NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

By signing up to our newsletter, you agree to our terms.

Veterans and Civic Engagement

At our Citizen Town Hall last week, we offered a way for vets to continue their commitment to service: With local civic engagement

“As veterans, our job is to serve the people,” Melissa Robbins, moderator of The Citizen co-sponsored town hall Veterans and Civic Engagement, said Thursday evening. “I hope to echo that sentiment for the rest of my life as a civilian.”

For the four panelists sitting on either side of Robbins, an activist and political consultant, at the VFW Hall in Northeast Philly, civilian service is a way of life—something that veterans can easily identify with. Co-sponsored by the Veterans Multi-Service Center, the panel included citizen activists from varying types of organizations: DeWayne Drummond, president of the Mantua Civic Association; Jack Innacker, Mission365 Project Manager, Global Citizen; Andrew Dalzell, State Rep. Jared Solomon’s chief of staff; and former Citizen Social Action Coordinator Stephen St.Vincent, who is now deputy policy director for Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

The round table-style conversation touched on issues that varied from integrating back into civilian life after the military, to what it means to be civically engaged, and how we can access the need and desire to serve that motivate citizens to join the military in the first place—and that they bring back with them.

In the end, the most important point that came from the 90-minute discussion was one that seems so simple to implement (though it is not always): Stay connected.

“The human connection is so important,” said Robbins, answering her own question about how to be a better citizen. “We are designed to be connected. Don’t ignore each other.”

“The one thing I’ve realized about this war called poverty is that there are many battles,” said Mantua Civic Association’s Dewayne Drummond. “Change is good, it can have a cost, it can have sacrifice. It’s been an uphill battle, but we can still win the war in the long run.”

“Empathy is the power that’s going to drive connection in our communities,” said Amanda Rondon, regional director for Team RWB, which connects veterans with their communities through physical and social activities. Rondon, whose brother is a vet, came to the event with an RWB volunteer, Shelley Rodgers.

Another of our guests, Aquisha Marrero, from UESF, an organization that has worked with 200 homeless vets in the last four years. “If you come across a veteran in need, connect them with UESF,” Marrero says.

The Philadelphia Citizen will only publish thoughtful, civil posts. We want to be a communal space. But that doesn’t mean you have a First Amendment right to be an idiot. Send us an insulting, offensive and/or wildly off-topic comment and not only will we refrain from posting it -- we will laugh at you before we hit delete.

Recent Tweets
@THEPHILACITIZEN

@thephilacitizen @@thephilacitizen
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Getting gerrymandering bills passed has taken on new urgency since the 2016 election. It would be the only lasting… https://t.co/x8D4tj43zC 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
“For children, in terms of their behavior, discipline, and social skills, they have learned to solve their problems… https://t.co/NzUmKWTbOq 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Since its inception, the program has graduated over 2,000 BankWork$ students across the country, with more than 1,… https://t.co/Aah5VJl7K0 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
“I fear I may have integrated my people into a burning house.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." @selmekki on one of M… https://t.co/tEnYWizCyO 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Deep in the recent jobs report number doled out by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, is a glimpse of what th… https://t.co/QdiduhA7gy 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Mariner East may not be the result of a vast conspiracy or individual wrongdoing, but the reality is just as troub… https://t.co/K0Se24mxCk 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Getting gerrymandering bills passed has taken on new urgency since the 2016 election. It would be the only lasting… https://t.co/8sU1ZHzgvq 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
“For children, in terms of their behavior, discipline, and social skills, they have learned to solve their problems… https://t.co/T06xwIr5Tk 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Temple's controversial stadium is a go. Do you agree with its construction in the North #Philly neighborhood? Via… https://t.co/6cu3ecrHXk 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"Since its inception, the program has graduated over 2,000 BankWork$ students across the country, with more than 1,… https://t.co/Na7gPuafyN 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"What this means, essentially, is that the public-safety oversight of Mariner East 2 begins once it is operational—… https://t.co/YLAPrTJw0D 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
59% polled think that @Amazon should come to Philadelphia. What do you think? #AmazonHQ2 #PhillyDelivers @Amazonhttps://t.co/2XeDG8vcwn 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
"With some 35,000 Philly students with asthma, it is the most common reason for chronic absenteeism here and around… https://t.co/4yWXHG10Oi 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
“I fear I may have integrated my people into a burning house.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." @selmekki on one of M… https://t.co/efmhLgjkq8 

LOAD MORE

Be a Citizen Editor

Suggest a Story