Local Live: Protest Primer with Shannon Sims

Speak up. Get involved. Learn more.

Photo by Shannon Sims

Over a month has passed since George Floyd’s death shocked and infuriated the world. Tensions boiled over that first weekend, tipping protests into riots that threatened to undermine the Movement.

But demonstrations quickly became channeled into positive progress — bye, bye, Rizzo statue! — and clear demands for sweeping changes in our public housing and criminal justice systems. Black Lives Matter has thrown a spotlight on America’s segregationist society that only the most die-hard white supremacists fail to see.

But there’s one problem with peaceful protest: it doesn’t make great news. For over fifteen consecutive days after the riots, hundreds of demonstrators marched the streets of Philadelphia, demanding government accountability and recognition that Black Lives Matter. And again over the 4th of July holiday. Vigils and marches continueis anyone even listening anymore? 

Welcome to the world of political activism! While flashpoint events like George Floyd’s murder bring immediate attention to critical issues, change won’t follow without a sustained, organized effort. The term “social justice warrior” is a grossly misleading term — a huge part of advocacy involves drudgery: emails, letters, phone calls, education, meetings….

It’s a fire that needs constant tending — years of it! — often for even the tiniest gain. It’s very easy to feel invisible and ineffectual; frankly, it’s not for everyone. But the good news is, organizational activism is just one way citizens can help bring positive change.

We recently spoke with Shannon Sims, a community-minded Germantown neighbor who’s put together a whole Protest Primer of action steps that anyone can take to help promote racial understanding and advance social change. Make sure you scroll down for Shannon’s full interview, with lots of great pics (PS she’s a gifted photographer, hit her up for head shots, portraits and more).

Black History Documentaries

Click here for Fun Times Magazine’s Black Business directory for Philly!

Local Black-Owned Businesses to Support

Local Black-Owned Nonprofits to Support

  • No More Secrets Helping those dealing with period poverty and menstrual education organization / (215) 485-7881
  • Your A.O.K. Foundation Inc Serves families in the surrounding Philadelphia area with groceries, clothing, school supplies and more. youraokfoundation.org/ 267-258-9231
  • Coded By Kids Provides kids from underrepresented groups learn computer science, digital design and more. codedbykids.com/ (215) 600-3405
  • Kids Meals On Wheels Provides kids with boxed lunches who are usually dependent on the meal programs at their schools. kidzmealsonwheels215.org.

Other Nonprofits to Support

  • Food Not Bombs  Provides food to those in need and have been supporting those protesting in Philly by providing water, snacks and sandwiches, locations in North and West Philly. Search for a location or call 800-884-1136
  • Innocence Project  Helps free people who were wrongfully convicted. innocenceproject.org/212-364-5340
  • End the Backlog  Fights to get rape kits tested that have been backlogged and figure out a way to eliminate the backlog completely. endthebacklog.org

Books / Podcast Episodes   

 Books for Kids/Young Adults    

Photo by Shannon Sims
Photo by Shannon Sims

Are You Being Passively Racist Towards POC (people of color)?

  • By only focusing on the looting and damages that occur during some of the past protests, you are causing damage to the movement. Take time to educate yourself to understand why these protests have been going on for generations and why damages are common during revolutions. Buildings can be rebuilt and items can be replaced, but a person’s life can’t.
  • Using MLK quotes that make it appear as if his battle for equality was 100% peaceful. It wasn’t! The Civil Rights Movement was met with violence and backlash. Also don’t forget he was assassinated for taking a stand.
  • If you find yourself saying or agreeing with the phrase “violence doesn’t solve anything” then you have forgotten the history and foundation of this country.
  • When was the last time a president sent troops to the Middle East to peaceful protest?
  • How many battles and wars have we involved ourselves in over the years? FUN FACT: Since its creation (1776) America has been at war for 227 out of 244 Years. That is, the U.S. has only been at peace for 17 years total since its birth. This raises another question — Why are we so warlike?
  • If violence doesn’t solve anything, then why are police all over the country choosing to use violence against peaceful unarmed protesters?
    Full graphic here

    If you ever make a reference to “All Lives Matter” and/or “Blue Live Matters” when someone says “Black Lives Matter” you aren’t listening. All lives do matter however, you wouldn’t go to a march to raise leukemia and start chanting “breast cancer matters!” It undermines the movement’s end goal to bring justice to the black people who have lost their lives due to police violence and racism.

