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Founder’s Day 2023: Bringing Joy and Power to the People!

todayAugust 25, 2023 655 4

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WURD Radio’s highly anticipated Founder’s Day celebration took place Friday, Aug. 18. Amid the usual excitement, this year’s Founder’s Day carried an extra layer of significance as it was set against the backdrop of WURD’s soon-to-be new home at 3601 Haverford Ave. – a development led by Lomax Real Estate Partners. The site elevated our usual Founder’s Day festivities to a vibrant block party and provided the space for a memorable celebration of our founder, Walter P. Lomax Jr., M.D. and the WURD community.

The day began with an opening ceremony which included libations led by Brother Shomari, host of Groundings and The Arc/k.

“We ask for special remembrance for the founder, the institution builder,” said Shomari, “‘cause we gotta remember the institution builders. It’s institutions that transcend generations. We are here even though our institution builders are no longer with us. We remember today the institution builder, Dr. Walter P. Lomax Jr., MD who built this institution, one of many, we call WURD Radio: Black Talk Media. That’s what ancestors do. We are our ancestors. Always remember, restore, never forget.” 

Following Shomari’s opening Valerie Gay graced the crowd with her rendition of the Black national anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Music Over Matters then engaged the audience in a healing drum circle, setting the tone for a day of jubilation and empowerment. 

The Lomax family, including Laura, Charles, Thomas, Sara, Bennett and matriarch Beverly Lomax, shared reflections on the life and enduring legacy of Dr. Lomax.

“This is special for us. This is special for our work. This is special for our community, but this is a message to other communities around the city, around the state, and around the country that they can do it too,” said Hughes. “They can do it as well. Just follow the lead, follow the path, and believe in yourself to know that you can get it done as well.”

Gauthier shared similar sentiments: “For generations, our voices, our perspectives, our stories did not make it onto the air or radio waves, and while I’m glad that many outlets have taken  meaningful strides to improve diversity and equity and inclusion, we deserve to not have just a seat at the table. We deserve our own table. Right? And that’s what Dr. Walter P. Lomax did for our community.”

The focus then shifted to a panel discussion on equitable development. Charles Lomax, CEO of Lomax Real Estate Partners; Donald Moore, senior vice president of real estate at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Tayyib Smith, chief strategist at The Growth Collective; Maitreyi Roy, executive director of Bartram’s Garden; and De’Wayne Drummond, president of the Mantua Civic Association joined Brother Shomari to delve into how real estate can be a catalyst for Black financial freedom and how to nurture attempts at genuine community-benefiting development.

The event transitioned to the Community Impact Awards, but before honoring Black changemakers in our city, Philly Jawns Love Yoga led everyone in a mindful movement session geared towards centering our hearts, minds and bodies. The awardees included:

  • Meeka Johnson, CEO of All Black Everything Pop-Up
  • Twin Sister Docs Dr. Delana Wardlaw and Dr. Elana McDonald
  • Jazmine Smith, founder of Eyekonz Lacrosse
  • Community organizer Rev. Dr. Andy Jenkins
  • Troy Wilmore, technical production manager, radio show producer and remote broadcast engineer for WURD Radio

The awards concluded with honoring longtime WURD host Nick Taliaferro, who bid his show “Evening WURDs” and the station a heartfelt farewell. This led to an insightful conversation on violence and poverty as a public health issue between host of “Wake Up with WURD,” Solomon Jones, and Penn Medicine emergency care physician Dr. Chidinma C. Nwakanma. The two discussed the crucial link between violence and poverty and how we can look at these two things from a health perspective rather than just as legislative issues. 

Finally, we rounded out our day with some dancing as we had a performance from Project Positive, a group of Philly b-boys who got the crowd jumping and ready for our closing dance party. Party Savers spun old-school beats that got people up and energized as they took us out with some classic line dances. 

This year’s Founder’s Day was a pivotal moment that blended history, community engagement and WURD’s dedication to joy and power to the people. It encapsulated our commitment to empower, uplift and connect the Black community in Philadelphia and further solidified WURD’s role as a beacon of unity and positive change.

See photos of the event below:

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Written by: Dylan Lewis

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