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As masks come off in Philly there’s reason for hope

These days there’s a lot to talk about in Philly. In the face of a gun violence crisis that’s killing Black men in droves, City Council voted to ban dirt bikes, the state legislature is trying to bring back voter suppression, and while the little guy gets harassed for every penny, big businesses don’t pay their fair share in taxes. In the shadow of this week’s high school graduations there are those who will never finish, but not to worry. While the educational system pushed them to drop out, the prison system invites them to drop in.

But while all of that is true, there’s reason for hope. Because this last year of COVID—a year that saw nearly 600,000 Americans die–is starting to give way to something better. Businesses are reopening. People are going to work. And today in Philadelphia, the masks are coming off.

After a year of looking at each other and not knowing what we were thinking or how we were feeling, we’ll finally be able to see each other smile. We’ll finally be able to hear each other clearly. We’ll finally be able to hold each other up. Because the truth is, we’ve lost a lot over the course of this year. We’ve lost people, and money, and some of us have lost ourselves.

But we’ve gained something too. We’ve gained the understanding that we can stand up to tragedy, that we can make it through adversity, that we can find the light while stumbling in the darkness.

We are stronger than we were this time last year, because we’ve struggled through loss, and made it to the other side. So whether you take your mask off or not, smile today. Hope today. Dream today. Because if you’ve made it through this year and you’re still here, it could be that the best is yet to come.

Photo: Health Partners Foundation and the Black Doctors COVID Consortium By. Governor Tom Wolf

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Join me, Mayor Jim Kenney and Dr. Ala Stanford for, “Unmasking COVID: Where does Philly go from here?” tonight at 7 pm on Classix 107.9 FM
Just saw this brother going door to door talking to voters. He’s running for the Court of Common Pleas. I liked what he had to say!
We believe in giving the mothers in our family their roses while they’re here, so my children and I did just that for my mother, my mother in law, my aunt and my wife. Whole table covered with flowers. LaVeta in the background making up #mothersday songs. Lol! Love my family.
My #Mom and my #Grandmom dancing at my wedding. Love you Mom! Miss you Grandmom! Love you both!
Join ManUpPHL tonight at 6 pm on Facebook live as we discuss mental health, trauma, and how to heal in the age of gun violence with @helena.fontes.73
Join me now at #EatibleDelights Catering at 1540 E. Wadsworth Ave. I’m signing books! Come by and #BuyBlack
My wife’s shirt from Northeast High 1985. If you look carefully you can see both our names— LaVeta Hewlett and Solomon Jones. Who knew that all these years later we would be married with children? God is full of surprises.
The #COVID monster has nothing on me. I got my shot!
At 8 am we talk to @PPDCommish #DanielleOutlaw about the gun violence happening in #Philly on 900 AM/ 96.1 FM  WURD @onwurd
I got my first shot of the Moderna vaccine in January from a Black nurse at a Black church in North Philly. Dr. ⁦‪@alastanford‬⁩ filmed it. Got my second shot in February. I’m glad I did. Do your research and do what’s best for you. But if I did it anyone can.
Join Great Commission Church for our online Good Friday Service today at 6 pm on Facebook. I will be delivering the 7th last word from Luke 23:46
Join @ManUpPHL as we continue our push against gun violence. Go to ManUpPHL.org to join, to donate, or get help.
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