Around 2:40 a.m. on election night, I left the watch party I’d been attending and took an Uber home. It was shortly after the Associated Press announced that then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had won Pennsylvania. I was over it — it actually began to sink in that he was actually going to win.
During the ride, my driver — a young white guy with teary eyes — turned up KYW Radio in the car as broadcasters finally confirmed that Trump had won the election. I was slowly moved to tears myself. The horrific bigotry that spewed from his lips, his lack of political experience, and endorsement from the Ku Klux Klan hadn’t been enough to stop him from defeating one of the most qualified candidates of my lifetime.
But as my driver turned on Walnut Street and upped the volume on the radio, I began to realize his tears weren’t the same as mine. As we heard the Trump supporters on air chanting “USA, USA, USA,” I saw that he had a calming sense of relief. He was crying tears of joy, whispering to himself: “It’s about damn time.” Read more »
Calling all runner friends! Remember how we told you guys about the awesome weeklong 8K race Lululemon is putting on along the Schuylkill River Trail this month? In case you forgot (we forgive you), it’s called the Ghost Race, and it looks like it’s going to be pretty darn sweet.
You can read up on the race here, but as a quick rundown: For the Ghost Race, Lululemon has teamed up with Strava and Silverline Athletics to create a virtual 8K race course along the SRT that you can complete anytime, starting next Monday, October 17th through October 23rd. And while you can complete the course on your own, Lululemon has also teamed up with a bunch of running leaders in Philly who you can run the course with throughout the week, starting with a midnight run (!!) on October 17th, led by Jon Lyons of Run215. (That would be 12 a.m. on Monday morning.)
Other folks you can run with include City Fit Girls, Rebecca Barber of the Rocky 50K and more. And if you run the course with them, you have a chance at snagging some free Lululemon gear. Yes, please! You can check out the full lineup of events below.
The #blacklivesmatter movement has been no stranger to controversy. In its short existence it has garnered a reputation for being anti-American, a race-baiting organization, and, most recently — tapping into the fear zeitgeist for many white Americans — a domestic sleeper cell of terrorists. Reaction to #blacklivesmatter has at times even transcended racial identity, with critics accusing it of being “uncoordinated,” “loud” and “ineffective,” or reducing its most visible torchbearers — the protestors who have clogged everything from highways to brunch spots, to city hall, to the DNC — with derisive claims that they are shiftless, unthinking, unemployed, idealistic people with lots of energy and little planning in much the same way that the country has discredited other system disruptors like the Bernie and Occupy camps.
It has also spawned another type of reaction too; the most popular combative rhetorical retorts to #blacklivesmatter have been across-the-aisle brand battle cries of #alllivesmatter or #bluelivesmatter. It’s made the conversation around it all feel like we’re wading into increasingly turbulent waters while one side yells “Marco!” and the other side yells “Polo!,” all resulting in a stalemate. That the conversation on race now feels inescapable for folks only begins the long road toward empathy about the everyday experience for many Black Americans who feel we’ve had no choice but to navigate this country’s implicit and explicit unequal racial codes. From schools, to employment, to voting, to police interactions, it’s always been a sink-or-swim experience for us, and given the racial animus here, it’s often felt more like sinking. To quote David Foster Wallace (out of context): “this is water.”
That’s what I thought about when 20-year-old Simone Manuel emerged from the pool — breaking the surface and making history when she not only set a new Olympic record in the women’s 100-meter freestyle swimming, but also became the first African-American female to win gold in an individual swimming event. Read more »
What more can you write, post, scream, cry, cuss and pontificate about after a while? At some point, there’s a leaden numbness that creeps into the blood when these moments announce themselves. They’re like bizarro action movies; the whole narrative is reversed, and while we experience the same series of fake climaxes and plot twists, by the time of the denouement, you feel foolish, remembering and realizing that when you sat down to watch this play out, the outcome was never in question.
That’s what Freddie Gray’s death and court proceedings surrounding it feel like to me: the predictable outcome to a decidedly fucked-up action film. As the latest verdict was handed down involving Gray’s death, that old feeling came crawling back again. The initial incident literally set Baltimore ablaze, confounding many people inside and outside the city as to why so many blacks would feel inclined to protest so much, so angrily, so loudly and so violently. In that sense, that’s when the country feels the most unflatteringly colorblind; an entire nation, it seems, incapable of understanding what could be troubling people to act out in such a manner, taking to the streets in protest.
