5:45 PM - June 21, 2020
5:45 PM - June 21, 2020

Whole Foods employees protest for the right to wear Black Lives Matter garb

The street protest at Whole Foods at 929 South St. on Sunday afternoon.
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
The street protest at Whole Foods at 929 South St. on Sunday afternoon.

Dozens of protesters crowded the sidewalk in front of Whole Foods Market on South Street Sunday afternoon, demanding that the company allow employees to wear clothes and accessories emblazoned with the words “Black Lives Matter.”

The protest came days after employees at stores in multiple states reported that management asked them to leave the premises when they showed up wearing “Black Lives Matter” face masks and pins. Protesters at the South Philadelphia store on Sunday said that several employees there were sent home for the same reason last week.

And one former employee of the store at Ninth and South Streets believes they were fired two weeks ago for making and sharing posts on social media that criticized the store’s management for providing free food to police during recent protests over the police killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd.

Protesters urged customers not to shop at the Whole Foods in the 900 block of South Street.
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Protesters urged customers not to shop at the Whole Foods in the 900 block of South Street.

Megan Murray, 22, worked at the store for almost two years but said management did not give a reason for the firing. “I was told it was a major infraction,” Murray said.

The group of protesters, which included some current and former employees, picketed on the sidewalk for more than an hour, chanting, waving signs, and attempting to talk shoppers out of patronizing Whole Foods. The store did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

— Allison Steele

2:45 PM - June 21, 2020
2:45 PM - June 21, 2020

A Philly Queer March dedicated to Black Lives Matter draws hundreds in stifling heat

Members of the local Black and LGBTQ+ communities marched in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in Philadelphia Sunday.
MONICA HERNDON / Staff Photographer
Members of the local Black and LGBTQ+ communities marched in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in Philadelphia Sunday.

Over 500 people gathered in LOVE Park for the Philly Queer March for Black Lives early Sunday afternoon. The protest was organized by Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club, Galaei, William Way LGBT Community Center, Philadelphia Family Pride, and Philadelphia March.

Before the speakers took the microphone, community organizers handed out bottles of water, snacks, rainbow lanyards, and voter registration forms.

“The fight to be free of the cage is never ending,” said Miyanna Brooks, a longtime advocate in the Philadelphia trans community. “This is the time to break free and soar as high as we can.”

“There are plenty of people in this crowd who are tired of this, marching, screaming, crying, begging other people to stop killing them,” said Madelyn Morrison, director of the Bryson Institute at the Attic Youth Center, a nonprofit that serves LGBTQ youth of color.

After the speeches, protesters walked to the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, escorted by bicyclists.

— Bethany Ao

1:45 PM - June 21, 2020
1:45 PM - June 21, 2020

The Barnes Foundation will show a free outdoor photography project celebrating Black fathers by a West Philly artist on its walls tonight

People watch "From the Root to the Fruit: Portraits of Black Fathers and Their Children" being projected onto the facade of the Barnes Museum on Saturday night. The outdoor photography installation by West Philly artist Ken McFarlane celebrates black fatherhood while counteracting the false narrative of the absentee black father.
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
People watch "From the Root to the Fruit: Portraits of Black Fathers and Their Children" being projected onto the facade of the Barnes Museum on Saturday night. The outdoor photography installation by West Philly artist Ken McFarlane celebrates black fatherhood while counteracting the false narrative of the absentee black father.

The Barnes Foundation this weekend unveiled a temporary public installation that will run from 8 to 11 p.m. tonight outside the museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, following a similar display Saturday night.

The Barnes partnered with We Embrace Fatherhood, a coalition of West Philadelphia fathers, activists, and artists, the Mantua Civic Association, and PC Radio Live to present From the Root to the Fruit: Portraits of Black Fathers and Their Children, an installation by West Philly–based photographer Ken McFarlane. The work is 15 minutes long and will play continuously.

From the Root to the Fruit is an ongoing documentary project that celebrates Black fatherhood while counteracting the false narrative of the absentee Black father. The description on the project’s website states, “McFarlane’s work amplifies images of strength, dignity, pride, and success to drown out the cacophony of negative imagery surrounding the black body.”

