Philadelphia Stuff

Hey, on this page you will find information relevant to Philadelphia.

Let me know if you have any info you want to share!



U.S. Rep John Conyers to visit Philly:


Health Care for All Philadelphia has arranged for leading United States Congressman John Conyers to come to Philadelphia this Saturday, March 7th to discuss health care reform, and his hotly debated Universal Health Care Proposal- HR 676. Conyers will be speaking and taking questions from 1:00-3:00 at the Penn Newman  Center, located at 3720 Chesnut Street (enter from Sansom).

The group is accepting donations, but highly encourages anyone interested in health care reform to come by, regardless of ability to pay.

Health Care for All Philadelphia



Budget Cut Meetings

In case you missed the first $1 billion defecit, the city is now facing an additional $1 billion shortfall over the next 5 years. Painful cuts will need to made, and the mayor’s office is working to seek community input before submitting his budget on March 19th. If you want to observe the mayor meeting with various departments to discuss budgetary issues, and show your support/opposition, attend a “Philly Stat”:


Thursday, February 12th @ 1:30pm

Tuesday, February 17th @ 1;30pm

Wednesday, February 18th @1:30pm


For a more involved community meeting, attend one of the evening sessions co-hosted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Project for Civil Engagement and the City of Philadelphia. These are open forums in which small group breakouts will be facilitated, and input forwarded to the mayor, although he will not be in attendance:

Thursday, February 12, 2009
St. Dominic’s School
8510 Frankford Avenue

Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Mastery Charter School
Pickett Campus
5700 Wayne Avenue

Thursday, February 19, 2009
South Philadelphia
St. Monica’s Catholic School
16th and Porter Streets

Monday, February 23, 2009
West Philadelphia
Pinn Memorial Baptist Church
2251 N. 54th Street


All meetings start at 7:00, but it is highly recommended you arrive by 6:00 to ensure entry.



Single Payer Universal Health Care – Philadelphia!

This Thursday, January 29th @ 10:00AM, the Philadelphia City Council will be meeting. On the agenda will be a proposal that the city of Philadelphia announce its support of a single-payer universal health care plan. Councilman Greenlee, who is introducing the resolution, asked that we turn out a lot of people in support, and invites us to bring signs, wear health care tee-shirts, etc.

Join us in support this Thursday, January 29th @10:00AM in room 400.

Last year the City of Philadelphia spent $380 million on health care benefits for its employees. With a defecit of $1 billion over 5 years, shifting all of these employees to a single payer plan (either state-wide, or federally) would go a long way towards getting our fiscal house in order!!

Come out & show your support! For more information contact

What is Single-Payer Universal Health Care? (short)

What is Single-Payer Universal Health Care? (longer)



Energy Assistance

I received a letter in the mail today with some information about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which is money from the federal government than can help people pay their energy bills this winter.

From the letter: “LIHEAP is a grant. You don’t have to pay it back.   All you have to do is simply apply for the assistance. When you’re approved, the grant payment will be sent directly to PECO and immediately credited to your bill. Funds are awarded on a first-come, first served basis, so fill out your application as soon as possible.”

Even if you aren’t with PECO energy you can still benefit from this program. Here is the number listed on the letter 1-800-344-3574


“A Raisin in the Sun”

Come watch a production by the Stagecrafter’s Theatre on Sunday, January 25th while supporting the work of the Northwest Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network. Tickets may be purchased by calling 215.247.4663, or emailing


“An American classic … the passionately moving portrayal of a black family in 1950s Chicago, whose dreams are continually and cruelly deferred. Marvelously depicted characters … complex, full of warmth and humanity … the play that “changed American theatre forever” (Frank Rich, N.Y. Times). Winner of the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play, 1959. Bring a group from your congregation or organization….It’s a great play for youth groups. Call Stagecrafter’s for other performance dates.”


“Witnesses to Hunger”

Recently an exhibit opened at Drexel University called “Witnesses to Hunger”, which put digital cameras in the hands of 40 women in Northeast Philadelphia so they could chronicle their lives, and the effects that poverty had on their families. I went with some friends today, and the exhibit was truly moving. We were also lucky enough to meet one of the women involved in the project.