It can be hard to appreciate that those moments aren’t only about Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner. It can be hard to understand that black people in this country are intimately familiar with injustice. These murders don’t represent mere incidents of injustice, of “he said, authority said” narratives; these represent a legacy in the country so old it makes these situations preordained. We’ve been here before is what I’m saying. The constant exoneration and adulation of law enforcement makes sense if it’s never been a cudgel used against you.
I remember being a child in elementary school, drawing and coloring policemen: the bright smiles, the shiny caps, the impeccable uniforms and the billy clubs that seemed more likely to be used to shoo away dogs or, at worst, winos. I remember a school field trip to a police station; donning one of those uniform caps, the adult-sized hat falling over my eyes and me playfully tilting it back so that I could see. Sitting in the passenger seat of a cruiser as an officer showed me how the radio dispatch worked; clapping and laughing with my classmates when the stationary cruiser’s sirens were turned on, blue-red-blue-red-blue-red-blue-red whipping across our faces. Read more »
A recent report by the D.C. based Sentencing Project found that New Jersey was the most racially disparate state in terms of incarceration, and Pennsylvania was 7th. The study uses data collected in 2014.
The study found that Pennsylvania had 8.9 African American people incarcerated for every white person in 2014. New Jersey had a disparity of 12.2 to one. Nationally, the rate is about 5 to one, according to the study. (Pennsylvania had the third highest and New Jersey 10th for ethnic disparity between Hispanic and white persons incarcerated.) Read more »
Hey, Be Well Philly readers, we need your help! For our upcoming print issue of Be Well Philly, which you’ll be able to get your hands on come September, we’re polling Philly’s fitness community (that’s you!) to find out how you stay healthy and fit in this awesome city of ours. And to sweeten the pot, we’re teaming up with our friends at The Philly 10K to give away one bib for this year’s sold-out race. Yep: You could run the much-anticipated race just by filling out this poll. Read more »
So this happened: From May 6th to May 9th, the Economist and You-Gov conducted a survey of U.S. citizens 18 and older, asking them several questions about the Puerto Rican financial crisis which has been in the news.
One of the questions was about the citizenship of Puerto Ricans, and the results are a bit embarrassing: Only 43 percent of those surveyed knew Puertorriqueños are U.S. citizens from birth. Another 41 percent thought “Puerto Rican” was its own citizenship, and another 15 percent weren’t sure.
The numbers are higher than I expected, but I can’t say I’m surprised. I’ve heard stories from Boricua friends about Department of Motor Vehicle employees refusing to renew driver’s licenses because they believe Puerto Ricans are “foreigners;” and I’ve seen far too many articles (and even respected research efforts) that classify Puerto Ricans as “immigrants” when they move stateside — as they’ve been doing since beginning of the 20th century. Read more »
Who run the world? Girls. Or at least they run Philly in the See Chicks Run 5K/10K coming up Sunday, June 5th. The race is a strictly no-boys-allowed event with the exception of one lucky man deemed “the rooster” who is chosen through a lottery process.
Each year the race is hosted by Philly Girls In Motion, a program started by swimmer, runner and triathlete (and past Be Well Philly Healthy Hero Challenge semifinalist!), Beth Devine. After saying ‘see ya’ to her corporate position, she began getting involved with a slew of children’s athletic programs, directing Future Stars Basketball and running school fitness programs. Devine quickly realized the lack of activities in Philly to get young girls to fall in love with fitness, so Philly Girls in Motion was born. Today, they work with teachers, nutritionists, trainers, and even CHOP to help get young ladies movin’ and groovin’.
By day, Stro Kyle, 30, works at the Attic Youth Center as a program specialist. But after sundown, he’s an emerging black queer-events promoter. Ahead of his all-inclusive Beards N Queers celebration this weekend, Kyle chatted with us about navigating the events scene in the Gayborhood and confronting racial conflicts as a way of bringing more inclusion into Philly’s LGBTQ community.
What made you interested in producing queer events in the city?
Philly is so diverse — it’s a city that thrives on individuality. I was born and molded to be unique and to never see myself as a follower — to find my true identity. The queer community holds these values, and I can identify with the scene. It’s literally a melting pot. I grew up with so many different art forms and musical styles. So for me, I believe my imagination is large enough to inspire the queer community. I’ve always dreamed of holding huge festivals and events that push boundaries. Contrary to what people believe, Philly is a breeding ground, an event promoter’s dream. Going to the Made in America festival confirmed that for me. Read more »