Do Something

Come Together at Our Virtual Town Halls

Here at the Citizen, we’re creating ways for folks to get together—virtually—for discussion and idea sharing that will help us all get through this. We plan to continue to offer valuable information, thought provoking conversation, not only through our consistent coverage, but also by building community with you, our readers, during this crisis. 

Join us for these upcoming events: 

April 14, 5:30pm, free

Join Ali Velshi and Philadelphia Citizen Co-founder Larry Platt for a look at what it’s like to be a TV journalist in these chaotic times of illness, political distrust and—oh, yeah—political campaigning. RSVP here.


April 16, 5:30pm, free

Feeling powerless in the face of the coronavirus crisis? Looking for a way to help? Join a community-wide conversation about how to be a hero in the times of coronavirus, with some of the amazing people who have jumped in to solve problems that have emerged in these times. RSVP here.


April 21, 6:30pm, free

The Philadelphia Citizen and Harriett’s Bookshop invite you to our inaugural book club, with local novelist Kiley Reid, in conversation with Harriett’s owner Jeannine Cook about her debut Such a Fun Age, set in Philly. BYO takeout dinner. RSVP here.

All events will be live-streamed via CrowdCast. Attendees will receive log-in information upon registration.


More ways to help

During the pandemic

Here are some more ways you can take action now:

Many Philadelphia college students are still struggling to figure out where to go and how to get there—you can help by filling our CSN’s form here. If you’re a student in need of support, fill out this form.

Plug in with Neighbors Helping Neighbors and find out how you can help, or get help: Philly Mutual Aid.

Get involved with the Poor People’s Army and sign up to help support folks who are being hit especially hard during the pandemic. If you need help, email [email protected].

Can you offer to help a healthcare worker with childcare? Do you need care for you kids? Learn more here.

For (many many) more ways to help or get support:


Take action with ADL

The mission of the Anti-Defamation League is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.

Here are some ways you can get involved and support their work: 

Guest Commentary: Together—Not Apart

Local Anti-Defamation League leaders call for unity—not an escalation of hate—at this time of crisis

Guest Commentary: Together—Not Apart

Local Anti-Defamation League leaders call for unity—not an escalation of hate—at this time of crisis

We’ve been through crises before. We’ve lived through 9/11, economic recessions, prolonged periods where our nation was at war, and a seemingly endless era of mass shootings terrorizing our schools, places of worship, workplaces, and public spaces.

What helped us through each of those times—and other times of national tragedy—is what we are missing now: the ability to come together with family, friends, neighbors, faith communities, and even strangers to grieve, mourn, pledge action and find hope.

We can’t do that now—at least not physically. But we must use all the tools at our disposal to build connection and reaffirm our unity. It is always coming together and standing as one that has helped us rise to challenges and fight battles; and although it may look a little different now, we must find ways to make it happen.

We need to take hope and draw strength from the heroes we know are Cheat Sheeton the frontlines of this fight against Covid-19. Those brave public servants represent every party, denomination and identity in our diverse society. They stand united to serve each and every American who needs help. And as they always do, they are running towards danger, while the rest of us have a simple—but complicated—task in the battle: stay home and by doing so, protect others.

What in theory should be simple is not easy. The allure of working at home and skipping the commute is wearing off; the laundry and dishes are piling up; the kids are frustrated with remote learning. We don’t have our normal escapes that keep tempers in check and help reduce stress—we can’t slip out to the gym, enjoy a movie, or run to the local restaurant for a bite.

In this fight, we are all Americans; we are all humans. We must use the tools we have to build connections, stay in touch, share information, and stand together virtually until we can once again stand together physically.

But we are witnessing sheer ingenuity and creativity at all levels—from neighbors hosting virtual sing-alongs to religious services being conducted online to concerts on the couch to daily videos and blogs from creative friends.

These virtual gatherings are critical to our long term unity, just as the individuals sewing masks, distilleries changing production to sanitizers, meals on wheels programs finding new ways to feed those who cannot otherwise get food, and the ramping up of telemedicine are to our physical health.

We are witnessing the best of America.

But this is also the type of moment where the worst parts of our Do Somethingnature can be provoked. In times of fear and foreboding, of an unknown future, ignorance and hatred can fester. Those who would take advantage of a crisis to stoke division know that in our isolation from others of good heart and strong character lies the opportunity to sow hate.

We see them misnaming the virus as the “China virus,” or worse, scapegoating Asian Americans as the “source of the virus,” and blaming Asian Americans, Jews and other minority groups for spreading the virus. There have been too many accounts of people yelling slurs at people perceived to be of Asian descent, and documented cases of physical assaults against Asians and Asian Americans.

We cannot afford to pay any heed to those who seek to divide and sow hatred. But more than that, we must actively oppose them. Their rantings must be suffocated, deprived of oxygen, while we muster crucial resources to fight the real enemy, a mortal one that does not discriminate between victims of one identity or another. Covid-19 is a vicious virus that is simply happy to have a host.

In this fight, we are all Americans; we are all humans. We must use the tools we have to build connections, stay in touch, share information, and stand together virtually until we can once again stand together physically.

Custom HaloWe must use these same tools to quash hatred and bigotry. Harness the power of social media for good, engage with others in educational webinars that offer facts and data—about science, about safety, about bias and bigotry. Organizations like ours, educational institutions, and community groups are taking to the internet to maintain and build community, based on shared values, sound information, and good intentions. Join in or create your own.

United we must stand in our fight for health and our future together—one people, the American people.

Shira Goodman is the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League serving eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware, and Doron Ezickson is the vice-president, Mid-Atlantic/MidWest Division of the Anti-Defamation League.

Photo courtesy pxfuel

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