Rally protesting coronavirus shutdown planned in Harrisburg

2020-04-19 | The Philadelphia Inquirer

April 19-- Apr. 19--As the coronavirus shutdown continues, some people want to go back to their normal lives. So, they planned a protest at Pennsylvania's capital. But officials have been pushing back, saying that reopening businesses increases the risk of the virus spreading. If you need something uplifting right about now, there's a principal in Camden who was once a homeless, single, teenage mom. Now, she inspires others. In today's Q, we talk to education reporter Melanie Burney on how that story came to be.

-- Lauren Aguirre (@laurencaguirre, morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

-- A rally is planned at Pennsylvania's state capitol in Harrisburg tomorrow to protest business closures due to the coronavirus. State officials are aware of the gathering and have advised against it. This comes after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said if state leaders ended social distancing, they would have "blood on our hands." Last week, the Pennsylvania legislature passed a bill that would reopen more businesses. Gov. Tom Wolf has said he will veto it.

-- If you're going to the grocery store, you should be wearing a mask. All Pennsylvania businesses must now require employees and customers to wear them, officials said Wednesday. They are required to deny entry to anyone who isn't wearing one. Don't have a mask? Here's an easy, step-by-step tutorial to make your own.

-- Stimulus checks are being deposited into accounts across the region. If you're in a situation where you aren't depending on that money, here are a few ideas for how you could use it to help. If you have questions about your stimulus check or anything else related to the coronavirus, be sure to take a look at the questions we've already answered here.

-- Looking for coronavirus stimulus checks, some get 'payment status not available' error message

-- I didn't get my coronavirus stimulus check. What should I do?

-- What happened to all the toilet paper, according to professors of psychology and supply chains

-- Gov. Tom Wolf will veto bill to reopen more Pa. businesses, as top health official warns legislation puts 'more lives at risk'

-- All Pa. businesses must require employees and customers to wear masks amid coronavirus pandemic

Each week we go behind the scenes with one of our reporters or editors to discuss their work and the challenges they face along the way. This week we chat with Melanie Burney, who covers education in New Jersey, about a Camden principal she profiled.

How did you first learn about Fatihah Abdur-Rahman?

We met initially on Facebook, mainly due to friends in common and an interest in education. In January, she invited me to participate in her "Leaders are Readers" program and read a story to first-graders at her school. During the orientation for volunteers, Abdur-Rahman shared her personal story and asked each reader to give the kids a word of encouragement. Her story resonated with me -- so much so that before leaving I told her, "you know I have to tell your story, right?"

She smiled and weeks later I finally got a chance to tell her story.

In what ways do you think her story can inspire others to overcome their own hardships?

Abdur-Rahman had a lot to overcome. She never gave up and continues to strive to do her best. There's something in her story for everybody: take a chance, work hard, dream big, encourage others facing challenges, do something to help somebody.

What's one thing you hope readers take away when they read her story?

I hope that others would see inspiration in her personal mantra: "Shake it off, pat it down, and rise a little higher" and don't let your situation define you. Always remember where you came from and find a way to give back to your community.

You mention she's been awarding young mothers with a $500 scholarship, where can young mothers go to learn more about this scholarship?

She plans to award a $500 "Rise Up" Scholarship in May to assist a South Jersey low-income teenage mother who is pursuing a post-secondary degree. People looking for more information on that can email fatihah.abdur-rahman@waldenu.edu.

What kinds of other inspiring story lines or people do you hope to spotlight in your ongoing coverage?

My mission is to write stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. There are lots of those stories to tell. We just have to seek them. I recently wrote about Patience Carter, the Philadelphia native who survived the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Look for more stories about our military heroes, especially black soldiers, and their stories of triumph over adversity.

You can reach out to Melanie Burney by email at mburney@inquirer.com and you can follow her on Twitter at @mlburney.

These are indeed some nice lines. Thanks for sharing this bridge shot, @behtany.

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!

The risk of getting the coronavirus from mail or food delivery is small. As the virus has spread across the globe, newspapers, mail, and food delivery appear to be generally safe. But there are still steps you can take to minimize the risk even further. You can wipe down packaging and wash your hands.

-- Reading: The Goldbergs Cookbook. It has all the recipes that have been made famous on the ABC sitcom, from the real Beverly Goldberg.

-- Eating: Pizza from Italy. Yes, you can order pizza that was baked in Italy, flash-frozen and shipped to North Jersey.

-- Watching: Caddyshack. It's this week's movie pick for our "One Movie, One Philadelphia" project. And we'll have a livestream Monday with Neil Oxman, caddie to PGA Tour great Tom Watson, to discuss.

-- Listening to: Fiona Apple's Fetch the Bolt Cutters. The album's title comes from The Fall, a Netflix crime drama starring Gillian Anderson as a police detective. Our review gave the album three and a half stars.

I salute the writer of this sad story. As a former correctional social worker, I completely understand the miscarriage of justice. While I was exposed to some of the worst criminals, who were later convicted and sentenced to do hard time, there were some who were railroaded and received long sentence because they lack the financial resources to defend themselves, or fit the racial profile that persist in our society. I am encouraged that his son took on his fight for vindication and my prayers are with the deceased and my condolences to his family. -- wil_c879a on He died in prison from the coronavirus -- three days before a breakthrough in his 30-year fight to clear his name.

Rachel Sophia Stewart was on vacation in Puerto Rico in early December when her phone began blowing up with a number she didn't recognize. Then came a text that implored her to call back immediately. It was from Be The Match, the National Marrow Donor Program. She was a potential match as a bone-marrow donor for a 49-year-old man in need of a transplant. When she returned home, she joined the thousands of Americans every year who donate through Be The Match. The registry has more than 20 million members.