Welcome to week two of the new year. We have a number of big things planned for January, starting with a zoom meeting this Tuesday on how to become a committee person. On the 17th, join us for an evening of storytelling at our "Good Trouble" virtual event. On the 20th, watch our speaker's series, "Philly Talks Trash" that we're co-hosting with Weavers Way. And on January 29th, sign up for our General Membership virtual meeting that includes our guest speaker Will Bunch. But, first...
Thoughts on the Fairmount Fire
We are shocked and saddened by the tragic house fire in the Fairmount section of our city. The house is a duplex that is managed by the Philadelphia Housing Authority, broken into two apartments that officially had 14 occupants per the inspection by PHA conducted last spring. However, it is reported that as many as 26 people occupied the three-story building, including more than a dozen children.
This fire was avoidable, caused by neglect, not an "Act of God". We await the final report from the fire department, but we are left to wonder why this PHA-managed property had no working smoke detectors, why it was not inspected more regularly, and why so many people were crammed into one property.
What we do know right now is that this tragedy is an indictment of a broken system, one that fails the working class people of our City, particularly people of color, in almost every facet of their lives. The lack of affordable housing causes families to double up, causing overcrowding and unsafe conditions. Residents in our poor, gentrified neighborhoods simply can’t afford to live, lacking sufficient access to quality jobs, decent public schools, and affordable homes.
The only service that’s adequately funded - the police - often merely compounds the trauma of living in communities that have effectively been abandoned by the leadership circles of our city, state, and nation. The fire is the kind of visible result of that abandonment, one that gets everyone’s attention. But the never-ending mayhem that’s caused by unaddressed poverty kills many more than 12 people every year.
We at PNN are working to build a society healed of trauma and oppression, that affirms universal human rights to healthcare, education, food, housing, a living income, and a sustainable environment. It is a long struggle, but the battles begin here and now to develop the caring infrastructure that provides opportunities for all of our people and avoids senseless tragedies.
Want to Learn How to Run for Committee Person?
Tuesday, January 11th, 7PM, Virtual Event
This year, elections will be conducted for the more than 6,800 Committee Person seats between the two major parties in the May 17 primary election. If you'd like to know what a committee person does and how you can run for this local office, click the link below to sign up for a workshop that will be conducted by Open Wards Philadelphia. Find out what it takes to get on the ballot (hint: it involves circulating a petition among your neighbors).
Making Good Trouble: An Evening of Storytelling
Monday, January 17th, 7PM, Virtual Event
Looking for a way to savor the past while we pump ourselves up for the year ahead?
Philly Neighborhood Networks invites you to MAKING GOOD TROUBLE, a virtual evening of storytelling & reflections featuring:
Elected Officials: Kendra Brooks, Derek Green, Helen Gym, and Larry Krasner
Award winning storytellers and comedians: Steve Clark, Che Guerrero, Chris Lundy
Hosts Marjorie Winther and Bo Dirnbach, PNN’s own comedic observers of our times
Best of all, YOU will be able – if so moved – to tell your story of good trouble-making to entertain or inspire the rest of us.
“Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and redeem the soul of America.” The late John Lewis made this statement on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 1, 2020 commemorating the tragic events of Bloody Sunday.
Honoring the late civil rights leader John Lewis and befitting the MLK holiday, we will celebrate times when we made good trouble. All stories are welcome from the light and personal to the political and more serious. Together, all our stories weave our human tapestry.
Besides an evening of enjoyment and a few laughs, this is also a Fundraiser for Philly Neighborhood Networks so we can continue to make the Good Trouble in the year ahead. Your safety and health are our concerns – and that’s why we are doing this on zoom.
After you reserve your tickets, we will send you the zoom information.
Philly Talks Trash: A Virtual Series on Waste
Thursday, January 20th, 6:30PM, Virtual Event
Waste, especially plastic, is polluting our Philadelphia neighborhoods, landscapes and waterways. How can we be part of the global movement towards zero waste and take action to avoid creating waste from the outset?
Join PNN’s Environment Action Committee for Philly Talks Trash: A Virtual Series on Waste as we learn from local non-profits, entrepreneurs and government programs, beginning Thursday, January 20, 6:30 - 8:00 pm. This monthly speaker's series is co-hosted with the Plastics Reduction Task Force of Weavers Way Co-op.
PNN General Membership Meeting – Saving Democracy Edition
Saturday, January 29th, 3PM, Virtual Event
We meet this year in dark times, with a virus running amok, weather catastrophes emerging everywhere, a seemingly paralyzed Congress, and even more alarming than all of that, our ongoing ability to even address problems through a democratic political process very much in doubt.
To be blunt, the smell of rising fascism is in the air. PNN can’t avert that darkness by ourselves. But, as you will learn at our meeting, all of us together can and will do our part, and working with allies across the country, we are confident that we will prevail.
We will begin by hearing from one of our most eloquent local truth-tellers about the challenges we face, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch. He will discuss the national framework within which our battle for the soul of the country will be taking place. We will finish with a talk from Rep. Chris Rabb, who will discuss the struggle underway in Harrisburg to preserve democracy in Pennsylvania, one of the key arenas which may determine the result of the struggle.
To be clear: Our purpose will not be to ring an alarm so that we can all run for the exits, but rather to set the stage for the work that will lead to victory. Foremost will be informing and engaging you in our all-in fight to keep a Democrat in the Governor’s seat in Harrisburg, turn the Legislature blue and replace the despicable Pat Toomey with a U.S. Senator who represents all the people of the Commonwealth.
While working to preserve democracy on a national scale, we will also continue to work for justice and sustainability here at home. Thus you will hear about our ongoing efforts to create a public bank owned by the people, to address inequity in our tax code, to keep struggling renters in their homes, to make Philadelphia the greenest City in the U.S., and more.
We'll close out with how you can take part in the team that will tackle this important work. Be sure to save this date on your calendar and click the link below to let us know you'll be joining us on Saturday, January 29th.
This Week in History
Jan 7, 1811 – Largest Slave Revolt. On this day, more than 200 enslaved people in present-day Louisiana launched the largest insurgency of people in bondage in U.S. history. The revolt lasted only a few days before the poorly armed rebels were crushed by a militia and U.S. troops.
Jan 11, 1912 – Bread and Roses Strike. Finding that their wages had been cut, 10,000 IWW workers in Lawrence, MA walked off the job, eventually winning higher wages in March.
Jan 13, 1990 – First Black Governor. Breaking the color barrier in Virginia, Douglas Wilder is sworn in as the first black governor in the U.S.
Thanks for your activism!
Tim Brown, Organizing Director