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Philly’s Black women firefighters tell their stories

Just under 100 of the Philadelphia Fire Department’s uniformed members are Black women, about 4% of the total.

  • That number has grown significantly over the past decades, in part because of a 1970s lawsuit and consent decree that forced the city to diversify its firefighting ranks.

Once dismissed as “quota hires” but now called “boss,” five of Philly’s Black women firefighters tell their stories to Lisa Bryant for Billy Penn.

West Philadelphia takes over the Oscars

Last night’s Academy Awards featured quite a few nominees with Philly connections, including Questlove and Will Smith.

  • Arguably West Philly’s best known celebrities, the two made news when Smith marched on stage to slap Chris Rock as the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife while presenting Questlove’s award.

Reactions poured in from around the world, with some decrying Smith’s turn to violence and others lauding him for standing up for his wife. Philadelphians mostly noted the absolute Philly-ness of the whole situation.

Philly startup brings zero-waste delivery to your door

Founded by Wharton grads as a sustainable alternative to Amazon, The Rounds was inspired by the classic “milkman” model. The service delivers bulk essentials in refillable containers that are later picked up for reuse — and you can also add local faves like Lost Bread Co. bread and La Colombe draft lattes to your order.

There’s a free trial deal for Billy Penn readers: get your first month of deliveries free plus $25 toward your first order.

Note: This is a paid placement, but also a pretty good deal.

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled 


Philadelphia is partnering with the United Way to launch 2-1-1 as a local 24-hour violence prevention hotline, and Mayor Kenney joins Council President Clarke and other officials in North Philly to provide details (1 p.m.). The United Way currently runs 2-1-1 as a way for people to connect with health and human services; the most common calls are about housing and shelter.


??‍♀️ Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the nation’s highest-ranking Black woman in law enforcement to date, joins Philly Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw for a free virtual chat. (12 p.m. Thursday, March 31)

? The Philly Pigeon hosts a night of live poetry at PhilaMOCA in the Spring Arts District (fka Eraserhood). Tickets are $10-$30. (8:30 p.m. Friday, April 1)

? The Trans Art Mart pops up outside Love City Brewing with dozens of vendors. A portion of the $5 admission goes to Housing Reparations Philly and Cars for Philly. (12 to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 2)