Mere hours before his inauguration, President-Elect Joe Biden spent Martin Luther King Jr. Day packing food boxes in Philadelphia.
Biden visited the city frequently last year, especially in the waning days of the presidential race. On Monday, he and his wife, Jill, volunteered at Philabundance as part of the MLK Day of Service, which was established in Philadelphia 25 years ago.
Mayor Jim Kenney, speaking to dozens who signed up to participate in a city-run virtual phone bank, said he is looking forward to Biden being sworn-in Wednesday.
“On 12 midnight January 1st, we were all happy to see 2020 go away, but I don’t think it’s actually going to go away until Wednesday at 12 noon when we start on a new path of sanity and compassion and decency,” Kenney said.
“We’ve been through a lot, and this country is still teetering on the edge,” he added.
Philly Counts 2020, which was formed to encourage people to fill out the U.S. census, organized the phone bank.
Volunteers called residents and asked them questions about how they are handling the coronavirus pandemic and about their experience with testing and isolating at home.
The information will be used to help the Philadelphia Department of Public Health assess community needs.
Meanwhile, Girard College, in conjunction with the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, hosted a free testing clinic at its North Philadelphia campus for MLK Day.
Archbishop Nelson Perez announced Monday that the Catholic Church in Philadelphia will be establishing a commission on racial healing. The archdiocese formed a similar commission during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, Perez noted.
“Despite many promising strides over the years, the events that unfolded across the country in 2020 are a stark reminder that the evil sin of racism still infects people’s hearts,” he said in a statement.
The 15-person commission is composed of mostly lay people of all races from parishes in the city and suburbs.