THE DAWN OF A NEW DAY!
And so it began. A new chapter in Reasonable Solutions endeavors into making the world a better place. The OWS Philadelphia launch party was an unquestioned success, with attendance maxing out around 100 before many of the attendants mobilized to join our brothers & sisters in the march to Independence Hall, organized by another group.
Our day started with a trip out to 27th & Sterner in North Philly to partner with Philly Rising and the incredibly brilliant, and inspiring Jane Golden of the Philadelphia Mural Arts program. A couple of us left Thomas Paine Plaza around 9am and headed out to the block to be welcomed by a community intent on working to see their neighborhood get better and stay that way.
For my part I dived right into painting. Wearing the clothes I wore when I was at my last job ( apartment renovation) before unemployment hit: a clean pair of dickies, a paint covered hoodie, and a fitted hat, it was a natural fit. While applying a beautiful shade of orange to the stucco wall, giving life to a giant sun face, I discussed with Jane the possibility of a Mural commemorating the Occupation at The People’s Plaza, and the 99% movement. Her excitement was almost overwhelming. Her support of the 99% courageous.
Her enthusiasm was palpable as she discussed ideas with Xio, an ally of RS who joined me on my excursion, and I about free speech art zones and the importance of maintaining a positive focus and staying true to who you are. I was thoroughly inspired by her vision and creativity. Painting all the while.
One of the things lost in all the marching and vitriol is the actual communities of Philadelphia. The Neighborhoods most direly effected by the economic crisis (most of which were effected before the crisis), are being lost in the shuffle. Marches blaze through center city like a zephyr, but never seem to reach their tentacles into the disenfranchised core. They are missing from OUR movement.
As I took a smoke break from covering my winter coat, and Jordans in aqua green, I noticed a group of older gentleman standing on the sidewalk admiring the work being put in by kids, community elders, activists, and city officials. As I approached I was greeted as a brother and invited to join them at their church on 25th & Indiana. To bring my kids to Sunday school and begin a dialogue about how I could help them in their efforts to partner with the community activity team currently in development by Sheppard, Jess, and Blue. We immediately started to discuss the problems they are facing, and the potential role we could play to assist.
There is an incredible sense of self responsibility amongst this neighborhood. This is their neighborhood. These are their problems. And they are doing everything they can to make their neighborhood cleaner, and safer. They appreciate the help and welcome it in all forms. But it is their duty to recognize and rectify the problems that have grown to consume many blocks in this part of town. And they welcome the challenge.
Community members worked side by side with Philly First and prisoners brought in on a huge bus to clean 3 lots and the stage for a day of community engagement. As they shuffled onto the bus I wondered what role organizations like KWRU, and the Prison Society could play to ensure that the next time they enter a neighborhood to clean a block they’re not wearing orange jumpsuits.
We spoke at length about the problems that plague the hood, and the need for many of it’s members to take the reigns in stopping the madness. The lure of easy money, the lack of viable jobs, the under-funding of education in inner city schools. These are problems that have existed for decades. Compound that by the fact that those who do everything they can to stay legit usually work multiple jobs just to stay afloat, and what you end up with is a fracture in the American family structure. It’s easy to understand how we got here. Where we go from here is up to us.
By the end of our discussions I had a renewed sense of hope about the potential of our impact in neighborhoods like this. Helping to develop the community, and working to change the Federal System whose greed is oppressing us seems to be the only reasonable solution I can think of for the future.
After some quick discussions regarding negotiated items, the developments in L.A. regarding corporate personhood, future meetings, and a host of other things Xio and I jettisoned back downtown to the OWS Philadelphia site, where things were in full swing. As I approached i could hear Bob Dylans twangy drawl singing “The times they are-a changing.” I guess in a movement somethings never change. His voice just as relevant now as it was then.
Avery was manning the info table as Josh and Dan kept the tech & wifi in working order. King Arthur kept the music going as the Rolling Stones, Lenny Kravitz, Bob Marley and others provided the soundtrack for the afternoon. Twelve doing the good work of promoting the positive messages we need to convey, hanged signs and organized printable resources. Getting out our objectives and goals in this next phase of the 99% movement (probably the 99.9% is more accurate, but more on that later!) is vitally important.
The info table held paper struggling with the wind regarding sign up, an open ideas sheet, banking abuse, and a ton about the need to condemn and abolish Corporate Personhood. The laws regarding Corporations ability to have the same rights deemed to them as a living person is the crucial issue of this age. We fully support the efforts of the www.movetoamend.org movement, and share their objectives!
Discussions broke out all over the plaza regarding our current situation in all it’s manifestations. I was struck by the many friendly faces who had grown so familiar to me as the first few weeks of the Occupation at City Hall had bloomed, but had since vanished as things became unmanageable there. They were back! Re-engaged! Mission Accomplished!
I met many new people as they wandered into the Plaza. We discussed the needs of the many in comparison to the greed of the few—>The banking crisis caused by the abuses of power and greed (“Atm & sneaky service charges must be re-examined.“). The need for Corporations to stay out of politics (“Corporate personhood must be abolished.”). The need for governance to be about the people, not the interests of those with consolidated wealth (“Corporate lobbying must end.“). The need for the rich to pay their fair share (“tax the uber-rich.“).
These are important issues that require dialogue. We were proud to provide a space that people could come to and feel safe in their rights to say whatever they want, and be heard. And to have the opportunity to meet the like minds needed to form a greater alliance! We look forward to the future, and are thankful for the present.
Hope to see you soon,
Randy Quinn aka Jawnzap7
Co-Founder, Reasonable Solutions