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Thus far the African-American entities that have raised their voices for public education in recent months have been major churches, civil rights groups, and community and education organizers. On Saturday, add to that, the city’s most-recognized African-American business leaders.

AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies President & CEO Michael A. Rashid will join Universal Companies Founder & Chairman Kenny Gamble in leading a “rally for education,” according to a news release from Universal Companies.

The release’s heading states “Business leaders to spearhead rally for education.” But the list of others due to speak at the rally reads like a” who’s-who” of local African-American leaders in politics and labor, too.: PA State Rep. Dwight Evans, State Rep. and PA Legislative Black Caucus Chairwoman Vanessa Lowery Brown, Philadelphia City Council Majorority Leader Curtis Jones, well-known Republican Renee Amoore of The Amoore Group, Inc. and Ryan Boyer, business manager for Laborers District Council of Philadelphia and Vicinity.

So expect some impassioned speeches at Solution’s Banquet Hall, 4414 Germantown Ave., 1 p.m.

Universal Companies actually includes education among its areas of focus– along with real estate, health and wellness and community development. However he generally leaves the education work to others. Meanwhile Rashid, named Philadelphia Business Journal Minority Business Leader of 2011, was called a “power player” in a Black Enterprise magazine story last year.

Saturday’s rally will “focus on the ineffectiveness of education in the African American community, violence, safety, health and welfare of African American children, high drop-out rates amongst African-American children and adequate funding for our schools,” according to the release.

If the leaders could indeed spur real improvement in those areas, that would good for local business.

Sheila's Shelf
Sheila Simmons - Contributor

Sheila Simmons brings many years of writing and communications experience to her work for Liberty City Press. She began her professional writing career at the Philadelphia Daily News, where she covered Business, City Hall and Education.

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Liberty City Press is an independent weekly newspaper distributed by the Philadelphia Multi-Cultural Media Network whose members include Philadelphia Sunday Sun, The Philadelphia Gay News, Al Dia, The Metro Chinese Weekly and The Metro Viet News.

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