  • If you say “cops kill white people too” then all of this should anger you and make you want to stand against police brutality too!
  • If you find yourself thinking or saying “I can’t be silent anymore” ask yourself why you were silent in the first place. Unfortunately racism and police brutality are not new things. It is great you want to fight and be a voice now, but take time to reflect on why you weren’t speaking out against racism and police brutality before.

Speak Up

Contact your county reps, senators, governor and towns/city councilmembers to tell them that you oppose the brutality and violence that police forces all over the country have inflicted on protesters. Police should not be armed and militarized against the citizens they are supposed to protect.

If you aren’t sure who your politicians are just google simple phrases like “Who is my state representative?” or “Who is my city councilmember in Philadelphia?” etc. Make sure your emails/phone calls are clear and to the point about how you feel about the current state of our communities and country.

<transcript with more tips, links and great pics by Shannon>

Steve 00:02
Oh yeah, that’s great that Spicy Belly is opening up a little bit again. That’s neat. (ed note: since this interview, Spicy Belly has announced they’re closing August 2nd). 

Shannon Sims 00:07
Yeah, we’re trying to and the boudoir studios are slowly starting to book stuff again. I have things in July but not really too much going on right now.

Carolyn 00:26
I assume that that’s not a real COVID risk?

Shannon Sims 00:32
No it’s very intimate and it’s only one on one. Sometimes somebody will bring a girlfriend for a little hype support or something. We (normally) offer hair and makeup but we’re not doing hair right now. With makeup I have the gloves and all the single-use stuff and keeping safe with everything.

Carolyn 00:56
I bet people want to get pictures taken outside sometimes, right? Although for those pictures that’d be weird, but it would be cool to have an outside area, you know?

Shannon Sims 01:05
Yeah, that’s what um, our one studio, San Diego, offers bikini beach photo shoots. Hopefully they can. I don’t know what their beaches are looking like right now. It’s like a little crazy.

Steve 01:25
Better than Philly beaches anyway. Down by the Delaware. So we had a couple things you mentioned that you thought you might want to speak about. The YourAOK Foundation, Philly Forests. And then also what’s the boutique again?

Shannon Sims 01:55
Perfectly Flawless.

Steve 01:59
Is that still good? For you do you want to go over those three?

Shannon Sims 02:01
Yeah, I know Crystal with Perfectly Flawless is changing up a couple things just because her window got smashed but she has a gorgeous mural out front of it now that Joe, I’m pretty sure it’s Joe, from the coffee shop and Nomad like helped do it all up. It looks so cool. I would like to get photos of it, but I drove by and it was so cute.

Steve 02:31
Yeah, you said she didn’t really have anything stolen. Just the storefront was smashed?

Shannon Sims 02:34
They she took everything out of the store. In hindsight, thank god so she wasn’t missing any products but the window was smashed up.

Carolyn 02:46
That’s the landlord’s problem, right?

Shannon Sims 02:48

Carolyn 02:53
So you marched on Friday, right?

Photo by Shannon Sims
Photo by Shannon Sims

Shannon Sims 02:59
Yeah I’ve been out a couple days. I haven’t been out this week just because like, I know they said that you should wait like seven days after your protests to get tested. Which I’m doing just to be safe because I’m gonna start babysitting my nephew again. So, God forbid.

Carolyn 03:18
Oh, yeah. Were you able to get tested?

Shannon Sims 03:23
I think I have an appointment on Tuesday…I have to double check but I looked up the free testing that’s around here.

Carolyn 03:32
I’d like to know about that when you get it done, because I hear there’s different tests and one of them jams a whole thing up your nose.

Shannon Sims 03:39
Yeah, that’s what happened to my friend in England. He actually works for the Air Force and he’s getting deployed somewhere else and he said they shove this thing up my nose — he recorded it!

Carolyn 03:52
Oh no! I hope that’s not what you get!

Shannon Sims 03:58
He didn’t feel too much afterwards. Just felt weird he said he thought they were trying to scramble my brain!

