Hello, dedicated readers of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter.

First: A year after police teargassed them on I-676, eight people describe how their lives have changed.

Then: Hello, public transportation, the return of in-person court, very big mask decisions, and shopping. This is what reopening looks like so far.

And: With so much focus on respiratory health, what happened this year with young adults and vaping?

P.S. Forecasters expect severe storms late tonight that could set off some flooding. Here’s what to expect the rest of the week.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_ashleyhoffman, morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

One year later

A year ago, hundreds of protesters marched onto I-676 on the third day of Philadelphia’s racial justice protests after George Floyd’s murder. But then city and state police — some in tanks — surrounded them, spraying chemicals and firing rubber bullets and tear gas as they tried to flee. People described what happened there as “nightmarish” and “pandemonium.”

Eight people who were there told reporter Ellie Rushing how that day has affected their lives in the year since.

  • West Philadelphia neighbors gathered this week to commemorate the one-year anniversary of police teargassing protesters, agitators, and bystanders alike on 52nd Street. Residents and activists marched, carrying signs reading “Human Rights Were Violated Here.”

  • Philly Mayor Jim Kenney promised police reform this year. So what happened? Here’s what you need to know about new oversight, flat funding, and the hurdles to significant reform.

What reopening looks like so far

To mask or not to mask? As the Pa. reopening gets humming, people face a decision.

Helpful COVID-19 Resources

What you need to know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout-out!

That’s interesting

🏖️ The worst holiday washout in recent memory had an upside: Iconic indoor venues packed the partiers in down the Shore. Let’s go to Wildwood for the dispatch. Last year: photos that would have prompted some good old shaming at a news conference. This year: a signal of reassurance for many.

🧠 These Penn scientists discovered how the brain engages in imagination.

🕵️ Any Mare of Easttown fans worth their salt know the whodunit was every bit a quick study in grief as it was an engrossing murder mystery. Who best to learn about the meaning behind that cathartic moment at season’s end than a Philly therapist who consulted on the show?

🍄 From mushrooms to seitan, you know you can let reporter Grace Dickinson be your fun guide to plant-based cheesesteaks done right.


“I’m sure I’m not the only one who found comfort in chaos, joy in inanity throughout the pandemic. One of the worst running jokes in a year of awful running jokes was that in 2020, time no longer existed. But every day I tuned in to a new briefing, and they became signposts for the week when time felt as if it didn’t actually exist: If it’s Tuesday, this must be the Philadelphia COVID presser.” The Inquirer’s breaking-news editor, Molly Eichel, reflects honestly on the calm consistency she found in the shepherds of Philly’s ritualistic COVID briefings in her unabashedly self-aware essay.

  • The front-end manager of South Philly Food Co-op., Cameron Adamez, asks shoppers to please keep wearing their masks for his safety.

  • A Philly rabbi writes of her empathy for Palestinians and her relationship to Judaism.

What we’re reading

Your Daily Dose of | Warriors

Military veterans are finding that playing hockey as members of the Philadelphia Flyers Warriors is a reparative and inspiring outlet. “I went to a couple practices, and I said to my wife, ‘This is something special,’ " one veteran said.