Category Archives: Philly

NBC: Women Detained in Federal Immigrant Center Complain of Feeling Unsafe

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 9.25.09 PM

As usual, stellar reporting from Alexandra Villareal on what’s been going on inside the Berks County Residential Center since May.

But after 10 families who had stayed long-term at the facility were deported in May, men and their children replaced them, said Karen Hoffmann, a legal advocate for immigrants at Berks.

[One] woman, who was recently released from Berks after a months-long stay and asked to remain anonymous while her paperwork is processed, said: “All of the women were uncomfortable with this situation.”

When an influx of men arrived a few months ago, the county-run center placed them in dormitories adjacent to mothers and their kids, Hoffmann said and ICE has confirmed.

In May, while one of the mothers was resting in her room, a male resident reportedly walked in uninvited. Alarmed, the woman told her attorneys that she asked what he was doing there. He responded that he was searching for water, despite the cafeteria and snack areas being in other, distant parts of the center.

Some of the women at Berks have fled from domestic violence and sexual abuse in their countries, and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder because of their experiences.

Read more about the inexcusably reckless situation ICE has created at Berks at NBC New York >>



#FergusonPHL: Philadelphia reacts to Ferguson news

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 1.09.32 PMNBC Philadelphia used one of my shots from last night’s Ferguson solidarity protests in Philly, after the announcement of the decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.

More of my photos and video from last night on are up on Demotix.

There’s another protest scheduled for 4pm today in North Philadelphia, at Broad and Cecil B. Moore. The march will start at City Hall at 3:30pm and head north. Facebook event link:

You Go Girl

You Go Girl by Karen Hoffmann
You Go Girl, a photo by Karen Hoffmann on Flickr.

The Divine Lorraine Hotel, rear view, Philadelphia, PA.

Check out this Philly Mag story on its new developer, with great (and logistically difficult) photos of the interior.

UPDATE: Some Temple student was urban-spelunking inside at night, with predictable results. Fortunately he is okay, with just some scars and a tattoo to show for it. Story in the Inky.

A day in the life (or “Watch out, Karen has a cameraphone again”)

I should change the description of this blog. “Freelance journalist” doesn’t really apply anymore — I’m mostly law student these days. What to post, then, but low-res photos and highlights of the last 24 hours:

– Drive from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia with accidental detour to New Jersey (6 hours).

– Quick grocery store run to get ingredients for boyfriend’s award-winning (seriously!) “Fire Rescue” chili — including four jalapenos and copious amounts of cayenne — for next day’s soup sale fundraiser.

Even funnier after a long drive. (This did not go in the chili.)

– At midnight, finally arrive home to find key doesn’t work in the front door of my apartment building. Belatedly notice a handwritten sign that the locks have been changed.

– Call phone number on sign. Get voicemail.

– Per further instructions, “KNOCK[ED] LOUD!!!” Repeatedly.

– 20 minutes go by. It’s 40 degrees out.

– Longsuffering neighbor finally comes to the door in robe and slippers. Gives me a copy of the new key.

– Throw chili fixins in Meghan‘s wonderful crockpot that she generously donated for the occasion.

– Sleep (3 hours)

– Drink coffee #1.

– Drive visiting boyfriend to airport.

– Sadness and/or lack of sleep cause me to overshoot the return trip not once but twice, first by going south when I should’ve gone north, then vice versa.

Philly does look pretty in the early morning though.

– Figure out how to turn on heat in apartment for the first time.

– Fix the watery chili, lug crackpot on walk to school. Covering towel does a surprisingly good job of keeping me from sloshing any on myself. Meghan, I did not drop it!

– Buy coffee #2.

– Go to meeting with professor and try to make sense. Notice hands are shaking and I’m playing too much with the knickknacks on her desk.

– Go to class #1.

– Sell chili.

People seem to like it, it sells out fast.

– For breakfast/lunch I eat the bottom scrapings, and a Fruity Pebbles Krispie concoction from the table next door.

– Buy coffee #3. Hands still shaking; now stomach starting to protest too.

– Class #2. While trying not to focus on weird bodily sensations in Torts, I am cold called to discuss the case of a woman who was mugged for $19,000 worth of jewelry in the parking lot of a Sam’s Club. Begging the question, if you own jewelry that nice, what are you doing in a Sam’s Club?

– Answer in words — English words, even (I think), make it through the rest of class.

– Head home, empty crockpot noticeably easier to carry. Don’t know what time it is or what I’m supposed to do now so I figured I’d update this blog.

Still haven’t ascertained why exactly they decided to change the locks and not inform tenants.

So that’s what’s been going on with me. How’s everyone out there? I mean, hi Mom.