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The Why

Author: WHYY

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Listen to episodes of WHYY’s program, "The WHY."
227 Episodes
Princeton Theological Seminary recently announced that it would set aside nearly $28 million for reparations to make up for the school’s ties to slavery — one of the largest efforts of its kind. The Why’s Annette John-Hall explains why some black students at the seminary are rejecting the proposal, and how it’s forcing a bigger conversation about what making reparations should actually look like.
New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew was one of only two House Democrats to vote against the impeachment inquiry playing out in hearings this week. WHYY’s Joe Hernandez explains why a democrat in a blue state is taking this stance and how it reflects the shifting politics of deep South Jersey.
Media mogul Byron Allen says Philadelphia-based cable giant Comcast wouldn’t carry his channels because he’s black. The case has gone all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court and how the justices rule could have serious consequences for civil rights cases in the future. Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Christian Hetrick explains why this lawsuit carries so much weight.
Pennsylvania leads the nation in prosecuting drug overdose deaths as homicides. Prosecutors say it’s an important tool to fight the opioid epidemic by charging big-time drug dealers — and helps families get justice for their loved ones. But Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Aubrey Whelan explains why that’s often not the case.
The federal government has guidelines in place for how transgender inmates should be treated in America’s jails and prisons. But a recent Philadelphia case shows those rules aren’t always being followed, specifically at Riverside Correctional Facility, the city’s only female jail. Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Pranshu Verma explains why.
Almost three months after the nearly eight-hour police standoff in North Philly, which saw six officers shot, but no one killed, the city took the unprecedented step to repair homes on the block that were damaged by bullets — for free. Layla A. Jones, reporter for WHYY’s Billy Penn, explains why Philadelphia went to such lengths to patch things up in a city wracked by gun violence.
In Philadelphia, 1 in 23 adults is on probation or parole. Violations of those terms can lead to even more time under court supervision or being sent behind bars. Why is a system that’s supposed to keep people out of jail putting so many people at risk of incarceration? Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Samantha Melamed says one big reason is the wide discretion judges have in these cases.Click here to read Samantha’s recent series with reporter Dylan Purcell, “The Probation Trap.”
If you’re even a little deep into Eagles trivia, you’ve probably heard of Bert Bell, the man who created the Philadelphia Eagles, invented the college draft, and arguably saved the NFL. But you may not have heard about the woman behind Bert: Frances Upton. Reporter Jeff Barnd tells the story of Philadelphia’s sports power couple and why we have them to thank for the team we know today.
Philly’s no longer a two-party town. History was made Tuesday night when Working Families Party candidate Kendra Brooks won a seat on City Council. It’s the first time a council seat reserved for a minority party has gone to an independent, and the first time a third-party candidate won any elected office in the city since 1980. Max Marin with WHYY’s Billy Penn explains why she won and what it means for the future of Philly politics.
In the summer of 1793, yellow fever swept through Philadelphia, killing thousands of people at a time when the city had no plumbing or sewage facilities. While these filthy conditions did not cause the disease, Maiken Scott, host of WHYY’s The Pulse, explains why the epidemic actually led to cleaning up the city — and to the creation of modern public health.Maiken and historian Michael Yudell recently created an audio walking tour where you can visit five sites around Philadelphia’s historic Old City to learn about the outbreak. Read more and check out the tour here.
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