Carolyn 04:04
It goes like way up there! I wish it was a blood test or a mouth thing or something.

Shannon Sims 04:12
Yeah, the mouth swab. I feel like it’s a lot better

Carolyn 04:17
Much rather have a swab in my mouth than up my nose but they say the mouth swab isn’t as accurate right?

Shannon Sims 04:22

Carolyn 04:23
Gotta go for the nose! Aaahh!

Shannon Sims 04:26
But yeah, I was out at a couple protests. All the days are like bleeding together. So I couldn’t tell you what day exactly. I was there almost every single day last week so I took a couple of mental health days, figure life and shit out days.

Carolyn 04:47
What kind of things did you see?

Photo by Shannon Sims

Shannon Sims 04:50
There was a good mix of stuff. There was the peaceful protests pretty like everything’s been going the last couple weeks. Saturday was awesome. There were just so many people and once we marched from the Art Museum, people started breaking up into their own groups and this one group just had all this music blasting and was doing the Cupid Shuffle and blasting Meek Mill. It felt more like a block party than a protest at that point, but I thought this is great. We all need this.

Carolyn 05:24
Sounds like Philly to me.

Shannon Sims 05:27
Yeah, It was very Philly. And the signs people had were super creative. And I don’t know, I was really about that. Saturday was awesome.

Carolyn 05:37
Did you have a sign?

Shannon Sims 05:39
I didn’t because I was shooting but my one friend actually took an old t shirt and then jean pieces that they had and made like a trans lives matter on one side. And the other side was a fist.

Carolyn 05:54
I love that. I love the signs too when I go to the rallies. Like damn, I wish I thought of that. So clever.

Steve 06:03
I saw one, this wasn’t the George Floyd protest, but it said “You know it’s bad if there’s a straight white male out here protesting”

Shannon Sims 06:16
I don’t know how familiar you guys are with Sponge Bob, but there was one it’s like this one character in a couple episodes is this old man who kept getting the blame for everything and this fish was just like how many times we gotta tell you old man and he was all ready to fight. Somebody made that sign about Trump.

Photo by Shannon Sims
Photo by Shannon Sims
Photo by Shannon Sims

I was gonna say I’ve been seeing the difference between Saturday and the Sunday prior – that was like night and day. I went to West Philly and that was dicey. I saw a kid who was probably no more than 12 or 13 just get a face full of mace. And he lived around the corner or something. And he had just wanted to walk around and see what was going on. I said Oh my god.

It was very communal — I appreciate how many people jumped in to help. I was thinking at first let me take this photo but then i thought No, no, I need to help — this is a baby! And there was like, a couple medics on him. I asked him if he needed a ride home because I was gonna leave soon. But he said he lived a couple blocks away. So this group of guys told him we’re making sure you get home, we’re making sure you’re safe.

And people were coming out on their stoops, and giving Brita pitchers of water to help with all the tear gas.

Carolyn 07:53
Did you get any gas?

Shannon Sims 07:55
Yeah, that was the first time I experienced it. It was rough.

Carolyn 08:02
You don’t wear contacts or anything, do you?

Shannon Sims 08:04
I do, which thankfully it didn’t like mess that up at all. I didn’t need to read until afterwards. But I actually saw a couple people, and saw a post about it too, about how you can take a traffic cone and put it on top of the gas canister and start pouring water on it to diffuse it. So I thought let me try to do this and the wind blew it all up into my face. I was like, I’m trying to help.

But then again, everybody was just so communal and as soon as I started walking back, coughing and wheezing, people were asking me “Are you good? Here’s some water, here’s baking soda, we’re helping you….” I saw a girl that was shot in the head with a rubber bullet and she had blood dripping. So many people were helping her. The neighbors were out with water and we were all saying this is a problem. I don’t know, it was it was a sight to see though.

Photo by Shannon Sims
Photo by Shannon Sims

Carolyn 09:28
Right? I heard that when it came to violence, it was not people on people, unless you were the cops. Even at the height of the protests, people weren’t attacking other people.

