Hello, readers of the Inquirer Morning newsletter.

First: Philly police asked the DEA to infiltrate Black Lives Matter protests last summer, emails show.

Then: Vaccine hesitancy among Gen Z is a concern. Here’s what the experts say can help.

And: SEPTA’s new mural misspelled Frederick Douglass’ name.

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

Philadelphia police asked the DEA to infiltrate protests and spy on activists last June, emails show

Philadelphia police asked the Drug Enforcement Agency to infiltrate crowds of protesters during racial justice demonstrations in June to identify protest leaders and agitators, emails show.

The request was made public last week by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a D.C.-based think tank that obtained the emails through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The emails show that on June 2, a Philadelphia police sergeant asked a ranking DEA agent to assign personnel to “infiltrate crowds for intel purposes.”

That request was approved and the operations lasted through at least June 6, records show. Police power to infiltrate protests with their own officers is restricted in Philadelphia. The DEA’s role in the protests last spring came after the agency was granted sweeping authority to “conduct covert surveillance” of protests.

City spokesperson Deana Gamble described the DEA’s involvement as “general assistance” that was “unfortunately couched as ‘infiltration’ by the requesting officer.”

Read on for reporter Anna Orso’s full story on the surveillance.

Vaccine hesitancy is increasing among Gen Z. Targeted public health messaging can help, experts say.

COVID-19 vaccine interest among Generation Z, those born between 1997 and 2012 has dropped, according to a NBCLX/Morning Consult poll conducted last month.

Public-health officials are especially concerned about vaccine hesitancy in the age group, as new coronavirus cases have spiked among young adults in a number of states in the last month. So who is speaking their language? Communication experts tell us that this generation hasn’t gotten enough clear, consistent messages about vaccines where they spend most of their time: social media.

Another possible influential factor? For most of the pandemic, vaccine messages drove home the idea that seniors were the face of virus’ potential toll, and the most aggressive outreach has targeted this group. But that’s shifting now. Eligibility is opening up to everyone over 16 across the country, and there’s evidence that exposure to the virus can have serious long-term consequences for young people.

Reporter Bethany Ao has the story on what can be done to reach Gen Z.

Helpful COVID-19 Resources

What you need to know today

  • SEPTA’s new mural featuring Frederick Douglass’ most famous speech misspelled his name, prompting dismay.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court has officially closed the books on the Pa. 2020 election by dismissing the last challenge.

  • Yesterday, in a costly reversal, the state’s largest pension plan said that it would require school employees to pay more to support their retirement after the fund admitted that it had inflated its investment results.

  • Authorities in Cape May County are investigating allegations of harassment and sexual assault against the Ocean City Beach Patrol.

  • Pa. voters will be asked to consider four ballot questions on May 18. This is your guide to Pa.’s 2021 primary ballot questions.

  • Meet the seven Philly principals who have garnered praise for their outstanding leadership.

  • Lou Barletta, a former congressman from Pennsylvania and vocal ally of former President Donald Trump’s, is moving toward a potential run for governor.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

You’d never know that getting this diva to pose was such a challenge.

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


“How much money, how many new technologies, and how many trainings will it take for Philadelphia police leadership to stop having to apologize?” — The Inquirer Editorial Board, which operates independently from the newsroom, writes that Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposed budget is out of step with the people of Philadelphia.

  • This new Pa. bill would make it harder to rent out your home and jeopardize the privacy of thousands of Pennsylvanians, Steve Shur, Travel Technology Association president, writes.

  • We need everyone to speak up and intervene when they witness sexual assaults, Allison Weidhaas, associate professor at Rider University, writes.

What we’re reading

  • Of course, a “farm-to-table aquaculture” spot should be on your radar. Philly Mag says this place on the way to the Shore has some of the best oysters.

  • Asian professionals in the travel industry shared with the Washington Post how they each believe the field can be more inclusive.

  • Where does the pressure to be happy in a pandemic come from and what would it mean to opt out? The Week wonders.

  • The Maldives tourism board is planning to offer COVID-19 vaccines to tourists once their residents are fully vaccinated.

  • Captain of these United States, Chris Evans, and Queen Lizzo connected on Instagram, and people are already planning their lives together. You better believe Buzzfeed has the receipts.

Daily Dose | Fund-raising

The executive director of Uplifting Athletes had dreamed of an NFL career before an unusual form of brain cancer ruled that out. But it didn’t stop a victory of another kind off the field. Now he oversees fund-raising to battle rare diseases that wouldn’t necessarily get the public’s attention by partnering with college and professional sports teams.