John McNesby of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” After the recent shakeups in the city’s political scene, our politicians have been unusually reserved about confronting what has now become one of the biggest obstacles to anything progressive in Philadelphia — the Fraternal Order of the Police.
For some odd reason, it’s hard for elected officials to criticize the city’s police union: Do so in any form and you might be mistaken for denigrating their service to the community. But there is a difference between condemning the job and holding it accountable — welcoming the latter should be required of any group that receives taxpayer’s dollars. Read more »
White nationalist protesters and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017. Photo by Steve Helber/AP
The moment I came out of the womb, I already had two strikes against me: being black and gay in a nation that continues to systemically oppress both aspects of my identity. I am expected to function as a productive citizen while experiencing a daily onslaught of discrimination and microaggressions — and added to this personal and social distress is the burden of having always to defend my community: When one black person deviates, we are all held accountable. Read more »
Photo by iStock / prill
During this tumultuous political climate, no quote resonates with me more than this one from the late Black Panther Party leader Eldridge Cleaver: “There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.”
Progressive values are at a crossroads, and those who are committed to preserving them must take a stand more visibly and ferociously. As tensions rise within our communities, now is not the time for the most privileged in society to tune out because they can afford to avoid conflict. Nor is it the time to act like Switzerland — neutral stances on issues that affect people of color, women, LGBTQ, the poor, and other marginalized groups either leave support for us in limbo or worse.
Many people champion allyship as an effective way to take that stand. In short, an “ally” is someone with privilege helping someone being marginalized with a problem. This approach might sound noble in theory, but in practice it has only added to oppression. Read more »
Alex Deering is a Democratic committee member in Philadelphia’s 16th Ward, Division 6. We spoke with the rising civic leader about his political aspirations and being out in the black professional scene. Read more »
Photos | Dan McQuade
“There’s a gay Trump supporter in Philly,” a close friend of mine texted me on the last weekend in February. “Really? That doesn’t make sense,” I quickly responded. Minutes later, I was tagged on a viral post in a closed LGBTQ social media group I belong to. A scan of the outraged comments revealed that a senior adviser to Philly Pride Presents, Chuck Volz, a white gay man, is “an ardent Trump supporter.” I saw copies of provocative images and social media posts made by Volz that mocked people of color, women, and the Muslim ban. (All of this information was later reported on publicly.)
I quickly contacted Franny Price, the lead organizer of Philly Pride, to see if she had any clue what was going on. What I got back from her was that she’s always been aware that Volz was a conservative with “controversial views,” but that that didn’t necessarily keep him from being “a champion of LGBTQ rights in the community for a long time.” She later said that Volz wouldn’t step down from Philly Pride leadership because the organization felt that “his personal politics are separate from his commitment to the LGBTQ community.” Read more »
Aslan Alphan | iStockPhoto.com
As the hand-me-down celebration known as Black History Month settles, I’m reminded of the legacy of my ancestors and the inheritance that has historically been denied to me. Culturally, racism is still viewed as a social issue, a realm in which “allies” (those well-meaning white people) can absolve themselves of their white guilt by verbalizing how supportive they are of diversity efforts and interracial harmony. But often missing from our collective narratives of black history and what it means to have such skin color in America during a Trump era is the role that race plays in financial equity and access.
Racism is more than just an individual character flaw and act of social misconduct — it’s the expression of a pernicious system that can’t be defeated with promises of moral sobriety and personal concern. One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding race, in fact, is the illusion that class position can somehow negate white privilege. Read more »
Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP
Another day, another insult from president-elect Donald Trump.
As you have no doubt heard, on the eve of MLK weekend Trump took to attacking the legacy of civil-rights icon and Georgia congressman John Lewis:
At this point, I’m not surprised by ad hominem Twitter rants fired off by our next president. I’m more stunned by the continual fake shock espoused by my liberal friends on social media. Every damn day, I see white progressives post “Trump has gone too far this time” or “I’m scared for this country” or “We are now entering a dangerous America.”
I sit there laughing — often hysterically — but this weekend I couldn’t take it anymore. Read more »
Cheltenham High School has suspended a teacher who reportedly told her students to “stop bitching about being black” while discussing election results. Read more »
Donald Trump speaks at the Newtown Athletic Club in Bucks County on October 21st | Photo: Dan McQuade
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 »
Photo | M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia
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.
Read more »