant, tobe more accepting, to be more understanding

(05:15):
of one another. Yes, wehave three areas of work. We work
with young people from middle school,high school, and college to build the
skills they need to navigate into religiousintracultural relationships. We feel that the best
way to be a good citizen isto have a great combination of knowledge,
experience, relationships, and skills.So we have workshops to your point that

(05:41):
we call navigating difficult Conversations. Peopleare really open to practicing these skills because
it really does take practice. Allof us have to exercise those muscles,
and it really starts with curiosity.We actually developed a curricular tool that threads
across our youth and adult programming thatwe call Passport to Understanding, or our
Call to action is dare to understand. Our five practices are be curious,

(06:03):
welcome in venture, out stand tall, and stand with And those are practices
that all of us can do.And we find that there really can help
us exercise the kinds of ways thatwe interact with people in the workplace,
where we go to worship, wherewe play, where we engage in civic
activities. Well, you are celebratingtwo decades, are you doing anything special

(06:29):
to mark the occasion. What we'redoing for our twentieth anniversary is we have
a gathering of really a reunion ofsorts of the alumni of our youth program.
We had a signature initiative called Walkingthe Walk for high school students.
We have had almost a thousand studentsengaged in that program over the last eighteen
years or so, and we're invitingalumni back to tell us the stories of

(06:51):
what did they do during their highschool years in this service learning initiative that
has helped them navigate the world aroundthem them in this particular moment on campuses
and career. Now that the oldestof them is around thirty six years old,
we're learning for them and we're chartinga strategic plan where we want to.
We have a great foundation for workthat we do with youth, with

(07:14):
leaders of all sectors and with religiousleaders around a religious leaders Council table,
and we want to see where's thebest inflection point. How can we make
the most impact in our region?How can Philadelphia be a model for interreligious
engagement and as part of a vitalplural democracy. While we certainly do encourage
the work of Interfaith Philadelphia, wecould certainly use more tolerance, more understanding

(07:35):
with one another. For those whoare interested in finding out more about the
various programs that you're engaged in tohelp us achieve some of the goals that
the Interfaith Philadelphia is engaged with,how do they find out more? Come
to our website at Interfaith Philadelphia dotorg. Join us on June sixth,
Thirsday evening June six at seven o'clockat the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral for our gathering

(08:00):
to mark our twentieth anniversary and joinour programs and workshops and invite us into
your community to walk together in thesetimes. And before I let you go,
I wonder if you can just sharewith us one thought that you'd like
our listeners to know about what yourorganization is all about and what they can
perhaps gain from getting involved with inthe faith. Philadelphia. Thank you.

(08:26):
What always comes to my mind andmy heart is Howard Thurman's wisdom that we
really are seeking to see each andevery one of us as having infinite dignity
and worth, and once we do, we really want to be enriched by
our differences, by our uniqueness,and by living into and building the home
we want to live in together.I love that someone once said that this

(08:48):
country is not really a melting pot, but a salad, and we're able
to look at a salad and seeall the individual unique elements that make a
salad delicious, while understanding that alltogether it makes something that's really good to
eat. And I suppose that's reallythe goal and the promise of our country

(09:11):
is to be able to have sucha diverse population, with so many people
from different ethnicities, different religions,different areas of economy. If we can
all get together and see each otherfor who we are, the essence of
who we are, then we certainlywould be better for it. Thank you
so much for joining us here today. Abby Stammelman Hockey, Executive Director of

(09:35):
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On June eighth of this month atthe Marion Anderson Hall at the Kimmel Center
for the Performing Arts. In fact, that hall will be premiering for the
first time under its new name,honoring the great opera singer and civil rights
leader Marian Anderson is going to bean extraordinary concert with Grammy, Emmy and

(13:50):
Golden Globe Award winning and Academy Awardnominated artist, actor and producer Queen Latifah.
She's hosting the concert with performances bymusic and artistic director Yanique Nazik Sagan
and the Philadelphia Orchestra with soprano AngelBlue, actress and singer Odra McDonald,
soprano Latonia Moore, and jazz pianistMarcus Roberts. In fact, Marcus Roberts