Shannon Sims 09:50
It was very much civilians versus police. I got a shot and it was just so weird, with the cars all lined up and then the tank or armored vehicle in the middle with this cop who’s almost directly pointing his gun at me. And it just seemed so surreal. I don’t really know how to put it into context

Carolyn 10:21
Were you scared?

Shannon Sims 10:22
I was a little anxious, but I knew my boyfriend Frank was with me. And we were checking in on each other. And I told him as soon as you get out of my sight, I’m calling you and vice versa. We made sure we were good with each other.

Carolyn 10:40
You had a protest buddy.

Shannon Sims 10:42
Yeah, which is very recommended. And it’s good. Even my friends that went to protests I didn’t go to, I’d text them. If I saw something on Twitter I’d ask are you okay? What’s the situation? How are you feeling? and everybody was being very vocal and communal.

There were groups helping too, like West Philly Food Not Bombs were making sandwiches and were giving out water and snacks. There were lots of different groups doing stuff like that. And I thought “This is Philly!” This is our core. No matter what, we stand up with what’s going on and we’re going to help however we can. I really appreciate that.

Carolyn 11:23
Do you sense that — I know we weren’t alive during the Civil Rights era, but do you sense that white people are getting more behind this now finally?

Shannon Sims 11:39
l am very hopeful. There are a lot of kids that I’m still friends with from high school and from Jersey in general on Facebook who’ve surprised me. I’d say to myself I didn’t expect you to be sharing this but I am glad that we are growing. All for continuous growth!

Then of course, there are a couple that I see post other stuff and I say Yeah, you’re always gonna be like that. But I’m just gonna keep posting my stuff so they can see it and hopefully, read it. I think there is a big group of people just understanding it more and knowing that you can’t be quiet about this.

I gave myself a break from Instagram at least from sharing my art and my photos from the protests because I want black photographers and artists of color in general to be able to share their perspective and their thoughts and their images from it all. But I don’t want this to be me being quiet either. So I’m going to let it sit for a couple days and then go for it.

I don’t know, I feel like white people need to speak out more but they also need to listen more. It’s a big aspect of it because I feel like everybody just shouts over each other. To a point, shouting is good, but you need to make sure you’re shouting the proper things and shouting things that need to be heard and said, not just screaming into an empty void.

Carolyn 13:14
That’s true. And that is a weird position. I feel you, you summed it up exactly. It’s like what do I do? Because you know, white people you made racism and now you gotta fix it. It’s up to you. You can’t be quiet, you know, silence is being complicit. So I’m like, all right, but then you hear, you gotta listen. So do I talk or not talk?

But I know that there are two different kinds of talking as you’re saying, you know, there’s this kind that just goes into the void that you don’t need to waste your time on. But there’s the important type where we need to be calling each other out and we need to be asking each other to…read I guess.

Shannon Sims 13:58
That’s what I mean. I even put together an email I sent it to my mom and I said you can forward this to whoever. But here’s some petitions that you need to sign. Here’s how to contact your senator or find out your reps and all that because she was venting to me the one day and she was saying, “I’m so mad. If I was 20 years younger, I would be out on the streets marching with you!”

And she was just so upset by everything. She said I feel helpless. And I said well, Did you tell your Mayor you’re upset about this? Did you tell your state rep? Did you tell this person? And she said Oh, I can do that? I said Yes, you voted them in! They work for you!

Carolyn 14:36
That sounds like a really helpful email. If you pass that on to us, we can put that out there. That might be something that we can add as action steps at the end of your interview.

Shannon Sims 14:51
I’m totally here for that. I put together a list — I mean there’s always going to be more businesses and documentaries and books and whatever to share and post — but I compiled a little list just to say everyone can do this!

Carolyn 15:07
Yes! It’s not that hard! Get out of your Facebook bubble and into a different one!

Shannon Sims 15:13
Exactly! I don’t want to defriend people on Facebook unless it’s a whole issue, like if they get in an argument and it’s just a total headache and a half and there’s no end to it. They’re just going to pick a fight to pick a fight. That’s when I say I’m gonna mute you for now because I’m hoping you will learn, right?

Carolyn 15:46
It’s weird because we’ve booted people off — we have an East Falls Rants page, where people they just say whatever they want. Usually it’s stuff like Can you help me find my cat? Or, you know, a business is opening.