The installation can be viewed from the plaza at 20th Street and the Parkway. The foundation asks that viewers wear masks and practice social distancing.

— Allison Steele

12:12 PM - June 21, 2020
12:12 PM - June 21, 2020

March honors Black fathers, mourns George Floyd on Father’s Day

Marchers leave City Hall during the Urban League of Philadelphia's "Fathers Fighting for Families" on Sunday. The group walked to Independence Mall.
YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Marchers leave City Hall during the Urban League of Philadelphia's "Fathers Fighting for Families" on Sunday. The group walked to Independence Mall.

A few dozen protesters gathered Sunday morning at the Octavius Catto statue near City Hall, then marched to the Constitution Center to protest on Father’s Day the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The protest was organized by the Urban League of Philadelphia to celebrate Black fatherhood, but also to mourn the Black fathers who have been killed by police.

”This is the first Father’s Day George Floyd will not celebrate with his family,” said State Rep. Morgan Cephas, (D., Phila.), adding that when Black men are killed, the whole community suffers.

Cephas also said that it’s important for the conversation about systemic racism not to stop at police brutality. ”Right now we are standing up for police reform, but we recognize the knee on our neck when it comes to economic progress, education,” she said. “We recognize there are injustices across the entire system.”

State Rep. Jordan A. Harris, (D., Phila.), said that often in the Black community the importance of fathers is negated. He stressed that spending time with young Black men who need to feel love is an act of activism as well.

”Fathering our community is part of being the resistance,” Harris said. “And racism is not a gray area for me. You are either with us or against us. You either value our humanity or you don’t value our humanity.”

— Bethany Ao

10:50 AM - June 21, 2020
10:50 AM - June 21, 2020

South Jersey gym that defied governor’s orders can’t reopen, judge says

An Atilis Gym member holds the American flag, as two members read the closed sign, outside the gym in Bellmawr last month.
YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
An Atilis Gym member holds the American flag, as two members read the closed sign, outside the gym in Bellmawr last month.

A federal judge has declined to allow a gym in South Jersey to reopen as it continues a constitutional challenge to the state order that shut down businesses deemed nonessential in order to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler on Friday denied a temporary restraining order sought by the owners of Atilis Gym of Bellmawr, which filed suit last month accusing Gov. Phil Murphy of having “arbitrarily” deemed some businesses essential while declaring others — such as gyms — nonessential, NJ.com reported.

Attorney Christopher Arzberger, who represents the owners, told Law360 that he was disappointed but vowed an appeal.

The suit argues that Murphy and other state officials violated the constitutional rights of the owners by forcing them out of business indefinitely with no timeline for when they could reopen.

— The Associated Press

8:35 PM - June 20, 2020
8:35 PM - June 20, 2020

Anti-Trump protesters gather at City Hall before president’s Tulsa rally

Raynard Guy (right) and his son Gabe Guy take a knee by City Hall as they respond to the supporting honks of passing cars during the "Refuse Fascism" anti-Trump rally at Dilworth Plaza Saturday, the day Trump was to address a rally in Tulsa.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Raynard Guy (right) and his son Gabe Guy take a knee by City Hall as they respond to the supporting honks of passing cars during the "Refuse Fascism" anti-Trump rally at Dilworth Plaza Saturday, the day Trump was to address a rally in Tulsa.

On the day that President Donald Trump was to speak at rally in Tulsa, Okla., about 25 protesters chanting “Trump and Pence are racists” gathered at City Hall late Saturday.

The protesters — holding a banner reading “Trump Pence Out Now!” — took part in a “speak-out,” in which anyone could take to the megaphone. Cars drove by and honked in support; one woman yelled out her window: “Black Lives Matter!”

Shawna Williams, 28, of Southwest Philly, said she came to the protest because she was still upset that earlier in the week she was attacked orally in South Philadelphia by those guarding the Christopher Columbus statue that activists want removed. Williams, who is black, also said beer was poured on her.

She said she believed those who abused her were encouraged by a president who doesn’t “fight for Black lives.”