The project is ongoing, the exhibit runs through December 18th. To learn more about it, visit

To read the Philadelphia Inquirer’s coverage of the project, visit Flashes of Reality



Budget Cuts

By now, you’ve surely heard of the major budget shortfall in our city- $1 million through the end of the year, and nearly $1 billion over the next five. Over sixty pools, libraries, ice skating rinks, and other facilities and services have been served up on the chopping block by Mayor Nutter. While no one can envy him right now, he does need to be held accountable for how his cuts will impact certain portions of the population. To his credit, Nutter is hosting a series of 8 town hall style meetings across Philly to hold conversations with residents, as well as field questions. For information about the meeting locations/times click here.


Mural Arts Program

Philadelphia is home to nearly 2,800 beautiful murals. They are the work of various groups, past and present: Works Progress Administration, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Anti-Graffiti Network.

Today, members from the community, children from schools, and incarcerated individuals all contribute to these beautiful works of art.

I was lucky enough to take a tour through North Philly today to get a look at some of the murals. Some interesting facts I learned: the quickest mural took 2 weeks- the longest 6 months. The most inexpensive mural: $2,000- the most expensive: $90,000. Scaffolding is actually a significant cost, along with paint which can run up to $50/gallon! There are lots of different methods used: including free hand, grid, fabric, and the coolest: projection. They project the image at night onto a building and trace it. Then the next day they can come color it in!  Learn lots more at:

Please enjoy the pictures!

bill csopy, desmond tutu, nelson mandela

Bill Cosby, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela

Two African American Women

Two African American Women

Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts

Fraizer, Ali,

Fraizer, Ali,


Designed to raise awareness of Philadelphia's disability population: 20%

One of the most beautiful ones I saw

One of the most beautiful ones I saw

Interestign design- its actually not painted on the wall, but onto a fabric, then glued!

Its actually not painted on the wall, but onto a fabric, then glued!

Philly's first African American Congresswoman

Pennsylvania's First African American Congreswoman

A dedication to fathers

A dedication to fathers

Kids from the community identified these local leaders as their heroes

Kids from the community identified these local leaders as their heroes

The outside of a High School

The outside of a High School

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

Kids from the city helped design this- and they are actually in it!

Kids from the city helped design this- and they are actually in it!

MLK, Malcom X,

MLK, Malcom X,

Another high school- with thoughts about peace from students

Another high school- with thoughts about peace from students


Health Care for All Philadelphia

So after having been heavily involved with the healthcare4every1 campaign in CT, I was happy to discover a local group here in Philadelphia working on obtaining Universal health care coverage for all. The group is a wonderful collection of activists, consumers, doctors, and people who care about real health care reform.

They meet on the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 7-9pm at the Penn Newman Center, 3720 Chestnut Street. I hope to see you at the next meeting! (Tuesday, December 9th). For more info please visit their site.

Operation how to downsize medicare


Casino in the Heart of Philadelphia?

The deal to put a Casino on Market Street has been in the working for a while now, and a group of Philadelphia residents are working to defeat what they call a “corrupt process” that would put a Foxwoods Casino in the middle of Chinatown. Apparently there was a protest last Saturday, November 1st- sorry I didn’t get the word out sooner. Check out their website here for more information & to learn how you can get involved.


Philly Celebrates!!

What a night I’ll never forget!

Philly Celebrating



Mayor Nutter is urging people IF AT ALL POSSIBLE to vote between 9 AM & 3 PM. Many people will be looking to vote before/after work, so be prepared for a wait. Bring something to occupy yourself!

Polls are OPEN BETWEEN 7AM & 8PM. If you are in line when the polls close, STAY IN LINE. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE.

Make sure the RED LIGHT IS ON next to the candidate’s name you are voting, BEFORE YOU HIT THE VOTE BUTTON.

If you are a FIRST TIME VOTER, make sure you have PROPER IDENTIFICATION.

