I was wandering up and down North 6th street, feeling foolish that the whole train ride here I had been envisioning a block party. That morning I rode the Blue Line, staring at the glass and my reflection as we went through tunnels, imagining what I would see or hear after I surfaced on 8th street, and made the short walk to the event. Music blasting into the air, color-themed balloons like the ones that lifted that house from “Up”, an entire street cleared of cars– because I was going to The Jawn. Of course, there was none of that; outside it was the noise of a Saturday in the city. Not of crowded sidewalks and bus exhaust– more like laughter in Franklin Square Park on the first day of fall.
All this to mean: one, don’t daydream on the train, and two, I was having some difficulty finding the main entrance. I’m actually glad I never did. I cut through the back parking lot of WHYY TV’s Studios where caterers and event workers came through, and a security guard let me pass after I told him I was a volunteer. I opened a door, passed a curtain, and walked right into a room buzzing. A band of high school musicians rehearsed their set; caterers organized tables for food; photographers created a backdrop for a photo station. The room was lit so it had a purple hue, and screens on the walls, as well as the huge screen behind the podium from which the event would be hosted , read “Vote That Jawn” in a logo designed by the graffiti artist Distort. This was the Jawn I hadn’t thought about; this room was, as artist-activist Lansie Sylvia from “Next Stop: Democracy” would later say, a perfect example of a city of people giving their best.