Let’s start with some good news: We all get an extra hour today as we fall back out of daylight saving time. So, be sure to enjoy it before the week really kicks off.
There are plenty of other things to enjoy about the time change too. My colleague Tony Wood wrote a love letter to all the simple things we can appreciate as we go back into Eastern standard time — even if you hate this time of year as I do.
If I had my way, we would stop changing our clocks altogether. It’s not just annoying. Moving forward or backward an hour has real impacts on our health. But there’s some more good news: The earlier sunsets will help us get more sleep this fall and winter.
But what do you think? Should we still be using daylight saving time? Reply to this email to share your thoughts.
The week ahead
The $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill passed the House on Friday and is headed to President Joe Biden’s desk to become law. The bill will bring a lot of funding across the country, including for the Gateway rail project in the region. It’s a vast plan to expand capacity for train traffic between New York and New Jersey.
Philly transit workers ratified a new contract with SEPTA that includes raises, parental leave, and a hazard bonus for working during the pandemic.
Need a pick-me-up? My colleague Helen Ubiñas wanted to feel better about the world, so she did some volunteer work. And she thinks you should too — especially during the holiday season.
Local Coronavirus Numbers: Philly’s cases are continuing to fall, but four counties in Pennsylvania are seeing a rise from the last two weeks. Get the numbers here.
This week’s most popular stories
Behind the story with Raishad Hardnett
Each week we go behind the scenes with one of our reporters or editors to discuss their work and the challenges they face along the way. This week we chat with videographer Raishad Hardnett about the “Wildest Dreams” project and his work as a visual journalist.
As a videographer, what does a typical day look like for you?
I wear multiple hats and every day looks different for me. Some days are simply “shoot days,” where I’m running and gunning between locations to capture video for a daily piece, or for a longer cinematic documentary. Depending on the day, I might be filming out in the field, editing video from home, or attending virtual meetings with our other journalists to plan our video coverage.
How did the Wildest Dreams project come about?
The Wildest Dreams series came out of a conversation with my supervisor Danese Kenon during ... last year’s uprisings. As a video journalist reporting during a deadly pandemic and also a massive racial justice movement, I was constantly on edge, awaiting the next breaking news event to be sent to. And I was tired. With so much happening, it was difficult to set aside the time to plan the kind of storytelling that makes Black folks feel seen — beyond our anger and trauma.
Danese and I decided we wanted to tell more sensitive, holistic stories about Black experiences. We also wanted to spark a sustained dialogue between us as Black journalists and our communities in Philly. Weeks later, I pitched the Wildest Dreams concept, a compilation of storytelling about Black ancestry and Black cultural inheritance — something every Black person can claim, yet something so personal to our own families and lineages.
We pulled together a team of Black journalists across multiple desks in the newsroom, and we brainstormed our intentions, our passions, and our dreams for the series before launching in September.
What are some principles that guide Wildest Dreams?
First and foremost, Blackness is too expansive and too multilayered to be defined. Early on, our team decided we wanted to render beautiful, complex, and multilayered experiences within Black communities, without surrendering to the need to “define” or “explain” Blackness to non-Black audiences. The intention, instead of explaining, was to send love notes directly to Black people and to uplift our cultural legacies.
What’s the best part of Wildest Dreams for you?
Hearing from the community. So many people have reached out with beautiful responses to the series. Knowing that Black people in Philadelphia are seeing themselves in this project, and loving what they see, really means a lot — and it’s why we set out to create this space in the first place.
What are some other projects or stories you’ve worked on that you’re proud of?
One of the projects I’m most proud of is “Legendary: 30 Years of Philly Ballroom,” which I co-produced along with my colleagues Cassie Owens and Lauren Schneiderman in 2019. The short documentary film explores the local LGBTQ ballroom scene in Philadelphia and follows the pioneers who are working to keep its 30-year legacy alive. It was the first time we produced a film of that length, and it’s received so much love and support, especially from the Black queer and trans folks in the local ballroom scene.
I’m also really proud of the work Astrid Rodrigues and I did last year to document the police crackdown on 52nd Street in West Philadelphia, which happened in response to the George Floyd uprisings. It was an investigative video, where we cross-referenced helicopter footage with cellphone footage on the ground to lay out the timeline of events leading up to the teargassing of a mostly Black residential neighborhood.
What are some things you do in your free time? Do you have any good movie/book/TV show recommendations?
My free time involves lots of yoga and lots of sleep. I’ve also been binge-watching Sex Education on Netflix (it’s pretty good) and rewatching Insecure on HBO when I need reminders of pre-pandemic social life.
Email Raishad Hardnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly
This is a gorgeous fall shot of the Philly skyline. Great job and thanks for sharing, @jwalter211! Share your favorite Philly images on social media using #OurPhilly.