Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

How activists are prepping for election week protests | Morning Newsletter

And, a controversy involving a South Jersey youth football team represents the country’s racial reckonings.

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

As my colleague Rob Tornoe wrote yesterday, Philadelphia had a tough decision last night. After being the top television market for the first presidential debate, we had to choose between two of the city’s passions: democracy and football. Were you tuned in to Trump-Biden or Giants-Birds?

The Eagles got a last-minute victory last night, but we’ll have to wait a bit longer for the Trump-Biden winner. In the meantime, Philly activists are making plans for election week and my colleague Amy S. Rosenberg reports on the activity at a New Jersey ballot box.

— Josh Rosenblat (@joshrosenblat,

The 8- and 9-year-old football players were lined up on the field for the national anthem. Then, a running back for the Gibbstown Falcons turned to his coach and told him he wanted to kneel. The player, coach, and an assistant took a knee, then, one by one, other players dropped down until almost the entire team knelt and held hands.

The coach, Rashad Thomas, told my colleague Ellie Rushing it was a beautiful moment — but a fleeting one. Soon, a group of parents in the stands began to yell profanities and demanded their children stand. Within hours, league board members had voted to suspend the team’s coaches and the fallout has only built in the weeks since.

The outcry caps weeks of tension after two youth teams — one mostly white, one mostly Black — from two fairly segregated South Jersey towns merged,” Rushing writes. It’s a moment that’s representative of how racial reckonings are being felt in every corner of the country.

Dozens of progressive organizations are prepping protests for the days after the Nov. 3 election in case there’s voter intimidation, mail-in ballot invalidation, or other issues with the election, my colleague Anna Orso reports. It’s all part of a collective effort called “nobody comes for Philly” that pledges to “not rest until our state counts every vote.”

For Election Day itself, the Working Families Party is working with other national groups to recruit and train what they’re calling “election defenders.” There are more than 400 in Pennsylvania so far who are being taught “de-escalation” tactics in case there’s voter intimidation or “aggressive electioneering” at polls, according to the campaign director for the Election Defenders program.

What do police officers, an assistant principal, a supervisor for a juice company, a teacher, a pair of environmental cleanup specialists, a hairstylist, a bookkeeper, and more all have in common?

They all visited the same ballot box in a small New Jersey town on the same day during what my colleague Amy S. Rosenberg calls “a monthlong festival of voting.”

What you need to know today

  1. Here’s what happened during President Trump and Joe Biden’s debate last night, the final one before Election Day.

  2. My colleague Jonathan Tamari reports that Democrats have been much more active this year in Erie than they were in 2016. The results coming out of the northwestern corner of the state four years ago helped seal Trump’s victory.

  3. In a move that surprised some of their Republican colleagues, GOP leaders in the Pennsylvania Senate didn’t advance legislation this week that would fix the state’s COVID-19 rent relief program. It’s now likely that many landlords and families won’t get the aid they desperately need, Spotlight PA reports.

  4. Two weeks ago, the financial losses associated with the coronavirus pandemic forced the nonprofit that runs Reading Terminal Market to launch a GoFundMe. So far, it has raised just half of the $250,000 it sought. But a casino and racetrack operator now says it will help raise the difference.

  5. If confirmed to the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett could play a major role in a new lawsuit that could block Pennsylvania’s mail-in ballot extension.

  6. Latinos in Pennsylvania are concerned that the Biden campaign’s outreach might be too late.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

I highly recommend clicking through @seandergen’s hazy pictures. Thanks for sharing them.

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

  1. 🦅 A last-minute touchdown pass from Carson Wentz to Boston Scott sealed the Eagles' comeback win over the Giants. Here are five things my colleague Paul Domowitch took away from last night’s game.

  2. 🗳️ Broad Street Ministry doubles as the mailing address for thousands of people who are experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. The organization is piloting a project to ensure that each guest has the chance to make their vote count this year.

  3. 🏈 Penn State will play its first football game of the fall this weekend, leaving the campus bubble for about 36 hours to travel to Indiana.

  4. 🏞️ This year, there have been over 7 million more visits to Pennsylvania parks during the pandemic than during the same period last year.

  5. 🚘 Thinking about a day trip to Pennsylvania Dutch County? Here are our recs for a day in Lancaster.

  6. 🍂 The fall foliage peak has arrived in Philly.


“Yet, injustice is not merely the absence of justice. Injustice is a system with its own playbook. Starting to reform that system, bit by bit, is one of the issues we debated this summer and is on the ballot this fall.” — writes Chad Lassiter, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, about how voting can dismantle injustice.

  1. Columnist Maria Panaritis writes about the push for a cure for “Childhood Alzheimer’s," which has begun anew after a pandemic-enforced pause.

  2. The Inquirer Editorial Board writes about Harrisburg’s failure to prep for a surge in mail-in ballots.

What we’re reading

  1. WHYY has a story on the window signs that urge folks in Philly to vote.

  2. Tim Herrera of the New York Times' Smarter Living section writes about losing motivation after seven months of a pandemic.

  3. Bloomberg Businessweek has a feature on how a TV network became a 24/7 Trump boat parade.

Your Daily Dose of | Stay safe, do stuff

Every Thursday, we update our calendar with the best events for the week. We also have a guide to help you decide if you feel safe at those in-person events. Some events to look out for include Movies on Broad: Fright Week at the Wells Fargo Center and Black Restaurant Week, which is ongoing through Oct. 26.