Today, March 16, 2020, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney ordered the shutdown of “non-essential” businesses in the city, as of 5:00 PM. Not affected will be gas stations, banks, post offices, day care centers, laundromats, dry cleaners, and groceries will be open; non-essential” government services will be closed; restaurants will only have take-out service and deliveries; no sit-down service. Courts will only hear non-emergency cases for the rest of the month. https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/philadelphia-shutdown-coronavirus-20200316.html
Like many, I’m trying to cope with the situation; a lot of my favorite spots will be closed until-at least-the end of the month-but what about after?
The only things we can do right now is listen to the advice of the medical professionals-such basic stuff as washing your hands, not getting near people if they don’t feel comfortable, and staying home if they don’t have to go out.
It’s important to understand that we as a nation have been through some difficulties before in our history, and banding together and being for one another have seen us through the tough times; we will overcome this problem.
On Friday, September 13, 2019, I joined other trade unionists in celebrating the annual Awards Banquet of the Philadelphia chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute. (I’m the recording Secretary of the Philadelphia chapter.) The honorees were:
Martin Williams Jr., of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers;
Linda Fields, Special Assistant, LIUNA Local 135;
George Piasecki III, President of the Delaware County (PA) AFL-CIO;
and Vernon Woodall, LIUNA Local 135.
Joining me to honor these Labor leaders were other labor leaders, Stewards and other people dedicated to upgrading the lives of their fellow working people. These are working-class people finding empowerment in banding together to help other workers find their power. I would encourage you to find your power in banding together with other workers in a union.
I hope you can join me for the next meeting at Philly for Change, at Tattooed Mom, 5th and South streets in Philadelphia, tomorrow, Wednesday, July 3, 2019. Speaking there will be Rochelle Bilal, candidate for Sheriff; Tracey Gordon, candidate for Register of Wills; and Dave Scholnick, speaking on on gun violence. We will also discuss the refinery fire in South Philadelphia, and the 2020 election. See you there!
I was present at the Philadelphia Public Record‘s Salute To Labor, honoring a number of fine Labor leaders, some I know personally, at the Philadelphia Joint Board, 22 South 22nd Street, on Friday, June 20, 2019.
Yesterday I spent all day at my division polling station, in the Election Board of my division of my ward in Philadelphia-I served as Machine Inspector. I helped set up the voting machine and turned it on, to help people get ready to vote, the most basic and simple-and essential-function of a democracy (what’s left of it in this country). I showed people how to use the machine if they were a little confused; and when the polling station closed I helped take the cartridge out of the machine, along with the tape that counted the votes, and closed the machine. It was a great day, rough in spots, but I enjoyed my work in advancing the democratic process. I hope all of you voted, and I encourage you to play a role in your own communities.
This evening, my friends at A Novel Idea on Passyunk, 1726 E. Passyunk Avenue (https://anovelideaphilly.com/) will hold a poetry reading at the Lucky 13 Pub, 1830 South 13th street in South Philadelphia (https://anovelideaphilly.com/ ) Please come and watch fine area poets-like me-read their material.
As a committee-person for my ward, I join my other committee-people to listen to candidates for City offices in Philadelphia this year-Mayor, district City Council-member, Council at Large, Sheriff, City Commissioner (in charge of the voting system), Register of Wills, and Common Pleas and Municipal Judges. We ask the candidates questions about legalizing marijuana and sex work, reentry programs for ex-offenders, the Soda Tax, the ten-year tax abatement for real estate developers, gentrification, funding pre-K education, low-income housing, the $15.00-an-hour minimum wage, publicly-funded political campaigns, avoiding foreclosures on homes for sheriff sales, among others. These candidates come from various backgrounds, including immigrant and working-class histories; these are people sincerely trying to change the lives of their constituents.
I urge you to get involved in the affairs of your communities where you are, ask questions of candidates-maybe be one yourself-and for God’s sake get out and vote.
A special meeting of Philly For Change-one of my favorite groups-will take place on Monday, April 15, 2019, at 7:00 PM, at Tattooed Mom, 5th and South streets in Philadelphia. There, we will meet the following candidates:
Maria Quinones Sanchez, City Council, 7th Councilmanic District;
Isaiah Thomas, Adrian Rivera-Reyes, Asa Khalif, and Fernando Trevino, for City Council at Large;
Jen Devor and Kalil Williams for City Commissioner;
and judicial candidates Wendi Barish, Gregory Weyer, Dave Conroy, and Jennifer Schultz;
and a discussion on voting machines led by Rich Garella.
This will be the last meeting before endorsement. I hope to see you all there.