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.
An article I wrote for the Philadelphia Jewish Voice (http://pjvoice.org) about the recent Israel Independence Day festivities has been published. Please check it out, http://pjvoice.org/2019/05/13/israel-independence-day-celebration-at-thomas-paine-plaza/#.XN7wFo5KiM8 .
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.
Once again, I will join many other Philadelphia progressive activists at the meeting of Philly For Change, at Tattooed Mom, 5th and South streets, in Philadelphia. Candidates for local offices will show up there, including:
Sherrie Cohen, Helen Gym, Eryn Santamoor. and Deja Lynn Alvarez, for City Council at Large;
Alan Butkovitz, for Mayor;
and Kay Yu, for Judge. Please come and ask them how they would work for the people of Philadelphia.
every first Monday of the Month, the Parkway Central Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia (http://freelibrary.org) holds its Monday Poets Reading Series; last night I took part in an open reading, along with other fine regional poets. The next reading, on May 6, will be on the theme “Whitman@200: Art and Democracy,” featuring Leonard Gontarek and poets from the Poetry in Common Workshop. Please look into this, and please support your local libraries and other educational venues.
Workers’ Memorial Day, a day to honor the lives of workers who died on the job trying to make a living for themselves and their families-and a day to advocate for greater occupational health and safety measures-will take place in Philadelphia, at the Sheet Metal workers’ Hall, 1301 South Columbus Blvd., on Friday, April 26, 2019.
This event is sponsored by the Philadelphia Area Project for Occupational Safety and Health (PHILAPOSH) and the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO.
We will begin with a breakfast and discussion about workers’ health and safety issues. After that, we will have a funeral procession, with Brian Wydlitz on the bagpipes. The procession will end at Penn’s Landing, where we will place flowers into the Delaware as we read the names of workers in the region who were killed on the job. This is a beautiful ceremony honoring someone’s father, friend, son, or brother. Please support the work of defending the right of workers to safe working conditions.
The Philadelphia AFL-CIO is one of the many sponsors of the development of a memorial to honor US military personnel who have lost their lives during the Global War On Terror, which includes the activity in Afghanistan and Iraq. The purpose of the memorial is to honor the sacrifice of those brave young Americans who died in the service of their country in this period. the memorial is to be located at Penn’s Landing, close to the memorials for the veterans of the wars in Korea and Viet Nam. The builders of the memorial need you support to raise funds for the memorial.
For further information, and to make a donation, pleas contact:
PA GWOT Memorial
PO Box 14554
Philadelphia, PA, 19115