Although it’s only been half a year since our inaugural Love Back Ball, it feels like ages given the world that we all find ourselves in today. It is probably not an exaggeration to say that this pandemic has resulted in one of the most difficult and important periods in Philadelphia’s history. Small businesses and restaurants, formerly staples in many of our neighborhoods, have shuttered. Funerals, graduations, birthdays, weddings, all “celebrated” apart from one another. Every one of us has dealt with strained relationships, increased anxiety, varying degrees of loss, skepticism, confusion, and frustration. Have you seen the drone footage of a deserted Philadelphia? Contrary to what you might believe, you are not alone. We are all sharing the feeling of being on a perpetual rollercoaster. And despite all of our personal challenges this year, we feel it is more important than ever to work together and raise up our community hand in hand.
The pandemic has reminded all of us of the social and economic inequities that so many Philadelphians, as well as communities across our nation, face every day. These include food shortages across the spectrum of age demographics, unequal access to health care and education programs, elevated violence, job losses (particularly for small business owners), and racism in our criminal justice system. The latest protests regarding the Black Lives Matter movement, while a result of horrific events taken place this year, cannot be viewed in the context of the pandemic alone. The moments of solidarity reflect a continuous effort for fairness, equal opportunity, and justice for many, but it is only the star and we have a lot more work to do collectively as a nation.
Our belief is that it is less about what we were as a community prior to this crisis, and more about who we want to be when it’s over. Earlier this year we were able to make a meaningful donation to Philabundance towards meals for Southwark Elementary School. Together, we raised over $5,000 for school families, and with that money, provided almost 2,600 meals. This accomplishment represents what collective and concentrated acts of kindness can achieve for our community, and we feel more encouraged than ever to see what we can make possible.
Philabundance is one great example, but there are efforts going on all around the city to support community issues. A few of these include, Leave Philly Alone t-shirts for small business donations, Saxby’s partnership with Sharing Excess, and small efforts from local establishments like 1-900 Ice Cream, Tired Hands Brewing, and others to support restaurant workers and healthcare workers during the pandemic. Whether it is walking for BLM, making a donation, or volunteering time at an event, your actions have dramatic implications for the Philadelphia community.
We hope you and your families are healthy and well at this time. To those of you who know of or are directly dealing with the impact of this virus, our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your loved ones. It’s a difficult time for all of us, but remember: we’re stronger together than we are apart, and together, we will make it through.
Giveadelphia stands alongside the Black Lives Matter movement, and we look forward to sharing upcoming opportunities for our community to support causes for change through new events and ongoing education. We encourage our network to seek out educational conversations, donate, reflect on self-bias, and of course, never forget the power of your vote.