From high school students to trauma specialists, here is my list for Philadelphia People of the Year
Time magazine has named a Person of the Year for 94 years.
His first, in 1927, was aviator Charles Lindbergh for making the first non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, followed by all kinds of famous and infamous people.
This is my first list of @NotesFromHel people of the year. You will notice that it is people, not anybody, because it really takes a village around here, and also, no one is rich or famous, at least not yet. However, I would keep a close eye on the motivated students of Parkway Center City Middle College, which is why I start my list with a big thank you to them.
We are going back, these students and me. In 2018, I walked into Parkway to listen to third graders read essays about the impact gun violence had on their lives. That moment turned into a movement that continued even after many of the students I knew best graduated. After taking a break from the pandemic, Parkway students returned to community building and fundraising in November and held a flag football tournament with 17th District police officers to build goodwill – and raise over $ 4,000 for Moms Bonded by Grief. (Students want to make this an annual citywide event, and we need to help them make it happen.)
You’ve probably heard of Moms more than once if you’ve read my column regularly, and that’s because, as I’ve said for a long time, it’s not just a column, it’s a community . As such, members of this community are likely to make repeated appearances when creating or developing ways to improve life in our city. This includes the first Moms-Hosted Armed Violence Retreat, where around 50 children enjoyed an August weekend in the Poconos. They were there to have carefree fun away from the city, but also to begin to heal from the trauma of losing some of the most important people in their lives.
The trauma covers Philadelphia, and much of it is because of guns, which is why the frontline work of Temple University Hospital trauma support advocates is so vital. Since its inception in 2019, the program has served more than 1,100 victims of crime by connecting them immediately to services.
I hope that one day this model, created by Scott Charles, the hospital’s trauma department manager, will be replicated in all hospitals. But if there’s one thing I love about this city, it’s that it’s full of people who don’t wait to do what needs to be done. This is how we have places like the Greater Philadelphia Diaper Bank, which was set up in Pat Kennedy’s garage in 2011 after the former Newtown Friends School teacher learned that many programs gave food to struggling mothers. but not diapers. The Diaper Bank has distributed over 7 million diapers since its inception.
That kind of ‘do because it has to be done’ mentality is also why Mykia Capers, whose 28-year-old son Brandon Baylor was shot and killed in 2016, started organizing fundraisers and fish fries for help mothers whose child homicides remain unsolved put up notice boards in the hope that people can provide the information.
I write about a lot of things in a space that I am privileged to have as the only Latino columnist on this newspaper – public servants who need to be better and do better, residents who deserve … more, gems from Philly as SEPTA Bus Driver Doo and Aijee the street cellist.
But without the readers – the MVPs on my People of the Year list – this column would be just a collection of words that don’t mean much.
There isn’t a story I write about a wrong that needs to be righted, a person in need, a cause that needs to be championed where you readers are not there, asking what can we do To do ? How can we help? And you do – consistently, with compassion, and with the kind of open heart that may not completely silence the trolls who continue to find ways to get rid of me (they always try to send me back to countries where I am not. not from) but that makes them irrelevant.
Now this last entry is more personal, but I hope you will make me happy. Without the doctors who diagnose and treat my husband’s cancer this year, especially James Ryan Mark at Jefferson Hospital and David E. McGinnis at Main Line Health, my family wouldn’t hope so carefully – knock on wood – for a healthier 2022.
Either way, this list is far from exhaustive, but it represents the kind of people I’m happy to have in my part of the world. Everyone must have people. And you are my kind of person.