Dear Santa, Please put these folks on the nice list | Editorial

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus greet the crowds from a float on 16th Street at the 98th Annual 6ABC Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017.

In these disorientating times, when tossing paper towels in Puerto Rico is a president’s idea of hurricane relief, football players taking a knee to protest police killings of African Americans is controversial, and the opioid crisis cuts a swath through families, it would be easy to think  it may be time to retire the “nice” list. But Christmas is a time to renew our optimism that goodness prevails and kindness is more important than ever.  These are the people who’ve tackled our problems here in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the past year with smart solutions and simple acts of kindness. Add your own in the comments section, but keep them nice!

Camera icon Mike Newall
Librarian Chera Kowalski tends to an overdose victim outside Philadelphia’s McPherson Square Library.

The Kensington library staff saved countless drug addicts by administering the overdose antidote, naloxone. This summer, the city shut down the drug encampment on Conrail’s tracks along Gurney Street. The war on the opioid epidemic certainly isn’t over but we’ll take these small victories.

Camera icon DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Saundra Fulwood hands out fliers of the two people of interest police were seeking in the death West Philly community activist Winnie Harris.

Retired cop Saundra Fulwood couldn’t let the February murder of her friend Winnie Harris, who spent a lifetime beautifying Powelton Village, go unsolved. Fulwood leafletted the neighborhood and kept up the pressure until police arrested two men in October.

 

Camera icon DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer
People gather in prayer amid the toppled headstones and damage at Mount Carmel Cemetery in February.

People from around the world, led by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, donated $300,000 to restore headstones at Mount Carmel Cemetery on Frankford and Cheltenham Avenues which were toppled by creeps in February.

Camera icon Social media
Twitter manipulated image combining the photo of Gov. Christie on beach with a scene from the film “Planet of the Apes.”

Tough budget negotiations in Washington, D.C., Trenton, and Harrisburg had people biting their nails. But it was New Jersey Advance Media photo journalist Andrew Mills who clarified the issue for all of us. His July 2 photos of Gov. Christie on a beach that was closed to the public by an impasse in budget talks brought into high resolution the difference between serious public servants and ones who think we’re a joke. And, then the memes started. Christie on the beach in the last scene of Planet of the Apes, Christie with the cast of Jersey Shore, and, of course, Christie in Normandy. It reminded us that while the internet is a moist, dark environment for feral trolls, it also has a pretty good sense of humor.

Camera icon STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
Rebecca Rhynhart, the Democratic candidate for city controller with her daughter Julia watching results come in on election night.

Voters in New Jersey rejected racist appeals in electoral contests ranging from school board to the governorship in November.  In Philadelphia, they elected Rebecca Rhynhart the first woman city controller.

 

Camera icon DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer
Johnny Bobbitt and Kate McClure after the start of the Gofundme campaign.

Johnny Bobbitt Jr. spent his last $20 to buy gas for motorist Kate McClure, stranded at an I-95 off ramp on a cold October night. Her GoFundMe post about this act of kindness took off and the universe responded. By November, people had donated more than $300,000 to get Bobbit a new home and a new life.

As the cold weather gets colder, the city, SEPTA and Project HOME will finish a homeless day center on the concourse near Broad and Arch Streets complete with bathrooms, showers and social workers to steer our lost souls to the help they need.

Look around, there’s plenty more people who’ve risen above their own troubles to help others. Reward them with an act of kindness.