For the past 30 years Ms. Celestine Marks has been a leader in her community. As the Director of the Conestoga Recreation Center Ms. Celeste has ensured on going programming for her community through the center, despite limited resources. The very popular Conestoga Angles, the Conestoga drill team, was 1 of 2 successful programs Ms. Celeste brought to the center from her community work. It has been through Ms. Celeste’s efforts that the Askia Coalition has been able to meet regularly and and serve the Conestoga community. The huge turn out at the Annual Conestoga Give-Back Day is a testament to the impact of Ms. Celeste’s work and importance of the center.
Despite Ms. Celeste’s continued efforts to keep the Conestoga Rec Center viable and open, the City is actively working to get rid of Ms. Celese. Claiming that Ms. Celeste is not a resident of the community she has lived in since before her involvement with the rec center. Ms. Celeste has until January 14th to petition the current ruling which would strip Ms. Celeste of her responsibilities and retirement pay. Ms. Celeste was abruptly notified of the Commissioner’s decision in mid December; the suspension letter was the first correspondence Ms. Celeste received after the evidence hearing in October.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
1.Tell somebody! Thousands of people have come through the Conestoga Rec Center and have benefitted from its programs, let your friends and family know what the City is trying to do to Ms. Celeste.
2. Write a letter attesting to Ms. Celeste’s character. Letters should be addressed to Mr. Michael DiBerardinis, Philadelphia Commissioner of Parks and Recreation 1515 Arch Street, 10th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102-1587. PLEASE DO NOT MAIL IN YOUR LETTER, the Askia Coalition will be collecting individuals letters to be submitted together.
3. Sign the petition to keep Ms. Celeste in her post as the Director of the Conestoga Rec Center.
4. Call your elected officials. Over the years Ms. Celeste has cultivated positive relationships with Chaka Fattah (215.387.6404,215.848.9386) Jannie Blackwell (215-686-3418, (215-686-3419), Vincent Hughes (215-879-7777) and most notably Curtis Jones (215-686-3416, 215-686-3417). Hold these politicians to task and and request that they advocate on Ms. Celeste’s behalf.
ON SATURDAY JANUARY 7TH THE CONESTOGA REC CENTER WILL BE OPEN FOR PEOPLE TO DROP OFF THEIR LETTERS OF SUPPORT AND SIGN MS. CELESTE’S PETITION.