Stop the FOP
Join us Wednesday morning to Stop the FOP! City Council is holding a hearing about the police contract and Lilac invites you to watch along with us on Twitch. We will discuss what's going on over text chat in our Twitch stream. It's important that we seize this opportunity to record and publicize exactly what we need to change about the contract.
On Wednesday, our elected representatives will debate the current contract and set the terms for the next round of negotiations between Mayor Kenney and the FOP. Philadelphia is staring down the barrel of a renewed contract where the FOP has requested $14 million for "less lethal" Tasers and another $18 million for overtime they spent on brutalizing protestors this summer.
A great deal of the Philadelphia Police Department's power and impunity comes from the contract that the Fraternal Order of Police negotiates with the city. For too many years this contract has been negotiated behind closed doors without community input or oversight. It's time to show the Mayor's Office that the people are watching, and that we demand police transparency, accountability, and divestment.
We're going to start our stream at 10AM, but the hearings on the contract could happen much later. It's the second to last agenda item for the morning, but we'll be hanging out while we wait, so you can join early and chat it up, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter and we'll post when the hearing starts! RSVP HERE!
- Lilac General Meeting: Online on Thursday, November 19th at 6:00 PM. Check the Facebook event for details on how to join.
- Philly Bail Fund Call-a-thons: Every other Thursday from 6:00 - 7:30 PM. The next one is on November 27th!
- October Reading Group: Online on Wednesday, December 2nd at 6:30. RSVP at the linked site!
Help Wanted (reach out here if interested)
- The Newsletter is looking for people to write news summaries, provide original content, and take photographs.
Local News Summaries and Links
- Nurses at four Philadelphia-area hospitals are preparing to strike over the issue of safe staffing ratios. That is, over the issue of limiting the maximum number of patients one nurse should care for at a time. In the city itself, nurses at Einstein Medical Center and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children have voted to authorize a strike.
- Philadelphia voters played a pivotal role in defeating Donald Trump in the November 3rd election, and Philadelphians rightfully celebrated in the streets. A motorcade proclaiming that “Black Voters Matter” drove through the city on November 8th in celebration. Members of the Philadelphia branch of UNITE HERE took a victory lap after knocking on the doors of 575,000 voters and getting 60,000 voters, including 30,000 new voters, to pledge to vote for Biden-Harris, making the difference in Pennsylvania. Nationally UNITE HERE canvassers made the difference in other key battleground states as well.
- Philadelphians voted “yes” on all four ballot questions that were decided by the November 3 election. Eighty-two percent voted to amend the city charter to end stop-and-frisk. Voters also approved the creation of a police oversight commission and the creation of an Office of Victim Advocate. Check out our analysis of the ballot questions here.
- The City has once again reversed its plans to partially reopen public schools because of the new surge in cases of coronavirus. The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers opposed the reopening, and a new analysis of school air quality shows that two-thirds of elementary school classrooms do not meet recommended ventilation standards even without an epidemic. In other school-related news, Mayor Kenny is selecting three new school board members. To apply or to nominate someone, complete this form.
- Studies have shown that black men in particular face stigma, high costs, and lack of easy access to mental health care. SEPTA has announced it will start a pilot program of having social workers work along transit police.
- The family of Walter Wallace has called on the city to fire the police officers who killed him and to train all police cadets in using tasers. The Amistad Law Project reports that a quarter of those killed by police in the US had a mental illness and calls on City Council to defund the police.
- City Council has passed two bills to create and fund a non-profit called the Philadelphia Poverty Action Fund that would establish programs aiming to lift 100,000 people out of poverty as part of the city’s Philadelphia Poverty Action Plan [Lea en español]. The city also is partnering with Community College of Philadelphia to provide funding to help poor students overcome the cost of tuition, supplies and transportation associated with being in school. [Lea en español]
- Earlier this month, Philadelphia City Council issued a formal apology for the MOVE bombing. This comes 35 years after the city dropped a bomb on its own citizens, killing 11 people including 5 children. The resolution, sponsored by Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, also calls for May 13, the anniversary of the event, to be a day of reflection. There are still many outstanding issues from this scandal that the apology doesn’t fix including the incarceration of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
- The LGBTQ community is struggling to preserve the mural honoring Philadelphia’s first Director of LGBT affairs, Gloria Casarez, that is currently painted on the front wall of soon to be demolished 12th Street Gym.
- Philadelphia’s air quality last week was classified as unhealthy because of a buildup of smog during the unusually warm 70 degree weather. Last month was also the worst for traffic deaths in Philadelphia in recent years. With its sustainable transportation plan, 2025 Vision Zero, the city aims to reduce traffic speed and add hundreds of new Indego bike share stations.
- The museum at the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion on Green and Tulpehocken Streets in Germantown is closed for now, but offers a fantastic series of zoom performances and readings highlighting Victorian culture. The Rosenbach Museum and Library has reimagined its outdoor garden as a public place for its patrons to sit in during the pandemic. Click here for reservations. Visitors to Centro de Oro Neighborhood, the heart of Philadelphia’s Puerto Rican community on North 5th Street can witness an outdoor, interactive art show called Onomonopoetics, which features a Sound Exhibit of the call of the coquí frog which is deeply meaningful for many people from Puerto Rico.
- In a time of COVID-19, medical specialists are recommending that everyone get a flu shot as the possibility of having the flu and COVID-19 at the same time could be much more severe than having only one of the two. Free inoculations are available at Philadelphia’s community flu clinics or community health centers, at the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, and many other places.