Every Monday we round up a handful of fun ways to get involved throughout the week to make your city better. Have ideas for upcoming events? Email tips here. And find more evergreen ways to get engaged in our handy Do Something guides.
It’s hard to look at the vastness of the American prison system without being overwhelmed by the vastness of issues that plague it. Join Jeffrey K. Sprecher for a conversation on contemporary corrections at the Eastern State Penitentiary this Tuesday, to start to understand just how complex and important that conversation is. Sprecher, a judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Berks County, Pennsylvania, is himself an advocate for returning sentencing discretion to judges and ending mandatory minimums. Whether you’re someone who feels strongly about this issue, or you feel generally uninformed about criminal justice, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to listen to the perspective of someone working in the system today. Tuesday, August 1, 6 – 7 p.m., free, Eastern State Penitentiary.
If you’re already gearing up for the 2018 midterm elections, you probably have a tally of how many seats your party can get in Congress, and who you’ll vote for to make sure your chosen representative gets there. But what happens when the lines of your electoral districts start shifting? Join Fair Districts PA for a discussion and screening of the 2010 documentary “Gerrymandering,” which explores the history of both major parties attempting to redraw legislative maps for political gain, and chronicles some of the efforts citizens have used to combat the abuse of redistricting. You don’t want to go into 2018—or any following election—without a primer on this issue. Wednesday, August 2, 6 – 7:30 p.m., free, South Philly Free Library, Broad and Morris.
Of the many opportunities to share an outdoor meal with your neighbors this summer, there may be none so inclusive as this Thursday’s Pairings on the Parkway hosted by Citizen Diplomacy International of Philadelphia. The organization encourages citizens of the world to come together for dialogue and local events, in an effort to promote mutual understanding among nations and prevent international conflicts. Share your picnic blanket with a new international friend this Thursday, and enjoy food from Logan Square Café, drinks for purchase from Chaddsford Winery, and a concert by singer-songwriter Brian Fitzy. Don’t forget to bring the kids for extended hours at the Children’s Discovery Garden. Thursday, August 3, 3 – 6 p.m., free, Sister Cities Park.
Photo: Green Philly
You don’t have to look outside Philadelphia to discover heroes in the fight to make sustainability the norm in business, civics, activism, and every other facet of life in the city. Celebrate these visionaries at the SustainPHL Awards this Thursday, and don’t waste the chance to learn about how your own neighbors are working to keep our planet sustainable. Thursday, August 3, 7 – 10 p.m., tickets start at $65, WHYY, 150 N. 6th St.
Photo: Jewish Relief Agency
Volunteering is great. But volunteering with friends is even better. Donate your time this Sunday with the Jewish Relief Agency (JRA) in their first service event for volunteers in their 20s and 30s. If you’re new to community service, why not start with an event where you can meet other volunteers your own age? The JRA will meet in Center City Sunday morning, and then bus to the JRA Warehouse to host a cookout, and pack and deliver food to the hungry. Everyone, Jewish or not, is welcome. Sunday, August 6, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., free, meet at the Gershman Y, 401 S Broad St.
Photo: BlackStar Film Festival
For three days in August, Philadelphia will play host to the BlackStar Film Festival, an annual celebration of films by black people from all around the world, focusing on subjects ranging from African diaspora, to global indigenous communities, to the modern-day African-American experience. Theaters across Philly will host screenings of the 60-plus films that are part of this year’s festival. At the end, awards will be given to the best picks, as well as to featured honorees, such as Director Ava DuVernay, recipient of the Richard Nichols Luminary Award. The festival is packed with feature-length films, shorts, panels, parties and other programming to keep you busy over three days. Be a part of celebrating black artistic achievement and independent art “by Indie means necessary.” You won’t want to miss a moment of it. August 3 – 6, visit www.blackstarfest.org for more info on showtimes and tickets.