But during the protests people got into it and I was really glad — usually people get into it on the page and it just goes to the sewer and then I wind up saying okay, everybody off. But in this instance, we had a lot of people yelling back at the freakin racists to the point where they went off and made their own page.

Shannon Sims 16:20
Yeah I saw one of the posts about NASCAR and the confederate flag. Some people were saying I’m never watching it again and other people said ok, fine. Well don’t forget your hood on the way out

Carolyn 16:42
Isn’t it great? And then they get mad. They say “You guys are just intolerant!”

Shannon Sims 16:47
No, we’re not racists.

Carolyn 16:50
We’re done being intolerant and now you’re mad. Oh my gosh. It’s weird times man. It’s just weird times.

We talked a long time before COVID and I was saying you can use our office and we were like gonna give you the keys and you can set up whatever and now Connie went and boarded up our windows so yeah, it’s the weirdest thing like we’re all different now.

Steve 17:23
Yeah, it’s a virtual world for the time being.

Carolyn 17:26
But we can help. We’ll do whatever we can do.

Steve 17:29
Yeah. So let’s uh, let’s start off with Perfectly Flawless. You said she’s got a fundraising effort?

Shannon Sims 17:42
Yeah, she’s been posting her PayPal for it. I think it’s the YES Foundation. She was collecting clothes on Thursdays and she was doing it last year too. She would have racks of clothes out in the street and just whoever needed them can take them — it was a very donation-driven thing to help people in the community. I think that’s great because like, everybody has a bag of clothes in the back of the closet or like that shirt hanging up and like, “Oh, I’m gonna wear that!” and five months from now we still haven’t.

Carolyn 18:22
We literally have bags of clothes that we keep saying are gonna go somewhere. And then we just keep moving them around.

Shannon Sims 18:28
Yeah, a lot of places right now are iffy about taking clothes with COVID, but she’s just says we’ll make sure they’re good. We will distribute them to whoever. A week or so ago, she even went out to Broad street and just had a table and was handing stuff out to people. I said You are awesome!

Steve 18:51
Yeah, we want to follow up with her because we talked to Chrissy at Aaliyah’s Boutique and she mentioned Perfectly Flawless. She said Oh, she’s such a great person and we work with her. She’s got great clothing and it is so sharp and Chrissy does the accessorizing. So she was talking to us before all this stuff came down and she said she’s a good person you need to touch base with.

Shannon Sims 19:13
I haven’t talked to her too much in person. She was at one of the Kids Meals on Wheels days before everything got super strict and we could have more than five people making PB&Js all day. But we were really talking and she’s just such a beautiful, I don’t know, she just had such a happy and beautiful soul. I was like, yes I want to hype you up everywhere!

Steve 19:46
That is cool. The other thing you mentioned was the AOK Foundation.

Shannon Sims 19:53
Yeah, it’s Your A.O.K Foundation. I’ve been working with them for at least three years now. Yani, she’s another beautiful soul. I love her so much. And she’s like done charitable stuff around Kensington and doing coat drives and presents for the holidays and Christmas and back to school stuff.

And she tries to have dinners during the week to keep the kids out of the street and make sure they’re getting fed and everybody’s good and safe. Right now, on Mondays and Wednesdays she’s at Caring for Friends. I don’t know what part of the city it technically is, it’s almost the Bensalem area, so about 30 minutes away.

We’re making frozen dinners and prepping them and wrapping them up for people and then afterwards I help load up our cars and we make other bags of groceries to give out to people. Every day she has some type of project to help either disabled people or the elderly. She’s also very much kids and family driven and she’s incredible.

I was talking to her one day about it and asked her what made you want to do this and she said I didn’t have a Miss Yani growing up so I wanna be somebody’s Miss Yani and be able to help other people like that. She’s awesome too because when I help her she asks me “You need food?’ What do you need? Take whatever food you need…”

She always makes sure everyone’s taken care of. She’s doing a Father’s Day platter right now and will be giving it out to single dads. I think the deadline for it is June 12 to sign up to have your food delivered. She’s taking donations on Facebook and cash app to help buy the food and make little baskets. Trying to lift people’s spirits up — and her food is so good so I’m excited to get a platter.

