Portraits

 

When I was growing up, one of my favorite movies was “Blazing Saddles.” I think it was also the first R-rated movie that my younger brother and I went to. Aside from memories of my sibling literally laughing in the aisles, I also remember the striking figure of Cleavon Little as Sheriff Bart, the handsome black sheriff with a droll sense of humor (who fought both the bad guys and the racist townsfolk he was protecting). Here in Philadelphia, we also have a handsome black (deputy) sheriff, Officer Dante Austin. We spoke to Deputy Dante about his role as the first LGBT liaison to the Sheriff’s Office and his time in military service during “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

One of my favorite authors, Mark Twain, once said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

There’s a hidden gem right in Old City. The National Liberty Museum may sound like a place where you can learn about the trials and tribulations of our founding fathers — especially since it’s located a stone’s throw from Independence Hall — but, in actuality, it’s a beautiful museum dedicated to teaching a different perspective on liberty and equality. Here, visitors can learn about a heroes like Jackie Robinson, Nelson Mandela, Harvey Milk and young (s)hero Malala Yousafzai through interactive exhibits, contemporary works of art and illustrated stories.

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