‘Caravans of Mourning’ in Pa., elsewhere to honor COVID-19 dead | Monday Morning Coffee

November 23, 2020 7:16 am

The Rev. Dr. William Barber, of the Poor People’s Campaign (Getty Images)

Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

It’s Thanksgiving Week in America. And in just a few days, many of us will gather without our loved ones for a holiday observance that’s been redefined by the tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Sunday night, the pandemic had claimed 256,000 American lives, leaving that many empty spaces at Thanksgiving tables in every corner of the country.

Today, protesters in 24 states (including Pennsylvania), as well as in Washington D.C., are slated to participate in a nationwide day of mourning to honor those who have died.

They’re also expected to demand a smooth transition of power, and call for policies that deliver relief to those who have endured economic and other hardships as a result of the worst public health crisis in a century.

The Caravans of Mourning,” organized by the Poor People’s Campaign, get under way at 2:30 p.m. today, according to a statement made available to the Capital-Star.

In addition to reports from each of the participating state capitals, the event is also expected to include a eulogy service on the steps of National City Christian Church in Washington D.C., organizers said in their statement. Christian, Jewish and Hindu clergy will lead the service, which will include 2,500 candles symbolizing each of the dead.

(Screen Capture)

“This Thanksgiving, a day already marked by many Indigenous people as a day of mourning, families across the country will remember and mourn the loss of loved ones who have died from COVID-19 and poverty,” organizers said in their statement. “Millions of poor and low-income households also face mounting bills, evictions and hunger after months of unemployment, cuts in wages and the government’s failure to pass a comprehensive COVID-relief package.”

Staff for senior congressional leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.,; House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., met late last week to discuss more COVID-19 relief and a spending bill to avert a federal government shutdown during the lame duck session, Fortune reported.

Lawmakers need an agreement on a spending bill by Dec. 11 to avert a shutdown. But with COVID-19 cases and deaths skyrocketing nationwide, including in Pennsylvania, Congress is facing increased pressure to deliver a new stimulus package. On Friday, President-elect Joe Biden called on Congress to pass a stimulus package during their lame duck session, the Associated Press reported.

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, met with Schumer and Pelosi, where the Democrats agreed “that Congress needed to pass a bipartisan emergency aid package in the lame duck session,” the AP reported, citing a read out the meeting made available to the press.

The read out added that the “package should include resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, relief for working families and small businesses, support for state and local governments trying to keep frontline workers on the payroll, expanded unemployment insurance, and affordable health care for millions of families,” the AP reported.

In their statement, the Poor People’s Campaign called on lawmakers to “reject a politics of austerity and meet their commitment to visionary policies that address human needs and cultivate human capacities.

They also must “overcome the divisions caused by hunger, poverty and racism in the richest country in the world. America must direct its resources and creativity towards the poor and most marginalized rather than lobbyists, insurance companies, financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and wealthy corporations.” the statement reads.

On Sunday, President Donald Trump, whose court fight to hang onto power was dealt a major setback in a Pennsylvania courtroom, tweeted out a series of attacks against political enemies, including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

Trump, who continued to complain about his legal defeat in Pennsylvania, was absolutely silent on Sunday about the pandemic or any prospect of a new relief package in a barrage of Tweets Sunday.

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building. (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller.)

Our Stuff.
In this week’s edition of The Numbers RacketCassie Miller delves into the data, charting the uphill fight facing contact tracers nationwide as they work to contain the spread of the pandemic.

With Congress unable to reach agreement on a new relief package, states are facing the prospect of expiring federal aid at the time they need it most, Capital-Star Washington Reporter Laura Olson writes.

Pa. conservatives’ hopes for a subpoena-fueled election investigation have been quashed by political reality, Stephen Caruso reports.

President Donald Trump has ‘exhausted all plausible legal options’ with his Pa. lawsuit loss, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.said over the weekendToomey, who is not seeking reelection in 2022 and is retiring from politics, also extended his congratulations to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for their Election Day win.

Farmers in  Pa., and elsewhere nationwide, are likely to see more multinational trade deals crafted in the incoming Biden administrationNational Correspondent Dan Vock reports.

On our Commentary Page this morning, opinion regular Dick Polman excoriates GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, who’s holding up the Biden transition by refusing to ascertain that he is president-elect.

(Photo via pxHere)

Public schools in Montgomery County start a pandemic-prompted, two-week shutdown today, the Inquirer reports.
Pennsylvania’s new, state-run healthcare exchange is in danger if the Trump administration is successful in its challenge to the Affordable Care Act, the Tribune-Review reports.
Right on schedule, the Trump campaign filed its notice of appeal in the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sunday, PennLive reports.
Roadside America, the tourist stalwart along Interstate 78 in Berks County, will shut down permanently after 85 years, the Morning Call reports.
Luzerne County could soon complete the sale of its former juvenile jail, the Citizens-Voice reports.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Matt Shiffler (@mattshifflerphoto)

Parents in Montgomery County say they’re worried that a two-week shift to online learning will harm their kids’ mental health, WHYY-FM reports.
Four Pennsylvania counties, that are home to 800,000 voters, will miss the state’s election certification deadline. But that’s not expected to affect the certification of results, WITF-FM reports.
An activist’s fight to end cat-declawing has reached Erie, GoErie reports.
PoliticsPA has last week’s winners and losers in Pennsylvania politics.
Public transportation scored wins at the ballot box on Election reports.
More Capitol Hill Republicans are pushing President Donald Trump to concedeTalking Points Memo reports.
President-elect Joe Biden will announce Antony Blinken, his longtime foreign policy adviser, as his nominee for secretary of state, Politico reports.

What Goes On.
Gov. Tom Wolf 
and other senior administration officials hold a 1 p.m. news conference to discuss the resources available for people who are struggling with anxiety, loneliness, and substance abuse this holiday season.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Capital-Star opinion contributor Aryanna Hunter, who celebrates today. Congrats and enjoy the day.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s an absolute classic from R.E.M. that popped up last night. From “Fables of the Reconstruction,” here’s the amazing “Life and How to Live It.”

Monday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link.
The Guardian 
wraps up the past weekend’s round of Premier League action with its traditional 10 takeaways. Of particular note, Brighton’s Danny Welbeck scoring his 45th career goal. Unfortunately, it was at the expense of Aston Villawhom the Seagulls bested 2-1 on Saturday. But congratulations nonetheless, sir.

And now you’re up to date.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.