Bike Rides & Politics: A Haverford House Update from Jason Sanchez '18
As we approach three full months in the house, I am happy to report that Haverford House is going strong! Many of us are enjoying the cooler weather and taking advantage of it to go outdoors (and not melt!).
Late last week, we were all treated to a lovely bike tour of West Philadelphia by Parker Snowe, the former executive director of the CPGC. He very kindly supplied us with bikes and helmets and led us on an amazing tour of the neighborhood, pointing out a number of local hidden gems. My favorite part of the bike ride was stopping at the 4 Worlds Bakery and picking up some amazing chocolate croissants. Besides the yummy dessert, I think many of us grew more confident in our biking abilities and plan to bike around the city more often!
A number of us also attended the honey festival at Bartram’s Garden, where we got to enjoy a couple of delicious honey samples and learn more about the importance of bees for the wellbeing of our ecosystem. Despite the rain, we all really enjoyed meeting with local vendors and community members.
Though not outdoors, I also went to a fascinating discussion on Mexican politics and the drug trade led by former Mexican President Felipe Calderón at Penn. I was luckily invited to go to the discussion by a former Penn professor who I am still in touch with. While I am still unclear about whether I agree with President Calderón’s approach to reducing drug related violence, I appreciated hearing his perspective and learning more about democracy in Latin America.
In terms of house events, we are super excited for our next plant walk (be on the lookout for more details!) as we are hoping to incorporate a seitan-making workshop on top of our neighborhood stroll. We have also been in contact with folks from Repair the World and our own Office of Quaker Affairs to see how we can collaborate and host events at the house. We have also scheduled a couple of community dinners for the upcoming month (be on the lookout for those dates on our Facebook too!)
I am also super excited about some recent developments on my project. In teaming up with the amazing folks at the Shut Down Berks Coalition, I am hoping to coordinate a lobby visit to Governor Wolf’s office in Harrisburg at the end of October to ask him to close this terrible family detention center. Before the visit, I am planning on coordinating a training session where students can learn more about the center’s history and how to effectively lobby for social justice causes. I can’t wait to continue working on bridging the gap between Haverford and the migrants rights movement here in Philly.
Working at Community Legal Services has also been an incredibly fulfilling and important learning experience. There is no better feeling then being able to stop an eviction or giving clients the information they need to feel empowered to handle their housing issues. Many of my clients have been so badly traumatized and oppressed by unjust social systems that it can be hard to stay positive somedays. But I’m very lucky to be supported by all the amazing staff at CLS and I know that all our efforts are going to help those who need it most.
Well, that’s all I have for this update! Hope y’all are having a great semester!