Hello, dedicated readers of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter.

First: Go inside grassroots efforts to try to break down access barriers to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Then: Vaccination rate gaps are persisting. We take a look at Esperanza.

And: Remembering the towering figure who modernized the Philly skyline.

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

Grassroots efforts take on vaccine barriers across the Philly region

Grassroots efforts to increase the vaccination rate one person at a time may look a lot less extreme than a mass clinic push, but they can be effective particularly because the intervention is coming from a friendly face people know.

In Coatesville, where 75% of residents are people of color and the median household income is $45,000, Ann Cunningham pounds the pavement for important conversations about COVID-19 vaccines with residents there. When people, particularly young people, shut her down completely, of course it has an emotional impact on her. But she’s emboldened when she convinces someone to get the vaccine. And she does.

Hesitancy is just one factor that can affect demand for vaccines. In both the city and the suburbs, there’s a dense outreach patchwork to try to eliminate access barriers such as inflexible work schedules with such things as night time neighborhood clinics.

Read on for reporters Justine McDaniel and Erin McCarthy’s story on the tactics that community leaders and volunteers are trying.

Esperanza has been a success at vaccinating Latinos, but Black Philadelphians still lag behind

The FEMA-run site Esperanza opened in North Philly with a mission to address low vaccination rates there. With majority Black and Latino populations, the area has suffered a disproportionate toll throughout the pandemic. In the effort to vaccinate everyone quickly, roughly 56% of shots from Esperanza have gone to Latinos, who make up about 31% of the residents in the zip codes nearest the site. But Black residents received only about 18% of the shots, despite making up more than half the population in the area.

“It’s scary and it makes me sad at the same time,” said Quetcy Lozada, Esperanza’s vice president of community engagement and organizing. “I want to make sure people understand that we’re there.”

It’s not the only site facing gaps. In interviews, residents who are not yet vaccinated cited frustration, misinformation and fear, and the extreme reality. In a city plagued by high poverty and a record number of homicides, the coronavirus isn’t the only threat.

Philadelphia is planning concerted outreach efforts to promote the vaccine including phone calls, text messages, and door-to-door canvassing. Read on for reporter Jason Laughlin’s whole story on the push to address gaps.

Helpful COVID-19 Resources

What you need to know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Moody weekend weather isn’t so bad when this is the view.

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

📺 SNL could not stop milking and heightening the Delco accent jokes with this weekend’s Mare of Easttown parody.

🎟 And the Flyers announced a plan to administer COVID-19 vaccines at today’s game, plus two free tickets to a game next season.

🌱 Germantown Farmers Market is back with a mission to drive the efforts: increasing sustainable agriculture and urban forestry in communities of color.

🖼 What did first-day visitors think of Philly’s redesigned art museum?

🏆 Doc Rivers weighs in on how he’d feel about Joel Embiid winning MVP for the Sixers’ locker room.


“The day was a tragedy for Philadelphia. From a national perspective, it culminated decades of American cities bombing and burning Black homes and businesses, then obliterating the details from history,” writes Mistinguette Smith, executive director of The Black/Land Project about how the bombing of MOVE was one of many similar incidents of government warfare against its own people.

  • “Observation, reflection, and recommitment are impossible without a shared understanding of what happened on May 13, 1985, and why. A second MOVE commission could help us get there,” Shannon McLaughlin Rooney, vice president of enrollment management and strategic communication at Community College of Philadelphia, writes that elevating awareness about the MOVE bombing requires sufficient context.

  • “A complex, relatively recent spike in gun violence isn’t a reason to return to the mass incarceration regime of yesteryear, but a challenge to do better. We believe the present DA, Larry Krasner, is also the district attorney for Philadelphia’s future, with bold ideas that hopefully he will better execute with more experience under his belt. We endorse him for another term,” The Inquirer Editorial Board, which operates independently from the newsroom, writes that Larry Krasner deserves a second term as Philly district attorney.

What we’re reading

Your Daily Dose of | Volunteering

Volunteers keep the Open Door Clinic at St. Wilfrid’s in Camden going strong. The church’s mission, which now includes weekly food services, has only been bolstered by the impact of the pandemic.