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—from helping local schools and fighting homelessness to greening up your neighborhood—in our Do Something guides.
This spring and summer, the neighborhoods surrounding the Lower Lancaster Avenue area of West Philadelphia will be decked in vibrant artworks—but not until community members come together to decide just what kind of artwork they want that to be. To help that happen, LoLa 38, a group working to inspire civic discourse through art in this particular area of the city, invites residents and artists to come together for a Shark Tank-style pitch session, in which artists make a snappy five-minute presentation about why their work should be included in a revolving series of art installations that will hang on the fence surrounding the former University City High School and the windows of the former United Bank. There is a $700 commission for artists who fill each location. Whether you’re an artist, or want to show up to vote, let organizers know you’ll be attending, by RSVPing here. If you have more questions, visit lola38west.com. Thursday, March 30, 6-9 p.m., free, United Bank of Philadelphia
3750 Lancaster Avenue.
Now that we’re in the first stages of spring, it’s time to start thinking about planting things—namely trees, trees, glorious trees. To help, TreePhilly has unrolled a series of pop-up locations at which residents can stop by, pick up a yard tree and then take it home to plant it in their community. The first of those happen this weekend: on April 1, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Congreso de Latinos Unidos courtyard
(216 W. Somerset Street); and April 2, from noon to 2 p.m., at South Philadelphia High School (2101 South Broad Street). The pop-ups offer 14 varieties of trees, including shade trees, small flowering trees and even apple, apricot or sweet cherry trees (see the full list here). Before you lug that bad boy away, you’ll be treated to a brief learning session about how to plant and care for your new green addition, and given a free bag of mulch. Get out there and start planting. Greener blocks reap all kinds of benefits—from decreased crime rates and extra shade, which in turn reduces energy consumption. For the full list of TreePhilly tree giveaway locations, go here.
A trio of organizations offer three unique opportunities to join in the conversation about immigration this week.
- Senior social work students at Alvernia University Philadelphia Center host a daylong symposium on human trafficking. The aim of the day is to teach attendees about the misconceptions and myths about human trafficking, and talk about efforts being made to combat human trafficking for some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. A portion of the day’s discussions revolve around nationals and immigrants. That will be led by Anh Q. Hua, Human Trafficking Project Coordinator at the Nationalities Services Center. March 31, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., $10-$50, 1355 West Cheltenham Avenue, Melrose Park.
- On Monday, join The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia at Fleisher Art Memorial for a conversation about the impact of immigrant entrepreneurship. As organizers point out, “immigrants are 41 percent more likely to own a business than their U.S.-born counterparts,” and have played a pivotal role in the growth of our city’s most thriving business districts. This conversation delves into the ways in which we can support future growth and continue creating opportunity for immigrant entrepreneurs. March 31, 5-7 p.m., free, 719 Catharine Street.
- Author and Vanderbilt University professor Robert Barsky comes to Wooden Shoe Books Saturday for a book signing and discussion about his two latest works—both of which “offer a radical approach to contemporary woes in America.” One of those, a law book titled Undocumented Immigrants in an Era of Arbitrary Law. Subtitled “The Flight and the Plight of People Deemed “Illegal,” the work posits an open-border with Mexico that challenges Trump’s wall, and dispels myths used to demonize and blame immigrants for many of our country’s woes. April 1, 7-9 p.m., free, 704 South Street.
Photo: Gage Skidmore, via Flickr
Here are some ways to fight some of the divisive policies coming out of the Trump regime this week:
- Young Involved Philadelphia kickstarts its new Civics Cafe program, a new monthly series that breaks down the basics of advocacy over a cup of joe. For the inaugural event, happening in the cozy confines of Benna’s Cafe, they’ll be joined by Representative Jordan Harris and folks from Tuesdays with Toomey to talk about the best ways to get your legislators’ attention and make your voice heard. March 28, 6-7:30 p.m., free, 1236 S. Eighth Street.
- If the Trump presidency has you in a rabble-rousing mood, you should probably know your rights as an activist in case you have a tricky run in with police. On Thursday, at First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, Pussy Division and Up Against the Law lead a free workshop to educate members of the protest community about their legal rights when encountering law enforcement at rallies or protests. March 30, 7-9 p.m., free, 2125 Chestnut Street.
- As you may know, the topic of gerrymandering has become quite sexy since Mr. Trump landed himself head of the highest office in the land. Learn what you can do to combat it this Saturday morning at Philly UP’s “Redistricting: Drawing the Lines” roundtable. Gerrymandering expert Andrew Marshall will lead the discussion, taking place at New Century Trust, diving into what gerrymandering is and how us regular folk can make sure it doesn’t affect upcoming elections. April 1, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., free, 1307 Locust Street.