Go to VOTES for more information about VOTING LOCATIONS & RULES



AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP) will be attending the November 20th rally in Washington, DC to demand the next President makes combating HIV/AIDS a priority of his first 100 days in office. Specficially they seek the President:

  • Guarantee treatment for all people with HIV in the US before they get sick, as part of a universal health care plan
  • Provide housing for all people with HIV by fully funding HOPWA
  • End funding for abstinence-only education at home and abroad because it is stigmatizing and harmful & end the federal ban on funding for syringe exchange
  • Reform the US Global AIDS Plan to work for all people, including getting rid of the sex worker loyalty oath.

They are providing free bus transportation to DC on November 20th. Buses will depart from Broad & Walnut @ 9:00am.

For More Information, or call 215.386.1981


Straight Ticket Voting, and the Danger for Pennsylvanian Immigrants

Much focus on the upcoming election has been around the two major presidential candidates. Although many of us know a lot about each of their platforms, we may not be as familiar with other politicians who will be on the ballot in this election. For those democrats who are also immigrant rights advocates, I just want to put a word of caution out about voting straight ticket in regards to Democrat John Morganelli running for Attorney General. Also, there are lots of concerns about Republican Lou Barletta, mayor of Hazelton, running for Congress.

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli (Dem) will be running against incumbent Tom Corbett (Rep) for Attorney General in Pennsylvania. Morganelli has earned national recognition for his advocacy on the need to “abolish parole for violent criminals and stop illegal immigration”. If you would like to take a look at his overall platform to make your decision, as there are always positive and negatives to each candidate, please see However, he has been active in conducting immigrant raids, and according to Carden (2007),

“Morganelli has received attention for his tough, enforcement-heavy approach to illegal immigration, discussing the issue at Capitol rallies and on national cable TV programs. He has received accolades for his raids on businesses employing illegals and for arresting others for identity theft and tampering with public records. He recently founded Us Securing America PAC, or USA PAC, to help deal with the illegal-alien problem in America.”

To look at his “US Securing America” PAC please see: All of this gives reason to believe that, if elected, he would make it a personal mission to limit access to resources and benefits for undocumented immigrants, as well as coming down harder on immigrant raids.

Another candidate of concern is Republican Lou Barletta running for the 11th District of Congress. He was born and raised in Hazelton, PA, and became mayor in 2000. Hazelton has recently caught a lot of media attention for the town’s stance on punishing businesses and landlords for hiring or allowing immigrants to live there. In an article featuring Hazelton, the Washington Post has stated that Barletta wants to make Hazelton the “toughest place on illegal aliens in America.” He has stated, “I will get rid of the illegal people. It’s this simple: they must leave.”

The Washington Post continues to describe the law passed by Barletta and City Council called the Illegal Immigration Relief Act. “The act imposes a $1,000-per-day fine on any landlord who rents to an illegal immigrant, and it revokes for five years the business license of any employer who hires one. The act also declares English to be the city’s official language. Employees are forbidden to translate documents into another language without official authorization” (Powell & Garcia, 2006, A03).

Barletta’s website ( stated “When an influx of illegal immigration threatened the financial foundation of the city and brought gang violence, drugs and crime to peaceful neighborhoods, Lou never hesitated or waivered. Lou stood up, passed one of the toughest illegal immigration ordinances in the country. If both Morganelli and Barletta get into office, the atmosphere for advocates and immigrants could become very hostile, and passage of any inclusive reforms will be incredibly difficult. Please keep this in mind at the polls. I encourage you to share this information, but be careful as there are a lot of “anti-immigration” attitudes in PA, and this could bring the issue to people’s attention that would push for the election of these individuals. Also, this stance is coming from me personally, and is NOT representing any agency that I’m involved in.


Carden, J. (2007). Anti-illegal DA considering state-wide office. Retrieved 30 October 2008 from

Powell, M. & Garcia, M. (2006). Pa. city puts illegal immigrants on notice. The Washington Post, A 03. Retrieved 30 October 2008 from

This piece came to Social Justice Now via guest writer Amy Jones, a MSW candidate at the University Of Pennsylvania. Amy’s interests include the implications of international trade agreements for communities both within, and outside of the United States. She is also an ardent advocate for the rights of women, immigrants, and the HIV/AIDS community.

