INQUIRER: We’re very pleased to announce that Kia Gregory, a columnist and reporter for the Philadelphia Weekly, will be joining The Inquirer as a City Desk reporter on April 4. Kia grew up in Philadelphia, graduated from Dobbins Vocational Technical High School, at 22nd and Lehigh, and worked for seven years as an accountant before the journalism addiction got her as a night student at Temple University. There, Kia’s gift for writing and her dedication to the craft became immediately apparent to all who came in contact with her. One of her professors, our own Howie Shapiro, remembers giving Kia one of his highest grades ever in an editing class. “She had such a good sense of how a story works,” Howie recalls. It wasn’t long before Kia was working for the Philadelphia Weekly, first as a freelancer and then, from 2003 until now, as a staff writer and columnist. At the Weekly, she’s written memorably about deadbeat dads, Hurricane Katrina, Acel Moore and the don’t-snitch culture in Philadelphia.
She began her no-snitch piece, “You Wouldn’t Snitch Either,” like this:
The 2100 block of Sigel Street is a narrow stretch of tightly packed row homes. It’s a block where on a sun-soaked Thursday afternoon in early summer, neighbors set up water ice stands and kids splash in an inflatable pool. It’s a block where little girls sit on a step and giggle over a notebook, and where little boys run to the corner store for a soda.
It’s a block where boarded-up houses are overshadowed by pretty ones, where neighbors celebrate children’s graduations by putting their pictures in the window, and where one front-door sign proclaims: “Jesus is lord.” It’s a block where neighbors congregate on front steps, and kids play in the street all day.
It’s also a block where, not too far away, there are shootings, and where less than a month ago, when a stray bullet critically wounded a 4-year-old girl who was playing outside, no one said a word.
Her name was Nashay Little.
Please join us in welcoming Kia and making her feel at home here in our newsroom. She may be making the rounds even before she officially starts, and we’re hoping she can hit the ground running in early April and help out with our primary coverage before settling into a permanent assignment, which has yet to be determined.