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Do Something: Mark Homeless Memorial Day

The 10th annual event remembers homeless people who have died in Philly 2016. Plus, a benefit for victims of Oakland's Ghostship fire and more ways to be a jolly citizen this week

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.

Support Immigrant Students and Their Families

Last week we published a story identifying 11 ways to support Philadelphia’s immigrant community—from dining out to calling your legislator to learning how to stand up to someone being bullied. Consider this No. 12: The Caucus of Working Educators‘ Immigration Justice Committee hosts an informative discussion for local educators on how school communities can support immigrant students and their families. The two-hour event includes a presentation by Maria Sotomayor from the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, and will cover topics like understanding the rights for students, families, and schools; fighting back against bullying and hate speech; and getting updates on immigration policy, like the Sanctuary City Bill coming up for a vote in early 2017. Tuesday, December 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m., free, The Aquinas Center, 1719 Morris Street. 

Take a Trip to the Salon

Taking a cue from salons of yesteryear, where citizens came together for an evening of intellectual discourse, local PAC Philly Set Go hosts a South Philly-style gathering replete with Yards beer, cheesesteaks and solutions-minded conversation. The free event takes place at The Workshop at BOK, and seeks to “promote dialogue among the next generation of Philadelphia’s policy leaders.” Attorney, education advocate and one-time City Council candidate Tom Wyatt moderates the discussion, which welcomes anyone in the community to voice their concerns about issues affecting our city. The event description hits the nail on the head when it states that “it only takes a group of committed and concerned individuals to create positive change.” RSVP here to get your voice in the mix. Tuesday, December 20, 6-8 p.m., The Workshop inside BOK, 1901 S. Ninth Street. 

Commemorate Homeless Memorial Day

Gather in Thomas Paine Park Wednesday night to commemorate Homeless Memorial Day. The 10th annual event remembers the homeless and formerly homeless people who have lost their lives in Philadelphia over the past year and gives you a chance to lend your voice to a call to action to stamp out homelessness in our city. Organizers say that every year, homeless outreach organizations in Philadelphia engage over 5,500 individuals living in places not meant for human habitation—whether it be on the street, in chilly abandoned buildings or in a car. The night includes eulogies and remembrances of those who died this year and musical performances from formerly homeless artists. To conclude, candles will be lit in a ceremony in which 175 names of deceased people will be read aloud. For more ways to fight homelessness and hunger in Philadelphia, consult our Do Something guide here. Wednesday, December 21, 5-6 p.m., free, Thomas Paine Plaza, 1401 JFK Boulevard. 

Hear Good Music for Victims of the Ghostship Fire

At this point in the season, you’re probably sick of all the saccharine holiday carols ringing in your ear. Shove those to the side at a night of loud, decidedly un-Christmas tunes at Kung Fu Necktie that benefits victims of the horrific Ghostship fire in Oakland. Called “Condition Oakland,” the party features DJ sets from EDM turntablists Void Vision, Deflector and Speaking Parts, and a live performance by static noise artist Slow Tongued Beauty. Money earned that night will be donated to the Oakland Fire Relief Fund hosted by crowdfunding site YouCaring. If you can’t make it to Kung Fu Necktie that night, you can still donate here. Friday, December 23, 10 p.m., $7, Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front Street. 

Fill a Backpack for the Homeless

On Christmas Eve—and mere days from Homeless Memorial Day—One Kind Act a Month (OKAAM) hosts a Christmas backpack event that asks folks to donate satchels full of food and water that will be immediately donated to people living on the street. Here’s how it works: You show up to 9th and Market streets with a backpack stuffed with 5-10 brown bag lunches (fill them with sandwiches, chips, fruits, a bottle of water, etc … ) From there, the caravan will travel to LOVE Park, handing out the lunches to people on the street as they go and to anyone who shows up at LOVE Park needing a meal. OKAAM does this every month—on every fourth Saturday—so if you can’t make it there are plenty of opportunities to take part in 2017. If you have any questions about how you can lend a hand, call OKAAM at 267-881-3763 or drop them an email at customer_service@onekindactamonth.com. Saturday, December 24, noon-12:10 p.m., 9th and Market streets. 

Header photo by Homeless Memorial Philly via Facebook

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