Steve 22:12
So we’ll post all those links in the thread or on the website.

Carolyn 22:18
And you’re doing all this volunteering yourself.

Shannon Sims 22:21
I’m only doing once a week. It keeps me busy and I always love to help people too. It also gets me out of the house and gives me a reason to do something and if it helps other people then why not do it?

Steve 22:37
Yeah, is your Red Bubble site still going pretty well?

Shannon Sims 22:41
I haven’t made too many sales off it recently but I did have a few hits which was nice. This week I’m going to write out my plan and start figuring out how to post about my stuff again because I actually am getting sales — it comes in waves.

I’ve sold a decent amount of prints and I started donating part of it to Your AOK and then to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society to help my family’s campaign doing all that. It’s exciting.

Carolyn 23:16
So which one of your prints or what kind of your prints are selling the best?

Shannon Sims 23:21
It’s a mix right now because I did like stuff from Belize and the tropical fun stuff, which is something we all need right now. Who doesn’t want to be quarantined on an island in Belize right now?

Carolyn 23:35
That was one of our backgrounds. I picked one of your island scenes.

Shannon Sims 23:40
But um, there was another one from when I went to the Czech Republic and there’s this church that just covered in skulls.

Carolyn 23:48
The Ossuary! Yeah, we were there!

Shannon Sims 23:51
I think it’s freaking cool and creepy. I have a couple photos from that and people are asking about them. I’m glad that there are weird people that like skulls like I do.

Carolyn 24:14
Memento Mori.” Yeah, yeah, we’re all gonna die someday.

Shannon Sims 24:20
I like the story behind the Ossuary. It’s super interesting to me about how they dug up all these bodies when they were like redoing the church, and they’re like, these would make good art.

Carolyn 24:35
And they’re not that uncommon. There are other ossuaries.

Shannon Sims 24:39
Oh, yeah. There’s like a couple — there’s one in Italy too I think.

Carolyn 24:43
Yeah. Humans decorated with bones back in the day!

Shannon Sims 24:50
The Mutter Museum, you can donate your skull to it.

Carolyn 24:57
It puts pressure on me. I feel like I had to have done something fantastic so that my skull would stand out.

Photo by Shannon Sims
Photo by Shannon Sims

Steve 25:15
Are you doing any of the photos from the protests? Are you using any of those for any kind of upcoming installations?

Shannon Sims 25:21
I’ve been thinking about selling prints of them. I’m trying to figure that out because if I do prints I want the proceeds to go specifically to a black organization or nonprofit at some point. I don’t want to be a white person trying to profit off of that. I feel like that’s a little weird. I’m still trying to figure that out.

There’s a couple shots that I absolutely love. I’m being mindful of taking photos of people’s backs or blurring out faces just to keep everyone safe. There’s one photo my mom wants me to print of this guy with a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It didn’t look like stone but if it was, I give him all the props in the world because those are heavy as can be. He was carrying it around and kneeling with it and raising it up above his head.

It was so cool. It just shows you we can all be good people and you can be a good Christian and still support this.

Carolyn 26:26
Was that downtown?

Shannon Sims 26:29
Yeah, that was Center City.

Carolyn 26:34
Did you get any good pictures from the Germantown protest?

Shannon Sims 26:38
I didn’t do Germantown, but I went to the Mount Airy one. I’m still working through those photos. But the day the Germantown one was going on, I think I was out of state.

Carolyn 27:00
It was short though — it was just a walk. It didn’t look like there was much to it.

Shannon Sims 27:06
I think it’s awesome that even little suburbs in Jersey are taking a stand and the suburbs in PA are getting out everything too. We need more of this. My dad’s hometown is probably one of the most racist towns in New Jersey and they had their own march with like 400 people and I’m like Thank You!

Carolyn 27:30
When you read about it, there are polls — however much you trust polls — that say that about 70% support this — like it’s a total change. Everybody in the country is just like fuck the police! I mean, you can’t watch a man and get killed on camera and not.

Shannon Sims 27:50
No! I don’t get how people are just like, Oh, well, it was only that one guy. I’m like, what about the three people standing behind him that okayed it. They’re just as accountable.

