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“A heavy shadow”: A tribute to late West Philly activist Fran Aulston from Spiral Q

October 21, 2015

Fran Aulston, a West Philadelphia community activist, former President of the Paul Robeson House and founder of Peoplehood Parade passed away on August 9, 2015. The 16th annual Peoplehood Parade, in honor of Fran Aulston, will take place on Saturday, Oct. 24 (read more about the parade here).

The following is a letter from Spiral Q artistic director Tracy Broyles on Fran’s legacy.

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              Fran Aulston

“Some argue that #BlackLivesMatter is little more than a hashtag. At Spiral Q, however, we see a vibrant and brave movement of young people of color standing up to injustice, channeling the long-fought struggles of our elders for the full dignity and humanity of Black lives. One of these elders, Paul Robeson, we plan to honor by celebrating the memory of a true West Philadelphia community leader: Fran Aulston.

Fran Aulston passed away on August 9, 2015, and her passing casts a heavy shadow in our hearts and across our city. Fran fought tirelessly to ensure that Paul Robeson’s legacy would endure in the city where he spent the final years of his life. For us, 2015 marks the first year that Spiral Q will step off on its annual Peoplehood Parade this coming Saturday, October 24th, without the blessing of Fran, longtime President of the Paul Robeson House and a founder of Peoplehood, to open the parade. As we continue to lose the profound voices of our generation, we deem it all the more important to honor the visionary leaders upon whose shoulders we stand: Gloria Casarez, Fran Aulston, Grace Lee Boggs, to name but a few who’ve touched our lives in countless ways.

As artists and cultural workers, we heed our imperative and are moved to create in honor of these visionaries. We will pay tribute to them, and to the struggles in our city and across the country that they fought to make our communities more just and equitable places to live for those most directly-impacted by injustice. On Saturday, October 24th, Spiral Q will dedicate our 16th annual Peoplehood Parade to the movement for Black lives. The parade, Soar in Solidarity, will feature a range of artistic offerings, including a special tribute just for Fran: a Paul Robeson puppet who will help us carry forward her vision of educating and engaging community in learning Mr. Robeson’s history and legacy.

In Fran’s memory, we will put the Paul Robeson puppet to work, alongside the staff of the Paul Robeson House, to ensure that our communities’ untold stories of fighting for justice continue to be told for years to come.”

Sincerely,

Tracy Broyles
Executive Artistic Director
Spiral Q | Philadelphia, PA

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From Paul Robeson House to Clark Park: Peoplehood Parade this Saturday

October 21, 2015

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Peoplehood Parade map (click to enlarge).

The 16th annual Peoplehood Parade, organized by Spiral Q, is happening this Saturday (Oct 24). This year’s parade will pay tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement and honor the life of Fran Aulston, a community leader and former Paul Robeson House president, who passed away on August 9, 2015. People of all ages are invited to join Spiral Q artists and their puppets on Saturday and march, walk or roll through West Philly streets together (wheelchairs, bicycles and strollers are welcome).

The parade, which will span a 1.25 mile route, will feature Spiral Q’s signature giant puppets, stilt-walkers, a drum line, and the artwork of fine artist Vitus Shell, a Monroe, LA native.

The parade starts at 1 p.m. at the Paul Robeson House (4951 Walnut St)  and then moves into Clark Park (45th and Chester), where it will be followed by a participatory group art-making activity starting around 2 p.m. in the Bowl. Visit the Spiral Q website for more details.

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Annual Ethiopian Day Festival on Saturday at 44th and Chestnut

October 9, 2015

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The annual Ethiopian Day Festival is Saturday. A photo from last year’s event. (From the Ethiopian Community Association website.)

The Ethiopian Community Association of Greater Philadelphia is putting on its annual Ethiopian Day Festival and free concert tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 44th and Chestnut.

Music, children’s games, food and poetry are on the schedule.

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Calling all wealthy millennials who want to put their money to work for social justice

October 5, 2015

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Image provided by Resource Generation Philly chapter.

The local chapter of Resource Generation, a group of 18- to 35-year-olds who have pledged to leverage their wealth or class privilege for social justice, is holding an open house on Thursday, Oct. 15.

Over the past year the group has committed to providing more than $27,000 in funding to promote racial justice, splitting the money between the Organization for Black Struggle in Ferguson and the Bread and Roses Racial and Economic Justice Fund in Philadelphia. Its members have also hosted meetings on radical investing and regenerative finance, transferring capital and resources to communities impacted by economic inequality.  Continue Reading

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Volunteers sought for local youth recreation programs

September 25, 2015

soccer-2011-6The Fall season of the Clark Park Youth Soccer League (CPYSL) begins on Saturday, Oct. 3, and the popular volunteer-run program is still looking for coaches. You don’t need serious soccer skills or coaching experience in order to apply. The Fall season continues until November 23. It takes place on Saturdays at Clark Park (45th and Chester), with age groups 5-6 and 6-7 playing from 10:30 a.m. to Noon, and age groups 7-8 and 9-11 playing from Noon to 1:30 p.m. Volunteer coaches are asked to commit to being there most of the Saturdays through the season, but the program will try to have three or four coaches assigned to each team so that you will always have backup. Everyone who likes to play soccer and enjoys running around and having fun with kids is welcome to apply.  Continue Reading

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Building It Together grants available for local organizations, community groups

September 22, 2015

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Mosaic Community Church, 123 S. 51st St.

West Philly organizations and community groups have a chance to receive grants of up to $6,000 for their projects. Three years ago, as part of a capital campaign to raise money to renovate their new property at 51st and Sansom, Mosaic Community Church committed to give away 10 percent of all of the money raised to organizations who are doing good work in West Philly neighborhoods. This commitment turned into the Building It Together (BIT) Grant Program. This year, Mosaic’s BIT Grant Program has $26,000 to give away and invites local nonprofits and community organizations to apply.

The BIT Grant Program is comprised of two distinct funding opportunities:  Continue Reading

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