May 18, 2015 |
FOLLOWING A house fire, a hurricane, a catastrophic train wreck, volunteers and staff from the Red Cross materialize - seemingly out of thin air - to help victims back on their feet. "We address all those human needs that restore your dignity to you," says judge Renee Cardwell Hughes, CEO at the American Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania. Within hours after Tuesday night's Amtrak derailment, her people had manned two help centers for passengers and their worried families, one at 30th Street Station and another at Webster Elementary on Frankford Avenue.
March 22, 2015 |
The day after protesters clashed with police at a community meeting following the announcement that two officers would not be charged in the death of Brandon Tate-Brown, his mother released a statement rejecting "non-peaceful" actions in her son's name. In the statement, released Friday by her lawyer, Tanya Brown-Dickerson called for supporters "who want to protest her son's death at a public event to do so peacefully and to act respectfully toward all public officials and police officers in the process of peacefully protesting.
March 20, 2015
THE IDEA that human beings can be treated like property is not new. It's as old as the Pharaoh using the Israelites as tools to build his pyramids. It's as old as the slaves who were counted as three-fifths of a man by the Supreme Court of this nation. It's as old as the woman who, married to her rapist, could not claim injury because the law said you couldn't be charged with stealing something - a vagina - you already owned. And, to those of us who've been bleeding with righteous anger since that same law made unborn children maternal property in 1973, the insult to human dignity marches on unimpeded.
December 26, 2014
C ONTINUING a tradition, the annual dialogue between God and Your Favorite Columnist. God: I'm a little ticked. YFC: What's got your robe in a bunch? God: That new "Exodus" movie. They got a 10-year-old Brit playing me. I mean, Me. YFC: Others have complained about the casting. All white characters in the Middle East? God: Meh. How're you doing, sonny? YFC: You know by now I don't like being called sonny. Your handle, "I am who I am," that's kind of smug.
December 5, 2014 |
HOW Prane Paciunas must have suffered in the last months of her life. Not just from the pain of deep, maggot-infested bedsores. Not just from the agony of starvation. But from the absolute betrayal of Jean Marie Dombrowski, 48, the woman she'd trusted to care for her. The more I learn about the simple, gracious and dignified life of Paciunas, 89, the more her death breaks my heart. At least she did not succumb in squalor, ignored by the human animals who walked around her as she rotted on a filthy mattress on her living-room floor.
December 3, 2014 |
Barbara Mancini, the Philadelphia nurse prosecuted for handing her 93-year-old dying father his prescription morphine, has quit her job and is devoting herself to advocating for state "Death With Dignity" laws. Mancini, 58, has been traveling the country, telling audiences that she was wrongly prosecuted, that her father's end-of-life wishes were clearly stated and cruelly ignored, and that the hospice involved failed him. She is haunted by what happened to her father and to her. "I'm trying in my mind to make this right for my dad. I'm doing it for him," Mancini said after speaking to 70 senior citizens at the Free Library of Philadelphia branch on Rittenhouse Square.
November 23, 2014 |
Who are the most important chefs in Philly? Some, like Keith Lucas and other cooks in the region's nonprofit kitchens, may not be names you've heard. But for thousands of Philadelphians suffering from AIDS, cancer, cardiac disease, or diabetes, Lucas - and the 15,000 free meals he oversees each week from the Center City kitchen at MANNA - is an essential lifeline to the nourishment and dignity of a proper supper. With 2,000 extra meals for Thanksgiving, Lucas, 53, a Chestnut Hill resident, paused to chat about a career cooking behind the scenes, his star turn on reality TV, and why hospital food is awful.
October 31, 2014 |
A California newlywed, Brittany Maynard, 29, diagnosed with a swift and fatal brain cancer, has moved with her husband to Oregon so she can have control at the end of her life under Oregon's pioneering death-with-dignity law. She has legally obtained a lethal prescription and intends to use it, possibly as early as Saturday (or may hold off for a later date, according to a video she posted on YouTube Thursday morning). And she has partnered with Compassion & Choices, an advocacy group pushing for more laws like Oregon's, to use her death to raise awareness and support for physician-assisted suicide, now available in only five states.
October 15, 2014 |
There is a difference between knowing it all and being a know-it-all. Bill Campbell, who died at 91 on Oct. 6 and was buried Monday, was in the former category. Campbell knew it all because his broadcasting career touched parts of nine decades. If something important happened on the Philadelphia sports scene since World War II, Campbell was either covering the event or reporting on it for radio or TV. But what made him so special, so beloved, was that he never had a know-it-all, look-at-me persona.
July 10, 2014
ISSUE | FIRE TRAGEDY Misplaced anger Protesting at a firehouse because of children who perished and blaming the firefighters is absolutely insane ("Slow burn," July 9). While it is sad and my heart sinks for the families of the four Southwest Philadelphia children, the fact that 200-plus people feel as though it's the Fire Department's fault is ridiculous. Firefighters put their lives on the line every single day without ever giving it a second thought. In this case, firefighters did exactly what they were supposed to do, and did their best to protect and serve the people of this city.