It wasn’t a typical July Fourth weekend. The coronavirus pandemic led to cancellation of fireworks displays and other events, while some typical commemorations took place in an altered format (such as Welcome America’s virtual concert). My colleagues were out covering what July Fourth felt like in 2020.

July Fourth weekend in Philly started off quiet. But on Independence Day typical traditions took a back seat. Transgender rights activists marched in front of the Liberty Bell. A group gathered at 30th Street Station denounced the use of force by police. A rally took over the street in front of the Municipal Services Building. Here’s what this year’s July Fourth looked like in photos.

More protests took place yesterday, including a peaceful one at which several hundred people denounced the Philadelphia Police Department’s actions on I-676 on June 1 and called for Mayor Jim Kenney’s resignation over the debacle. They marched onto the Vine Street Expressway, where police had stopped traffic.

Managing Director Brian Abernathy is an unelected official who serves as the city’s top bureaucrat. Since March, with the unprecedented combination of the coronavirus pandemic and mass protests, Abernathy has become more visible and more powerful than many of his predecessors.

In those two major events, Abernathy has received both praise and criticism. While his efforts helped the city avoid so far the same coronavirus-related devastation New York City experienced, he has come under fire for the city’s handling of the protests with a police response that has been seen as unprepared and heavy-handed.

My colleagues have begun compiling a guide to having the best possible summer, all while staying safe. Here are activities, recipes, and advice for having fun.

Some recent examples of stories to check out: how to work out in the heat and how to make the most out of your yard and porch as social spaces.

What you need to know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

I’ve never seen fireworks from this view. Thanks for sharing, @elevated.angles.

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


“We teach our children by our actions and the choices we make about where we live, the people with whom we socialize, the movies we select, the books on shelves, and where we send our kids to school. It’s not as simple as Mommy said the N-word and now Junior thinks it’s OK to disparage African Americans.” — writes columnist Jenice Armstrong about how parents needed to do better when their teens who attend elite Philly schools made racist, sexist, and homophobic statements on social media.

  • In a Q&A, Sandy Shea, The Inquirer’s managing editor of Opinion, discussed the modern relevance of the Declaration of Independence with Philip Mead, the chief historian of the Museum of the American Revolution.
  • This weekend marked 244 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The Inquirer asked Philadelphians “to offer their visions for how that document might be revised or revisited to better deliver on its promise.” You can read their annotations here.

What we’re reading

Your Daily Dose of | Journaling

In late March, my colleague Cassie Owens asked Inquirer readers to submit entries from their journals as the region entered a coronavirus lock down. The submissions showed, Owens writes, “how people around the region were flexing their creativity and working to process these overwhelming times.”