President Donald Trump supporters cheer as they attend a campaign rally in Tulsa.
Evan Vucci / AP
President Donald Trump supporters cheer as they attend a campaign rally in Tulsa.

The demonstration was organized by Refuse Fascism, which hosted similar protests in cities across the country aimed at protesting the president the same weekend he’s holding his first rally since pandemic-related crowd size restrictions were put in place months ago.

Anna Orso

Peanut,ownned by Shawna Williams, rises up on her hind legs to check out a banner. Refuse Fascism had a protest at Dilworth Plaza. Called an Anti-Trump/Pence rally to defend black lives on June 20, 2020,. The rally coincided with President Trump’s campaign appearance in Tulsa, OK.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Peanut,ownned by Shawna Williams, rises up on her hind legs to check out a banner. Refuse Fascism had a protest at Dilworth Plaza. Called an Anti-Trump/Pence rally to defend black lives on June 20, 2020,. The rally coincided with President Trump’s campaign appearance in Tulsa, OK.
2:17 PM - June 20, 2020
2:17 PM - June 20, 2020

#SayHerName protest honors Dominique ‘Rem’mie’ Fells and Breonna Taylor

Hundreds of protesters marched through West Philadelphia Saturday in a crowd that stretched several city blocks, more than three weeks after daily protests about police brutality and racial inequity began in Philadelphia.

Billed the #SayHerName March for Justice, the demonstration was in honor of Breonna Taylor, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, and other Black women, transgender women, and girls who are victims of racist, homophobic, or transphobic violence.

”We can’t wait on anyone to dismantle the patriarchy,” said La’Tasha D. Mayes, president of New Voices for Reproductive Justice, which organizes the march. “We can’t wait on anyone to dismantle white supremacy … whatever injustices are ahead, the only way that we will win is if we win together.”

Protesters held signs that read “Trans Lives Matter,” “Justice for Breonna” and “99 Days is Too Long,” among others, referencing how long it has been since Taylor, an EMT in Louisville, Ky., was shot by police. None of the officers involved in her killing have been criminally charged.

The march was led by close family and friends of Fells, a Black trans woman recently murdered in Philadelphia. They chanted her name while surrounded by hundreds of protesters.

Keith Edmonds (left) and Terri Edmonds, parents of Dominique "Rem’mie" Fells, embrace after Terri Edmonds addressed a crowd of several hundred people before they marched in the #SayHerName March for Justice at 56th and Chestnut Streets in West Philadelphia on Saturday. Police say an acquaintance killed Fells, a transgender woman whose body was found along the Schuylkill River on June 8.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
Keith Edmonds (left) and Terri Edmonds, parents of Dominique "Rem’mie" Fells, embrace after Terri Edmonds addressed a crowd of several hundred people before they marched in the #SayHerName March for Justice at 56th and Chestnut Streets in West Philadelphia on Saturday. Police say an acquaintance killed Fells, a transgender woman whose body was found along the Schuylkill River on June 8.

The protest began outside a fire station at 56th and Chestnut Streets, in honor of Taylor’s work as an EMT. Demonstrators planned to march to Malcolm X Park.

Hundreds of protesters march along Chestnut Street in West Philadelphia Saturday afternoon.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
Hundreds of protesters march along Chestnut Street in West Philadelphia Saturday afternoon.

Anna Orso

1:24 PM - June 20, 2020
1:24 PM - June 20, 2020

Protesters call for renaming Taney Street in Philly

Kids enjoy popsicles next to a table for people to sign a petition for the renaming of Taney Street on Saturday, June 20, 2020. Taney Street is named after the former Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney, who authored the Dred Scott v. Sanford opinion in 1857.
TYGER WILLIAMS / Staff Photographer
Kids enjoy popsicles next to a table for people to sign a petition for the renaming of Taney Street on Saturday, June 20, 2020. Taney Street is named after the former Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney, who authored the Dred Scott v. Sanford opinion in 1857.

Protesters demonstrated along Taney Street in Philadelphia’s Fitler Square neighborhood on Saturday, calling on officials to rename the Philadelphia street for somebody they say united the country rather than divided it.

