Thank you, Matthew George and Bria Howard of I ♥ Thy Hood, for interrupting the news cycle that produces fear, anger, despair and disbelief.

You know what I’m talking about. Is it really possible that a pandemic hit and we are unable to organize ourselves nationally to combat it? It seems likely that hundreds of thousands of people in the United States will die from this, and yet there is no coherent, unifying plan on a national level to address this emergency.

Small businesses, especially restaurants, will be obliterated. Without meaningful aid from the federal government, all that will remain are corporate eateries like KFC and TGI Friday’s.

Because we have failed as a nation, our schooling situation is impossible. It’s terrifying to think a teacher or a janitor or a school administrator anywhere in this country could die doing their jobs. At the same time, it is crushingly sad that in-person classes in Philadelphia have been postponed until mid-November at best. Let’s be honest: What are the odds that they open at all before the fall of 2021?

Back to Matthew and his fiancée Bria. They are the classic blueprint for a Grid story. They are everyday people like you and me who see a problem and decide that they are going to make a difference. Sometimes that means changing careers. In this case, it means devoting copious amounts of free time to a passion project. Because of their vision and commitment, the community benefits. (They do, too, because it’s incredibly rewarding to do something good for other people.) The work they do inspires us, and it is beautiful.

So we must “think globally, act locally” as the saying goes, because real change comes at a grassroots level.

But we also need effective government and policy on a national level. It would be amazing if every Philadelphia neighborhood had a chapter of I ♥ Thy Hood in it, but we also need to ask ourselves, why is there so much trash in the first place?

In addition to waste, we need national answers to address systemic racism, child care, healthcare, food production, hunger alleviation, housing and energy. Not to mention climate change…

Our current national philosophy of every man for himself and valuing freedom above all else has been a disaster for decades, and the pandemic has displayed it in stark relief.

Let’s be inspired by all the people who are doing such positive things in this month’s issue, but let’s do everything we can in the next three months to change the complexion of our national government.

Alex Mulcahy



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Latest from #135 August 2020