Yesterday afternoon, music stars Janelle Monáe and Jidenna hit the streets of North Philly around Temple to lead a march to bring awareness to police brutality and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. According to NBC 10, there were around 150 protesters who “gathered near Broad and Susquehanna and marched towards the Uptown Theater on North Broad Street.”
They carried signs saying things like “Black Girl Magic,” “Black Joy” and “Black Lives Matter,” and stopped for a rousing speech that was partially caught in this tweet from the Philly Student Union:
Left: Commissioner Charles Ramsey | AP photo. Right: A scene from Thursday’s Philly Is Baltimore protest. | Joshua Albert photo.
Well, thank God for Philadelphia Police.
Yes, it’s easy to find reasons to criticize our local department, and I do it all the time. It’s also easy to watch some officers become martyrs to our streets and then give the rest of them a free pass, or something close to it. But I’m interested in doing something else today: I want to praise the Philadelphia Police Department for a bit of smart policing, done professionally, and in a fashion that has served the community very well indeed. Read more »
ILL Doots, an 8-piece, psych-funk hip-hop group out of Philly, just released their first video. “Cubism: Outside the Box” is a direct response to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and they timed the release to the Freddie Gray protests in Baltimore. The director, Christian Sarkis Graham (who, full disclosure, has had photos featured on Ticket in the past), even re-edited the video last night to include clips from yesterday’s “Philly Is Baltimore” rally at City Hall. (The footage was actually shot by one of the MCs.)
He explains the concept behind the song as taking a “cerebral” approach to the movement, “looking inward, engaging the psychological before taking on the political.” That’s reflected in the lyrics “I’ve been spending more time reading people than I’ve been reading books / Judging how it feels, not how it looks. / Don’t let them judge you, I promise they all crooks.”
On Thursday, one day before prosecutors announced serious charges against six police officers in the death of Baltimore man Freddie Gray, Philadelphia was home to the “Philly is Baltimore” protest, an attempt on the part of organizers to show solidarity with the people of Baltimore and to speak out more generally about the deaths of unarmed black men who died in police custody. I was in the middle of the protest well into the night, and at its peak, I’d estimate the crowd to have topped 1,000. (You can see my photos and videos from the street here.)
People were angry. People were loud. People were screaming at the police.
There were chants like “fuck the police, fuck the police, fuck the police” and “shut the fucking city down, shut the fucking city down, shut the fucking city down,” in addition to non-profane chants of the “no justice, no peace” ilk.
And the “Philly is Baltimore” protesters did, in fact, shut down good portions of Center City, snarling traffic in the early evening hours and continuing to be the bane of motorists’ existence throughout the night.
But what the “Philly is Baltimore” protesters did not do is cause any real trouble. Read more »
It was a tense night in Center City, Philadelphia, for the “Philly Is Baltimore” protest, which centered around both the death of Freddie Gray, who died earlier this month in the custody of Baltimore police, and the death of Brandon Tate-Brown, who was shot and killed in a December altercation with Philadelphia police. I arrived at City Hall around 3:30 p.m. and watched the crowd slowly grow in numbers to more than a thousand. Here are some photos, videos and observations from the protest that was, for the most part, tensely peaceful. Read more »
[Original] The #PhillyIsBaltimore protest is under way at City Hall, and we’ll highlight some of the most interesting social media we see from the event — check back, as we’ll continue to update throughout the afternoon.
“There are so many similarities between what is happening in Baltimore and what is going on here in Philly,” protest organizers say on the Facebook page. “We stand with the Baltimore Protestors and Uprising.” Read more »
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.