(14:13):
is joining us right now. AndMarcus, thank you so much. And
I understand that all of the peoplethat are performing are in some ways a
trailblazer in their fields. Tell usmore, well, yes, well,
you figure it's a momentous occasion.It's a great orchestra commemorating and giving honor
to one of the greatest singers periodof the twentieth century. And of course

(14:37):
all of us who are participating wantto honor her in our own way,
through our own struggles and things thatwe've had to endure and go through,
still seek a certain level of excellence. But most importantly the purpose of a
concert is so that the people cancome and get away from their troubles for
a little bit and enjoy some goodmusic. And that's what we're there to

(14:58):
do. Well, you are arenot only a pianist, but you're also
a composer, and you have beenhailed as the genius of the modern piano.
And you're also fun. You're alsohighlighted on sixty Minutes profiling your life
and in a segment entitled the Virtuoso. You have come an extraordinarily long way

(15:18):
from your early roots in Jacksonville andat the Florida School for the Deaf and
Blind to your amazing career as amodern jazz musician. Tell us a little
more about the inspiration for your journey, because you are, in fact a
trailblazer in your own right. Well, thank you so much. Well,
yes, I am from Jacksonville,Florida. I started off playing in church

(15:41):
by ear. I took piano finallyfrom a piano teacher when I was around
twelve or so. When I usedto play in church, that's really when
I started to figure out how toimprovise because a lot of the older ladies
that would sing, they changed keysevery sourch re measures, So you had
to figure out we in the plantnow or in Guaere. So that was

(16:03):
always helpful. But the most importantthing my mother always taught me that when
you play for people, it's veryimportant that they feel something from what you
play emotionally. The great poet MayaAngela always said that people will forget what
you said, they may forget whatyou did, but they will never forget

(16:25):
how you made them feel. AndI think that's a central premise to all
the work that I do, startingfrom childhood and through the different things that
you endure, like Duke Ellington said, problems or opportunities. So when I
lost my sight at five or sixyears old, I always viewed it as
a challenge. I mean, I'venever been somebody who celebrated being blind.

(16:47):
I consider it something I have tomanage and make sure it just don't get
in the way of what I wantto do. And so I've had to
just find my own way. Forexample, when I started writing pieces for
orchestra, I had to figure outhow to use all these programs so that
I could get whatever my thoughts werein a format where a cited musician could
read it. Now, that tooklike twenty five years to do that.

(17:08):
At the same time you're trying todevelop your skills as a pianist, you're
working on mentoring young people in thebands that I've led, you know,
making sure that as many people asI have the ability to provide opportunities for,
I can give them a chance toyou know, express their creative imagination
and their vision of art as well. So it's really been really like solving

(17:30):
problems. That's what we do.And we serve our public, we serve
our audiences. Well, you certainlyhave done that so beautifully and again trailblazers
all the people participating, but certainlynot the least of which was Marion Anderson
herself, who was an opera singer. She was from Philadelphia, and the

(17:53):
most extraordinary moment in her life waswhen she was denied the opportunity to sing
it Institution Hall in Washington, DCbecause she was black and Eleanor Roosevelt,
who was the first Lady at thattime. That's not the end of this
story. And so Marion Anderson endedup singing in front of the Lincoln Memorial

(18:14):
before tens of thousands of people.What does Marion Anderson and her legacy mean
to you? She represents, honestly, not just black people, but indigenous
people, minority people, disable people, anybody who is unfairly stereotyped because of
a cast system that provides people withvisual feedback on who they are, and

(18:38):
then judgment is made as to whatrole they should play and how far they
should go. And the fact thatshe endured all of this scrutiny and all
she wanted to do is be agreat singer and sing for people. But
then you're going to always have folkswho are going to misidentify that and decide
who is destined to who are recomfortablewith playing these roles. And when you

(19:03):
see somebody go through all of thestruggle, but at the same time it's
such a triumphant, heroic figure withsuch integrity and artistic greatness despite all of
this, then it gives you aroadmap to fight through your own struggles with
the same kind of dignity. Andyou have this sense that there were people
who came before you who laid apack to let you know that you can,

(19:26):
in fact do these things. Ithink it's great that they're honoring her
by naming this hall to such agreat figure, Yes, extraordinary performer,
civil rights icon and performing at TheGreat Stages Concert will be honoring Marion Anderson
on June eighth at eight pm atMarion Anderson Hall at the Kimmel Center for

