Thursday, June 17, 2010

Free Speech, Protesters, and Historic Sites

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that a Lansdowne man had a First Amendment right to protest abortion near the entrance to the Liberty Bell building.

The decision overturned lower court rulings that sentenced him to a year of probation for a 2007 incident where he defied a National Park Service order to move to a designated area.

I'll be interested to see what impact this decision will have (if any) on the type and tone of demonstrations held at Independence National Historic Park. And will we see more public demonstrations at other popular sites around the city?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New Nonprofit to Support City's Ethnic Parades and Festivals

U.S. Representative Bob Brady announced today that he has formed a new nonprofit, the Greater Philadelphia Traditions Fund, to help support ethnic parades and festivals that now have to pay the costs of police and other city services.

(You can read my earlier posts about why the city pulled the plug on subsidizing costs for the parades here and here.)

Philanthropist Gerry Lenfest has agreed to donate $500,000 to the new fund over the next five years, and additional donations are apparently in the works.

Reporter Steve Highsmith writes that the fund aims to give at least $7500 each year to 10 groups: the Mummers, the Odunde Festival, the Columbus Day Parade, the Von Steuben Day Parade, the Puerto Rican Day Parade, the Greek Independence Day Parade, the Gay Pride Parade, the Pulaski Day Parade, the St. Patrick's Day Parade and the Chinatown Mid-Autumn Festival.