The subterranean halls of Suburban Station and the catacombs below City Hall have long served as a place where Philadelphians without homes turn as a last resort for shelter from the cold. Non-profit homeless shelters can be unsafe and unwelcoming, places where one’s belongings can be stolen while one sleeps, doors close early, and restrictive policies result in many being turned away. Drop-in daytime cafes, run in winter months, offer a heated place to sit (although sleeping is officially prohibited) but “dropping in” requires trips to various agencies to get one’s name on a list, and even then the cafes are open only for 8 hours a day and their capacity is limited in the worst cold emergencies to only 125 people -- while the lists include nearly double that many names.
A Philly native talks about life inside the city’s homeless shelters -- and getting kicked out of one for his activism (the author’s name and other identifying information have been removed to protect the innocent).
Sean Bell Supporters Take It to the Streets on Friday Winding, 4-hour March Stirs Passionate Responses in Jamaica, Queens
By John Tarleton
The march had finally stopped as people assembled in a small plaza located between several of the South Jamaica Houses to listen to speakers who climbed atop a childrens’ jungle gym. It was a surreal, almost cinematic moment, as an NYPD helicopter circled over the projects, its powerful spotlight moving across the crowd. Veteran revolutionary Carl Dix exhorted those present to change the world. “The system has no future!” He cried out to a roar of applause. “What has a future is revolution!”
Presently, State troopers from South Dakota are illegally occupying Yankton Sioux Lands. They began doing so on April 15, after Yankton Sioux Tribal Members began protesting a Hog Farm being constructed on their territory without their consent.
Yes, it sounds like a bad sci-fi novel and no, this isn’t a joke. In an article featured in the University of Pennsylvania Almanac titled “Penn Engineering’s Largest Research Grant in School History to Lead Robotics Consortium,” Dr. George Pappas, Dean of Penn Engineering stated “Our goal is to combine scientific principles with new engineering technologies to make autonomous aerial and ground robots work together, work independently, adapt, survey and ultimately become a reality in the field.”
Police Repression and Disaster Capitalism
Mayor elect Michael Nutter recently named former Washington police chief Charles H. Ramsey as the new police commissioner, to take office along with Nutter. Charles Ramsey has a long and distinguished career heading police departments, most recently in Washington DC and previously in Chicago. Unfortunately these distinguishing characteristics have been repeated abuses of constitutional rights of citizens—especially against those attempting the exercise their right to free speech and dissent—and his predilection for declaring states of emergency during crime waves over which he presided.
Jobs with Justice Press Release:
Activists Plan More Efforts To Reform Industry, Local Company Will Remain Target
Philadelphia, PA, January 28, 2008 -- A year long campaign to raise wages and benefits for security officers at Philadelphia’s two largest universities has finally paid off. The Philadelphia Officers and Workers Rising Campaign (POWR) an effort of a coalition of students, community activists and faith leaders will bring at least $1.5 million in additional income to workers. The new contracts include up to 3 days sick-leave on both campuses and raises for roving security guards at UPenn from $9.70 to $15 per hour.
“We started to fight for these improvements for our own safety.” Says Kevin Paris, a junior at Temple University. “I know that guards were forced to come to work ill and injured. No one should work like that much less guards. It is a public safety issue”
The activists from the local group, Jobs with Justice, focused on paid sick-leave as the first step in a series of improvements that workers and their advocates want to win on behalf of security guards.
“We see this as a civil rights issue.” Says Bishop Dwayne Royster, Pastor from Living Waters UCC in North Philadelphia, “It is the largest effort to raise African-American workers into the middle-class in our city’s history.”
97% of the private security guards in Philadelphia are African-American.
“We want to turn these jobs into family sustaining jobs.” explained Eduardo Soriano, Organizer for Jobs with Justice, “We want to professionalize the industry, raise the standards, that’s why we are focusing on AlliedBarton.”
AlliedBarton is the largest security company in Philadelphia and largest domestic security company. AlliedBarton’s largest shareholder is MacAndrews & Forbes. MacAndrews and Forbes is wholly owned by Philadelphia native, Ronald O. Perelman.
Workers and advocates plan to continue to push for improvements on both campuses but say that they are expanding their focus to other large AlliedBarton customers around the city.
Jobs with Justice is a coalition of labor unions, community groups, student and religious constituent organizations building a movement for workers’ rights and social and economic justice. We ate united by the principles of solidarity, reciprocity, militancy and action. Jobs with Justice is dedicated to using direct action to win victories that matter for working people.