Rally for Immigrants at Penn’s Landing

Yesterday I attended a rally, at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, to support immigrants, particularly protesting the caging of immigrant children and forcibly, and cruelly, separating them from their families. It was sponsored by POWER (Philadelphian Organized to Witness, Empower, and Renew), the Granny Peace Brigade, along with several union organizations, such as Unite/Here, Electricians Local 98, 1199C (hospital and health care workers), IUPAT, UFCW Local 1776, and LIUNA

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Along the way, I passed by the Irish Monument, honoring the Irish immigrants who fled their homeland to escape the famine in the 1840s. This is fitting for the rally, reminding all of us that, except for the people who were here originally, we’re all descended from immigrants. DSC00583DSC00589

Here are representatives of one of my favorite organizations, the Philadelphia Jewish Labor Committee. DSC00590

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Upcoming, August 14, 2018

I will be joining members of the Philadelphia chapter of the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC) in a rally at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, tomorrow, August 15, 2018, at 4:00 PM, to protest the detaining of immigrants and the separation of children from their parents. The policies pursued by this regime is nothing short of conscious cruelty, and racism is the only reason behind it-the idea that certain groups of people are less worthy of respect. To stand against this is the only right way to go.

Following that, I will join with other fine Philadelphia poets at the poetry reading, sponsored by the Moonstone Arts Center (http://moonstoneartscenter.org/) for their weekly poetry reading at Fergie’s Pub (http://www.fergies.com/), 1214 Sansom Street in Philadelphia. I will take part in the open reading following the featured readers’ performances. I continue to support Moonstone and their work in promoting poetry among working people; the arts are not a luxury, they are a necessity for all of us.

JLC Labor Seder

Just about every Jewish movement you can think of has its own variation of the Pesach Seder, which updates for modern times while being loyal to the Pesach message of the liberation of the Jews from “Mitzraim,” the Hebrew name for Egypt. (“Mitzraim” literally means “the narrow place,” the place of few opportunities and no where to move, the place of limitations.)

On Thursday, April 9, I went to the Labor Seder of the Philadelphia chapter of the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC), an organization of Jewish trade unionists, organized in the 1930s to combat the rise of Fascism. This took place in the Calvary Center for Culture and Community, 48th and Baltimore Avenue. They had the traditional Seder place with the Maror, the Haroset, the Karpas, lamb bone, the salt water, and the Matzah, and the traditional blessings were said. But contemporary issues were addressed in the Seder, like the poor relations between law enforcement and minority communities, and police shooting unarmed African-American men.

The Haggadah also dealt with labor struggles earlier in American history, such as the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in 1911, the organizing of farm workers, and the problems on inequality in this wealthy nation. “Mitzraim” is not something in the past, there are still places and problems with people stuck in narrow, limited situations; and there will always be people fighting to get out of them.