(She’s also pretty good at salsa dancing).


Congrats to the Phillies!!!


Do You Know Whats on the Philadelphia Ballot?

There will be 4 questions & By law you only have 3 minutes in the voting booth.

Read about the four questions:

State Bond Question

Do you favor the incurring of indebtedness by the Commonwealth of $400,000,000 for grants and loans to municipalities and public utilities for the cost of all labor, materials, necessary operational machinery and equipment, lands, property, rights and easements, plans and specifications, surveys, estimates of costs and revenues, prefeasibility studies, engineering and legal services and all other expenses necessary or incident to the acquisition, construction, improvement, expansion, extension, repair or rehabilitation of all or party of drinking water system, storm water, nonpoint source projects, nutrient credits and wastewater treatment system projects?

Charter Change Question 1

Shall the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to merge the powers and duties of the Fairmount Park Commission and the Department of Recreation into a newly-created Department of Parks and Recreation,  “to establish a new Commission on Parks and Recreation,” and to provide for its powers and duties?

Charter Change Question 2

Shall the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to require that those candidates seeking civil service positions who have maintained a bona fide residence in Philadelphia for at least one year prior to the date of the civil service examination shall have priority over all other persons receiving an identical test score?

Philadelphia City Bond Question

Should the city of Philadelphia borrow $53,840,000 to be spent for and toward capital purposes as follows: Transit, Streets and Sanitation, MunicipalBuilding, Parks, Recreation and Museums, and Economic and Community Development?

*Information is from:this website. Read More About It. Remember, you only have 3 minutes in the booth.


Vote For Homes- Project Home Mobilization

Vote for Homes is brainchild of Project Home, a Philadelphia area organization that works with the homeless, and low income community. If you would like to help on election day (transportation, voter assistance, turnout), you can still sign up. There is one more training date left on Thursday, October 30th.

Read more here

I’ll be there on the 4th- come help out!!


Support Group for Penn Students Mourning the Loss of Family

*(This content is the work of Dave Fajgenbaum & is reproduced here for the benefit of the Penn community)

My name is David Fajgenbaum and I am working with a few of my peers to start a new student group here at Penn that I thought you may be interested in helping out with/supporting. I’m a first year med student and I started up the Penn Students of AMF (Ailing Mothers & Fathers) Support Network. It includes a 1) Support Group for Penn students who are coping with the illness or death of a loved one to get together to talk about their issues, 2) a Service Group open to all students to go to service events together throughout the Philly area (like the Free to Breathe Lung cancer 5k on November 2), and 3) opportunities for faculty members to serve as mentors to support group members.

This is actually the 24th chapter of the organization, which I started at Georgetown when I was in undergrad after my mom passed away, Anne Marie Fajgenbaum (also AMF). I found that there was nothing offered on our campus for students, like me, who were coping with the illness or death of a loved one beyond psychological counseling, despite the high prevalence of grief (between 35-48% of college students have reported grieving the death of a loved one in the last 2 years).  I made a promise to my mom 2 weeks before she passed away that I would do something in her momory for students like me.  Since that time, due to the unfortunate need for grief support for college students, we have grown into a national organization with chapters on 24 campuses across the country.  For a 2 minute story about the organization, please check out . To get more information about the National organization, National Students of AMF, go to

We are holding a kickoff/informational meeting next Wednesday, October 29th at 8pm in Houston Hall.  WE NEED YOUR HELP TO SPREAD THE WORD!

email me with any questions (



4 Responses

  1. […] Philadelphia Corner Posted by: douglaskev | October 30, 2008 […]

  2. Wot no Brits? on those beautiful murals-nice work Kev
    the city of brotherly love

  3. i love the way African Americans are represented in the murals, especially the father one. Myself being a young father its good to see a positive image displayed like that, the media has done enough to place the black father as absent or joe jacksonesque.

  4. I agree, the murals really are beautiful and add a lot to the city. Many of the murals were worked on by African Americans, including youth who were able to project positive images of their culture and community.

    Didn’t know you were a father- congrats ^_^

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