(19:48):
the Performing Arts. In that hallhas been named in honor of Marion Anderson.
Marcus, thank you so much forjoining us here today. If you
want tickets, you can go toEnsemble Arts Philly and the Philadelphia Orchestra dot
org. That's Phila ORC dot org. Thank you so much for really looking
forward to an extraordinary evening of music. Thank you so much for joining us

(20:10):
today. Thank you, Lorine,my pleasure. Intimate partner abuse is an
issue that cuts across every category thereis, whether it's young, old,

(20:32):
rich, poor, professionals, bluecollar. It is something that impacts every
community. That's where Women Against Abusecomes in handy. They have tremendous resources
to help those who are survivors ofintimate partner abuse or are currently involved in
a relationship like that and want toget out. We are speaking right now
with Joanna o'tera Cruz. She isexecutive director and President of Women Against Abuse.

(21:00):
Thank you so much for joining ushere today, and first of all,
tell us what are the resources thatare available for women and some men
too through the organization Women Against Abuse, Thank you, Lorraine. And yes,
we serve everyone, no matter whatyour gender or identity. And we
provide shelter services, legal services bothin criminal core and family course, so

(21:23):
individuals who are trying to obtain aprotection from abusesorder. We provide public education
in the schools we're middle schools andhigh school as well as community educational workshops.
And we do transitional housing as well. Longer term housing and transitional housing
are services that we're able to provide. And of course we do advocacy both

(21:45):
at the local level but also throughoutthe commonwealth. Joanna, what are some
of the obstacles that people experience whenperhaps seeking help but maybe not knowing how
to find help. What are someof the obstacles that people face. Yes,
sometimes I think people don't know whereto turn. So, you know,
we always say we've operated a twentyfour hour hotline, so if in
doubt or you don't know where togo or how to go about something to

(22:07):
obtain information, that is the firstplace you can go. And then numbers
one eight sixty six seven to three, three zero one four. We provide
services in up to one hundred andeighty languages. It is kind of like
our front line to accessing services.How to think that, you know,
domestic balance is is complex. Right, You're talking about being in a relationship

(22:30):
where you are in love and youknow these things happen, right, And
unfortunately, domestic abuse is not linear. It's a psycle of power and control,
and oftentimes after an explosive situation,there is the honey what we call
the honeymoon stage. So individuals arevery apologetic, and so you fall into

(22:52):
this is that person going to change? You know the next time it won't
be the same, these empty promisesand and so it's complicated again if you're
asking someone to leave a relationship.What happens with the finances today? And
age is extremely expensive. We knoweven rents have increased tremendousy. All you
have to do is go buy yourgroceries and you see how much the inflation

(23:14):
has taken place. So the realitiesof life in terms of what it takes
to take care of children, toraise a family, and even to have
a safe place to rest your head, it can't be taken lightly, right,
And so oftentimes what I say,rather than victim blaming, right,
why does that person stay Truly,it is our job as a society to

(23:34):
begin to change the conversation about what'shappening that that individual who is supposed to
love their partner hurting their partner right, whether it's physically and mentally, psychsychologically,
financially, all of those ways.Sometimes there's cultural barriers as well,
language being one of them. Notunderstanding the laws here in this country.

(23:56):
So we have a lot of peoplethat migrate from other countries, and you
know, laws of abandonment of theirhomes is true and real, especially in
some of our islands and Central Americancountries where they don't exist here, but
the fear that they may and haverepercussions for doing so is real and so
and keeping in mind that it isall about power and control, So someone

(24:19):
who may not have status, legalstatus here, the fear again retaliation,
going to ice, or holding theirpaperwork behind, all of those things are
truly complicated and real. I thinkthat those are among some of the barriers
for sure of why people just can'tjust get up and leave a relationship.

