On January 23, Philadelphia government officials signaled they would be open to establishing the nation's first supervised drug-consumption site to combat the city's surging opioid epidemic. The announcement provoked immediate reaction from residents of Kensington, a large district northeast of downtown Philly that has shouldered the brunt of the drug epidemic for decades.
“We’re one of the poorest neighborhoods in the nation, and we have white addicts from Oregon panhandling,” Juan Marrero, pastor of Christ Centered Church, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s a dynamic I’ve never seen before. Still, that people here give money shows the hospitality they have.”
Two people not stunned by the need or the city's response were Kathryn Pannepacker and Lisa Kelley, artists who have been hosting a weekly weaving workshop on Kensington Avenue for the past year. They welcome neighborhood residents and visitors to sit down together and, with instruction, create a simple piece of weaving to keep and a larger piece that will become part of a community project.
"Where there is life there is hope," Pannepacker wrote on Instagram. "We know first-hand at Tuesday Tea and Textiles that Narcan saves lives. And we are so encouraged by Philadelphia's announcement this week RE: creating CUES (comprehensive user engagement sites), as this will save lives."