Carolyn 28:01
Here’s my theory. I think that the people who are anything but absolutely horrified by what they saw, right? Those are the people that identify with the police. There’s a small percentage of people I think that can identify with the police and everybody else looks at it and sees what we all saw, which was some man’s getting murdered. But the people that identify with the cops to me, they’re dangerous. They’re the people that are going to push us into the gas chamber.

Shannon Sims 28:34
I love the idea that people are finally petitioning for the KKK to be a terrorist group because why isn’t it a terrorist group?

Carolyn 28:45
It was mind blowing to me that it wasn’t already.

Shannon Sims 28:47
With the petition, I said yeah, I’m gonna sign this. But wait. Why do we need to make this thing?

Carolyn 28:56
Aren’t they already? Really? Someone doesn’t know this? It’s amazing. It’s just amazing. So I really think we’re at that juncture. I think it’s dangerous for people to say now everybody needs their own opinion. No, no, no no, because free speech is one thing but human rights is a totally different thing.

Shannon Sims 29:17
It’s not a politics thing, it’s a human thing. I don’t care, you could be the most right wing republican but there’s still people on that side standing with it. I wouldn’t want my nephew getting shot because he’s partial Puerto Rican — he’s my nephew. If he was white, I wouldn’t want him getting shot because of his race. It’s very much a race thing.

Carolyn 29:43
Right? You see, they’ll turn their guns on white people in a second as soon as we align with people of color. We’re like “Hey, that’s wrong,” and they say “Oh, well, I’ll shoot you too.”

Steve 29:50
If you read any of the stuff about labor strife in the 20th century, there was plenty of women and children and you know, strikers getting shot, getting murdered, getting tortured and houses destroyed and all because they decided, Hey, we don’t want to work 12 hour day, seven days a week.

Carolyn 30:07
I don’t want my children to work. I don’t want my three year old to have to go to work. People fought for that. I started reading about it and it’s terrifying.

Shannon Sims 30:18
Yeah. Even in New York and San Francisco with all the gay rights protests. Thank you, Marsha Johnson and thank you everyone who protested.

Steve 30:35
It’s easy to divide people. It’s a shame you know, I mean, you realize the commonality of it.

Carolyn 30:43
And it’s just great to see you and Frank fighting the good fight. And you’re on the Facebook groups and talking people down and all kinds of stuff.

Shannon Sims 30:54
I know he can be a little bit of a troll, but sometimes you need a good laugh.

Carolyn 30:57
A good troll.

Steve 31:01
We need more of those.

Carolyn 31:04
And he doesn’t back down, he gets ya.

Shannon Sims 31:07
He gets very much like, nope, here’s my sources. Where’s your sources? He always makes a joke. He says it’s not that I’m a genius. I know I’m not a genius. I just know how to use Google. I know how to find out the right things. The facts.

Carolyn 31:30
We had a woman on our list freaking out and going like, this guy gave her actual information about how Rizzo beat up some school kids. There’s some protests in West Philly. It’s like a thing that he did that was just horrible. And one of his worst things that he did. And they gave her a link and she was like fake news. So the guy goes gives her Wikipedia. Well, fake news, Wikipedia! So he goes and gives her another link from Swarthmore education. He just kept slamming her and she just left.

Shannon Sims 32:01
I don’t even remember what it was exactly. But somebody shared something that I’m friends with that was just blatantly wrong. And I said Just so you know, this is the proper information. And they’re like, Oh, I didn’t know this. Thank you. And they were really cool about it.

But then this third party person was just saying I don’t trust your sources. And I posted a couple things. And then I kind of creeped on her profile to check her out and then gave her a source from Fox News. Because I know people say the rest are fake. She was dead quiet. Even they’re talking to facts about this one.

Carolyn 32:38
No, no, no, you’re on the wrong side of history people. This is actually a fun time for those of us who like to argue because Sorry, you’re wrong. You’re literally wrong. I don’t get to say that very often.

Steve 32:54
One other thing we wanted to touch on is Philly Forests. So what’s that about?

