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- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
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- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
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Remembering David Cohen
As Councilman Goode alerted us to earlier today, we learned that David Cohen, a fixture in Philadelphia progressive politics, died today at the age of 90. I am going to leave this post up at the top for a few days, and, I encourage those who wish, to leave a message in the comments about any fond memories they have of the Councilman.
UPDATE: Here is the funeral info for the Councilman:
Memorial services will be held at 11:00 on Thursday October 6, 2005, at Goldsteins' Rosenbergs' Raphael-Sacks Funeral Home, 6410 North Broad Street.
Community members, regardless of religion, are also invited to observe Shiva with the family at the home of Mark Cohen, 1415 Brighton Street, Philadelphia, PA 19111 at 7:30 pm on Thursday, Oct. 6, Saturday, Oct. 8, and Sunday, Oct. 9.
I will start it off with my memory in the extended entry...
My freshman year at Central was the fall that the Philadelphia School District killed after-school activities, from JV sports, to arts clubs. There was a game of chicken going down between Ed Rendell/David Hornbeck and John Perzel/the rest of Harrisburg, over the Commonwealth's share of school funding. However, as students, we were left with a school that was basically becoming a shell, all the while we were cutting the wage tax. (This is not meant to start a debate over Rendell's wage tax cuts, so forget about responding to that point. It is just giving some context to what we were feeling that day.)
In response, in a show of activism that stuns me still today, school students from all over the city, of all colors, walked out of school, and to a rally at City Hall. I remember being threatened by our principal if we did walk, and hearing that other principals had even locked their students in. But, despite that, we marched.
It was a unifying, amazing show of force of kids from all kind of backgrounds. Kids from all over the City making demands for a decent education... And, whether you agreed with the demand to hold off on wage tax cuts so that we could get after-school activities back, there was no question that the larger thing happening that day was a potential political awakening for many students. In short, it was just the sort of thing that local politicians should have been thrilled with.
Well, the reaction from most of our leaders was not so great. One Councilman, who I still very much like, said that we all should have been arrested. Then-Mayor Rendell, in meeting with the student leaders of the Philly Student Union, treated them all so well that the front page of the Daily News showed one of them in tears after leaving his office. But, along with Angel Ortiz, who was the sponsor of the bill we were supporting, one other politician welcomed us to City Hall that day with open arms.
Even then, Councilman Cohen was 80 years old; no spring chicken. But, he climbed right onto the podium where we gathered, grabbed the megaphone, and then do you know what he did? He thanked us. He thanked us for caring, he thanked us for participating. He encouraged us to not let the fight die. From what I remember, his speech was generally pretty good. But it was that small act, of seeing a multi-racial force of student activists, and realizing their immense potential for good, seeing a flickering flame that could ignite a wave of young people from around the City, and genuinely and deeply thanking us for being there. He simply got it.
Rest in Peace, Councilman.
May the equitable, just Philadelphia that you worked so hard for, become a reality someday soon.