(24:41):
Also, it's important for friends andfamily to understand what the signs of abuse
are in someone that they love.And I wonder if you can point out
some of the red flags that peopleshould look out for. Finance thrives in
isolation. Let me just start there. So the more the perpetrator has the
individual isolated away from their families,the better they feel that they can control

(25:03):
them. Right, And oftentimes that'sa tactic to isolate them from family and
friends. You know that person,you know your sister's really into your business,
that's because she's jealous of you.Or if you feel that someone does
not have the free will to makea decision about where can they go to
that party or not? Or youknow, make their own decisions. And

(25:26):
I say that, you know,I understand in a relationship, you know
you need to have communication, Butwhen your partner prevents you from making an
informed decision, even if you disagree, right, that's part of a relationship.
You should be able to disagree orevery respectful manner. Then that's that's
a big red flag. If someonedoesn't have access to their own money or

(25:49):
doesn't have access to their accounts,they don't have access to what the children
can and can't do in a veryhealthy way. Having those dis likes to
decide can they go on this tripor not? But you know, or
being excluded from making decisions. Thoseare definitely some red flags. I've had
folks who have said, like,I can't even I can't eat that no

(26:11):
more because I need to lose weight, Like he doesn't like me this way.
I mean, these are some reallyreally challenging things to hear, and
I think that those are definitely clearsigns. What I would say, though,
if someone discloses to you that they'rein an unhealthy relationship, first thing
not to do is tell them whatto do. It's important for you to

(26:33):
just lend an ear and give themaffirmation that it's unfortunate that they're going through
that, but that there is helpavailable and many people have gone through this,
and that they also can be survivorsof this, and then really ask
them what can I do to supportyou as you're dealing with So it's always

(26:53):
about their decision. That could besomething like I'll hold your hand while you
call the hotline, or you needassistance to get downtown to speak to an
attorney. It could be anything.But the last thing we want is to
victim blame and it has to betheir decision because each case is so unique
and different. Well, I canimagine that there are a lot of folks

(27:15):
out there who have friends and familywho are experiencing intimate partner abuse and the
resources that Women Against Abuse are tremendousand they are a result of the support
that we in the community can givethis wonderful organization. And you have a
great fundraiser coming out that sounds absolutelydelicious. Tell us more about it.
Yes, we have Dishauldo, whichis Philly's best women's chef competition. Professionally

(27:41):
oftentimes dominated by men, dishub reallyprovides women leading the way in Philadelphia's culinary
arts with an opportunity to showcase theirskills and at the same time while benefiting
a great cause. So this yearwe celebrate diversity Philly style. Philadelphia is
a culinary superstar, as we know, home to the Italian Market, Chinatown,

(28:04):
and the Reading Terminal. So justa few to names, so guess
we'll taste what makes our fully reallydelicious and great. The date, the
time, the location, Yes,yes, yes, so it will be
taking place June sixth at the beautifulv Ballroom in Center City. It starts
at five o'clock as the VIP sixo'clock for the general entry. If folks

(28:26):
are interested, they can visit WomenAgainst Abuse dot org. You can buy
your tickets. There's lots of informationthere. We have some great lineups coming.
We have about fifteen chefs restaurants beingrepresented. I'll say a few,
Fox and Son, South Philly,Barbaricoa and Casa Mehicano. We also have

(28:47):
Cry Baby, Pasa Cantina, LaMantina, Juana Tamala at the Table,
Jacob's Northwest, and we also haveHigh Street. We have many more.
So again we have great diversity.They will be presented by amazing women's shots.
Fantastic I'm hungry already. Well,if people want more information, you
mentioned the website, but let's repeatit and also the number the hotline that

(29:11):
people can call if they need help. Yes, let me start with the
hotline. It is one eight sixtysix seven to three three zero one four
and our website is Women against Abusedot org. Well, we hope everyone
comes to this fantastic event and supportsuch a great organization that's been around for
so long helping those who are experiencingdomestic violence intimate partner abuse. There is

(29:37):
help. All you have to dois give them a call. Women Against
Abuse Executive director and President, Joannao'tera Cruz, thank you so much.
Thank you. You can listen toall of today's interviews by going to our
station website and typing in keyword Community. You can also listen on the iHeartRadio
app Y Words Philadelphia Community Podcast.Follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Where'm

(30:00):
at, Lorraine Ballard? I'm LorraineBallard morel and I stand for service to
our community and media that empowers.What will you stand for? You've been
listening to what's going on, andthank you
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