Shannon Sims 32:59
So Jasmine who used to work at Germantown Espresso Bar she’s been doing a lot of stuff with the Food Trust and she was helping out with one of the historical societies last year and doing some farming. They had a plot of land that they were using as a free garden for people. You could come and pick up your own stuff and it was really awesome.

So she has a plot at the Arboretum and she’s been making boxes of food for the elderly or whoever needs food and trying to like get that out there too. And she’s starting a GoFundMe to get more supplies for the raking and all the little monotonous things that come with farming.

She is killing it and I absolutely love it. I’m always for the veggies and she has such an eye with the photos she posts. She makes kale just look so beautiful.

Photo credit: Philly Forests

Carolyn 34:02
And you know how hard that is because you’re a food photographer sometimes.

Shannon Sims 34:08
She has a good eye with it and she knows so much about food nutrition. She wants to focus on bringing it to impoverished communities. It sucks how expensive some veggies are. It doesn’t make sense that a McDonald’s hamburger on the Dollar Menu is so much worse for you but then is so much cheaper than a carrot or like an avocado.

Carolyn 34:34
And more filling so if you’re poor you think I’ll just eat this because it’s gonna get me through the night. But yeah, so nice as people are growing and doing it for themselves. It’s a neat time. It’s a really cool DIY time.

Also I liked what you said when people were arguing about, not arguing, but talking about how to support this black business and well now you should support this business…  And Shannon just said Look guys, we’ve got to get creative. There are creative ways to keep businesses going, more than just through charity.

Shannon Sims 35:10
Even with how you guys are going digital with the little videos. I mean the Home Shopping Network exists and that’s literally just a video of people selling stuff 24 hours. So there’s always ways to adapt.

I know people that have been selling stuff on their Instagram pages for forever, and we can switch to that. Do Facebook more or you can do your Facebook Lives to advertise your clothing or whatever you’re selling. And I feel like the Internet has so many tools, we just have to figure out what works for your business and how to get a hold of it.

Even my one girlfriend makes these ashtrays in the shape of a person’s mouth. Real funky looking and she blew up on Twitter. Now her stuff is selling out within a half hour of her posting it. This is the power of the internet. She doesn’t even know why. She said I just posted it one day and then like 2000 people retweeted it. She said I don’t know why, I posted my work before so I don’t know what’s any different.

Carolyn 36:22
How wonderful. So she’s got a business now.

Shannon Sims 36:25
Yeah. And she was a welder for a while and now she thinks this can be a full time gig. She doesn’t have to rely on working for The Man anymore. And she’s very much like a little hippie that went to Pratt and like she she’s an angel and a half. But she’s like fuck the man, I’m gonna do this now!

Carolyn 36:45
So what do you have that can go viral? That will make you a millionaire?

Shannon Sims 36:51
I’m working on it. No, I’m trying to make sure my Facebook page and my Instagram and everything are up to date. I took my website down just to save me some money but honestly the word of mouth is so, so good.

I’m always dropping business cards to people or my sister in law put me in one of those booze fairy groups. So I was in Jersey and gave her a couple bags to give out. I dropped my business card in all of them and one of the girls hit me up. She said Oh my gosh, we used to work together and I was looking for a photographer I’m gonna hit you up! I don’t know, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do exactly for mine but I’m probably gonna do another photo special once things are opening back up again.

I’ll figure out something with social media too because even just posting for sale on my Instagram stories, people were sharing that without me even asking.

Carolyn 38:06
Yeah, that’s nice. And obviously they like you because you like everybody and you’re working with everybody. It comes around — makes a circle.

Steve 38:16
Hey, do you get back to Terron at all? Do you get back to Terron here in East Falls?

Terron is a black-owned vegetarian restaurant in East Falls

Shannon Sims 38:23

Carolyn 38:24
They changed hands. It’s no longer Craig. They have a new chef. When they open up, we should go BYO if they have outside tables.

Shannon Sims 38:33
We’d be down.

Steve 38:37
So cool. Thanks for making some time for us. We appreciate it.

Shannon Sims 38:41
I appreciate you guys.

About The Local 160 Articles
The Local byline reflects community-created content (usually from social media, often from audio/video sources) that we've collected and edited into an article for our website/newspaper.

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