Today at noon, Groundswell, a program of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, will gather supporters at City Hall for the annual Philadelphia Arts Advocacy Day. This year they’re directing their attention to Mayor Nutter’s proposed 40-percent budget cut for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund (PCF) for fiscal year 2016.
Today, an estimated 1,500 protesters marched in Center City as part of the MLK Day of Action, Resistance & Empowerment March. Its stated goals were:
1) An end to the use of “Stop and Frisk” and an Independent Police Review Board that is fully empowered and funded
2) A $15 per hour minimum wage and the right to form unions
3) A fully funded, democratically controlled local school system.
Joel Mathis was on the scene taking pictures of the march in progress. See his photos after the jump.
BREAKING: Montco DA says no criminal charges will be filed vs. CB West guidance counselor MaryKate Blankenburg for Facebook threat.
— MichaelAlanGoldberg (@mg_thereporter) December 24, 2014
While saying her posts to Facebook were inappropriate and ill advised,” Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said today Marykate Blankenburg would not be charged for posts about the die-in protest at the Eagles game.
“I was a little nervous before I got on,” says John Angeles, a New York-based performer who is bringing the international sensation STOMP to the Merriam Theatre right after Christmas. Angeles and his fellow cast mates were scheduled to perform at the City Hall Tree Lighting ceremony, but previous acts, including children’s choirs and gospel performers, were loudly booed by the hundreds of “Black Lives Matter” protestors who swarmed the scene.
“I remember thinking, ‘I don’t even know why I’m on the stage,'” he recalls. “But then I decided that I was gonna play as hard and as loud as I could. They stopped protesting for a minute. Someone actually told me that we were the only act that the protestors didn’t ‘boo.'” Read more »
Gosh, those folks from POWER are a huge pain in Philadelphia’s butt.
The Christmas Village Lantern Parade has been canceled.
That word comes via an email from Aversa PR and a note on the website. Lantern Parade organizers decided to call off the event after Ferguson protests were scheduled at the same time in LOVE Park.
The now-cancelled parade of “traditional German-style lanterns” was scheduled to start at the LOVE sculpture at 5 p.m. The event was scheduled to include performers from Enchantment Theatre’s The Snow Queen, a performance by the Philly Pops and a singalong led by the children from East Passyunk Ave’s Alphabet Academy.
Here’s the note from Aversa:
Yesterday, protesters held a “die-in” after the Eagles game. Clergy leaders with Philadelphia Organized to Witness Empower & Rebuild organized the die-in to protest the decision not to issue indictments in the police killings of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York. After the game, protesters laid in the street at Broad and Pattison for four minutes, 30 seconds — as die-in protesters have done in previous protests.
UPDATE, 9:15 p.m.: The Ferguson police officer who shot Michael Brown last summer will not face charges in the case, a grand jury has determined. Robert McCulloch, the St. Louis County prosecutor made the announcement in a speech broadcast nationwide on Monday night.
“They are the only people who have heard and examined every witness and every piece of evidence,” McCulloch said, defending the grand jury’s work even as it became clear that the decision would trigger protests around the nation, including in Philadelphia. The protests in Philadelphia reportedly remained peaceful through the night.
The New York Times posted a full set of grand jury transcripts, forensic reports, and other documents.
Philly Mag’s Victor Fiorillo was at City Hall when the announcement was made:
A group of baggage handlers have been picketing at Philadelphia International Airport since this morning.
Though the Pennsylvania director of SEIU 32BJ called the action a strike, Philly.com reports no flights appear to be affected. The airport previously said airlines have a contingency plan in case of a strike. The striking workers are employees of PrimeFlight, an airline contractor, working in ground transportation at the airport (baggage handling, wheelchair transport, curbside check-in, etc.).
The non-union workers make as little as the federal minimum wage, $7.25 an hour. The minimum wage hike for city contractors Michael Nutter ordered in May does not apply to the PrimeFlight workers. Read more »
A new video of a member of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission clearly shows her telling protesting students that they are “probably in failing schools.” Sylvia Simms has previously denied the accusation from the students.
Last month, students protested a screening of the pro-charter school drama Won’t Back Down Simms hosted. After students interrupted the screening with clapping and chanting, they said Simms told them they “belong in jail” and that they’re “probably in failing schools.”