Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Penn Reflections

The bronze statue of William Penn atop City Hall tower dominates Philadelphia's skyline. Here my camera caught him reflected in the downtown window of a pharmacy.

The founder of Philadelphia, in 1683 Penn made a peace treaty with the Lenape Turtle Clan Chief Tamanend, saying in the Algonquin language "We meet on the broad pathway of good faith and good-will; no advantage shall be taken on either side, but all shall be openness and love. We are the same as if one man’s body was to be divided into two parts; we are of one flesh and one blood." Tamanend replied, "We will live in love with William Penn and his children as long as the creeks and rivers run, and while the sun, moon, and stars endure."

How different than other white settlers relations with Native Americans in that era of history! The Quaker legacy of justice and non-violence which remains part of Philadelphia's fabric today is one more part of the complexity of my new home, a city also torn by poverty and violence.

I have only just gotten here. My reflections have just begun. I'm sure my understanding will grow with time and as I meet more people. Meanwhile, I will keep taking pictures.

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