The street is named for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney, the principal author of the infamous Dred Scott v. Sanford decision of 1857 which held that Blacks, whether they were enslaved or free, had no standing in court because they were not and could not be U.S. citizens.

Fitler Square Neighbors, a group that supported the protest, launched a petition drive to rename the street. They had collected over 470 signatures even before the demonstration started at noon at the Markward Playground.

The cities of Baltimore and Annapolis had statues of Taney which they have removed, the protest organizers said.

Ben Keys, protest organizer, speaks about the history of Taney Street and why it should be renamed.
TYGER WILLIAMS / Staff Photographer
Ben Keys, protest organizer, speaks about the history of Taney Street and why it should be renamed.

Rita Giordano

12:39 AM - June 20, 2020
12:39 AM - June 20, 2020

Hopes for the future at Penn’s Landing Columbus monument

A group of girls walk past the boarded up base of the Christopher Columbus monument at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, which is covered with handwritten messages in chalk, on Saturday.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
A group of girls walk past the boarded up base of the Christopher Columbus monument at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, which is covered with handwritten messages in chalk, on Saturday.

After boarding up the Christopher Columbus monument at Penn’s Landing this week, the Delaware River Waterfront Corp. asked visitors to leave chalk messages answering the question “What are your hopes for the future of Philadelphia?”

By Saturday afternoon, the chalkboard was full of writing, with responses such as “justice,” “truth,” and “defund the police.”

The nonprofit group said the monument was boarded up “in an effort to protect public safety” and “reduce continued pain” as it begins consideration of its fate.

The boarded up base of the Christopher Columbus monument at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia is seen covered with handwritten messages in chalk on Saturday.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
The boarded up base of the Christopher Columbus monument at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia is seen covered with handwritten messages in chalk on Saturday.

Heather Khalifa, Laura McCrystal

11:58 AM - June 20, 2020
11:58 AM - June 20, 2020

‘Is this resistance through yoga? Or is it healing?’

Following weeks of protests in Philadelphia against police brutality and oppression, Sudan Green created Spirits Up! to bring healing to protesters through yoga, meditation, arts, and speakers.

The six-day series took place at historical locations across the city, culminating in Malcolm X Park in West Philadelphia on Juneteenth.

Organizers of Spirits Up! provided free yoga and mats to participants. In an effort to offer a safe space for healing from racial trauma, organizers are raising money to open an all Black yoga and wellness studio, as well as a scholarship for yoga teacher training.

Tyger Williams, Astrid Rodrigues

10:59 AM - June 20, 2020
10:59 AM - June 20, 2020

Asked to say ‘Black Lives Matter,' Vice President Mike Pence tells 6ABC anchor that ‘all lives matter'

Asked by 6ABC anchor Brian Taff on Friday if he would say “Black Lives Matter,” Vice President Mike Pence instead said that “all lives matter.”

Taff, who interviewed Pence on Friday afternoon, asked, “I wonder, sir, if those are words that you will utter right here, right now today. Black Lives Matter. Can you say those words?”

Pence responded that “the death of George Floyd was a tragedy” and the country must work toward equality.

“All lives matter in a very real sense,” Pence said. “It’s the reason why President Trump in the wake of the tragic event in Minneapolis said that justice would be served. We’ve met with law enforcement leaders. We’ve met with African American leaders.”

Taff pressed Pence again on the phrase.

“People will say, ‘of course all lives matter,' but to say the words is an acknowledgement that Black lives also matter at a time in this country when it appears that there’s a segment of our society that doesn’t agree,” Taff said. “So why will you not say those words?”

Pence declined to answer directly.

“I don’t accept, Brian, that there’s a segment of American society that disagrees in the preciousness and importance of every human life,” he said.

Laura McCrystal

10:14 AM - June 20, 2020
10:14 AM - June 20, 2020

Trump set to rally supporters in Tulsa as coronavirus cases spike, protests continue

Zach Moushon and his son, Holden Moushon, 8, camp with fellow supporters of President Donald Trump in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Thursday, days before the start of the official rally.
Amanda Voisard
Zach Moushon and his son, Holden Moushon, 8, camp with fellow supporters of President Donald Trump in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Thursday, days before the start of the official rally.

