Essays

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Danie Jackson plays the guitar, giving and receiving smiles. (Image courtesy of the artist.)

How do protests and a pandemic invite us to rediscover play?

The power of play

Danie Jackson knows that taking a walk is safer for some bodies than for others—but there are still ways to stay open to the good in the world.
Danie "Ocean" Jackson

Danie "Ocean" Jackson

Essays 4 minute read
Nowadays, the ways we show kindness have shifted. (Photo by Anndee Hochman.)

Deep in the pandemic, can a neighborhood’s character survive?

Still the one who walks

Before a virus turned the world upside down, Anndee Hochman was a familiar figure to her neighbors as she walked Germantown Avenue. What has changed? What is perennial, even in a pandemic?
Anndee Hochman

Anndee Hochman

Essays 5 minute read
Melissa Strong (top left) with fellow Summer Session participants at the Sojourner Truth memorial on the African American Heritage Trail in Florence, MA. (Photo courtesy of the author.)

When the pandemic hit, what was your beloved community?

The city is my home

What might Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision for beloved community look like in pandemic-era Philadelphia? Melissa Strong considers.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Essays 5 minute read
Back when bronze was here to stay: the statue of Frank Rizzo before its removal earlier this summer. (Photo by Caitlin Martin, courtesy of the Association for Public Art.)

What’s next for the Frank Rizzo statue?

A real monument to the people

The Frank Rizzo statue is in city storage. What did the bronze body and its removal signify, and what comes next? Helen Walsh considers.
Helen Walsh

Helen Walsh

Essays 4 minute read
Someone I could never disappoint: Lucky was a beloved childhood companion. (Photo by Christina Anthony.)

After fostering a cat in quarantine, I had to rethink my relationships

Lucky’s legacy

The pandemic led Christina Anthony to foster a homeless cat for two weeks, and she remembered that our relationships with animals can say a lot about our relationships to people.
Christina Anthony

Christina Anthony

Essays 5 minute read
A crew from Mural Arts Philadelphia paints over the Frank Rizzo mural on Ninth Street in June 2020. (Photo by Steve Weinik.)

I grew up in South Philly. Here’s what heritage means to me.

What happens to cultures that stand like statues?

Is it Delaware Avenue or Columbus Boulevard? Dan Gold grew up in South Philly, and with the Rizzo statue gone and Columbus in a box, he wonders what his neighbors are defending.
Daniel Gold

Daniel Gold

Essays 4 minute read
Josh Herren, left, with his husband and Seymour T.D. Steinberren, is on a whole new journey. (Photo courtesy of the author.)

When a pandemic means having time to change your mind

The contrarian in quarantine

Stay-at-home orders could be an excuse to become even more set in our ways, but when Joshua Herren decided to do the opposite, he surprised himself.
Josh Herren

Josh Herren

Essays 4 minute read
Maybe Deborah Birx could try giving the president a different line of advice. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons.)

Understanding Donald Trump (continued)

So you want Trump to wear a mask?

When germophobes were perceived as neurotic, Trump celebrated his own germophobia. What has changed?
Dan Rottenberg

Dan Rottenberg

Essays 3 minute read
‘Moore Scouts’ invites players to a digital corner of the Philadelphia arts. (Image by Laura Howard and Noelle Baniowski.)

Do video games have potential for social impact?

‘Moore Scouts’ and the near future of gaming

Moore College of Art & Design’s Animation & Game Arts students talk with Kyle V. Hiller about gaming’s impact on their lives, and how the medium can be a platform for marginalized voices.
Kyle V. Hiller

Kyle V. Hiller

Essays 4 minute read
Sometimes words on their own aren’t enough to encompass LGBTQIA+ identities. (Photo by Alaina Johns.)

I date people of different genders, but let's skip the labels about sexuality

I’m comfortable with myself. Are you?

Daralyse Lyons wishes the people she’s dated were comfortable enough with themselves to accept all of her, including her fluid sexuality.

Daralyse Lyons

Essays 4 minute read