A boisterous rally reigniting President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. An unremitting pandemic. And persistent protests over racial injustice and police brutality.

On Saturday, the three are set to collide in Tulsa, Okla., where Trump is scheduled to hold his first campaign rally since the coronavirus brought much of public life to a standstill in March.

The president prepared to gather his supporters in a 19,000-seat indoor arena as new cases of the virus mounted in Tulsa. The event was able to proceed after the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Friday rejected a bid to require the venue, the BOK Center, to enforce social-distancing guidelines spelled out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and endorsed by members of the president’s own coronavirus task force. His campaign said it would take the temperatures of attendees and hand out masks but not require them.

The rally is set to unfold as the city’s coronavirus cases topped 2,000 and as protests continued there — and across the country — sparked by the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. It is scheduled for the day after Juneteenth, the informal holiday recognizing the delayed emancipation of enslaved Blacks in Texas.

Washington Post

8:18 AM - June 20, 2020
8:18 AM - June 20, 2020

Several Philly-area marches and protests planned for Saturday

Saturday marks the 22nd consecutive day of protests in Philadelphia since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Here are some of the numerous events planned:

  • 10 a.m.: We Pray Philadelphia, a peaceful prayer rally at City Hall.
  • Noon: A Black Lives Matter march at Glenolden Park in Glenolden Borough, Delaware County.
  • Noon: Shout-out for Justice at Germantown Avenue and Schoolhouse Lane in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood.
  • Noon: March to Rename Taney Street at Markward Playground near Pine Street and Taney Street in Philadelphia. Taney Street is named for Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney, who wrote the 1857 decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford ruling that Blacks were not citizens.
  • 1 p.m.: #SayHerName March for Justice with New Voices, a group committed to the health of Black women. The group will march in honor of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman killed by police in Louisville in March, and Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, a transgender woman whose dismembered body was found in the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia last week. The march will start at 56th and Chestnut Streets and continue to Malcolm X Park.
  • 6 p.m.: SpeakOut! No Fascist USA, a rally protesting the leadership of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at Dilworth Park.

Laura McCrystal

8:00 AM - June 20, 2020
8:00 AM - June 20, 2020

Photos: How Philadelphia celebrated Juneteenth

— Inquirer staff photographers

7:30 AM - June 20, 2020
7:30 AM - June 20, 2020

Juneteenth celebrations fill the city and region, alongside protests against brutality and racism

Protesters, led by organizer Wasiymah Josey, of North Philly (center right), chant at the conclusion of their march following the World of Grandeur fashion show that took place at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia on Juneteenth. The show was a celebration of Black greatness as well as a protest of oppression.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
Protesters, led by organizer Wasiymah Josey, of North Philly (center right), chant at the conclusion of their march following the World of Grandeur fashion show that took place at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia on Juneteenth. The show was a celebration of Black greatness as well as a protest of oppression.

With drumbeats and claps, fists in the air, hundreds marched through the heart of Philadelphia on Friday in celebration of Juneteenth, shouting, “Black lives matter! Black lives matter!”

Their chants filled city streets on the 155th anniversary of the day the last enslaved Black people in the United States learned they were free — and on the 21st day since this summer’s protests against police brutality and racial injustice began in Philadelphia.

“It’s incredibly emotional, it’s incredibly powerful. It’s something that’s owed to my ancestors,” said Caroline Dorsey, who demonstrated with her family at Eakins Oval and was glad the city had declared Juneteenth a holiday this year. “To have June 19 celebrated at such a massive level in the city of Philadelphia, the city that is my home ... words can’t describe how proud I am.”

— Justine McDaniel, Julie Shaw, Oona Goodin-Smith

7:00 AM - June 20, 2020
7:00 AM - June 20, 2020

Saturday’s Inquirer front page

The Inquirer front page for June 20, 2020.
staff
The Inquirer front page for June 20, 2020.