By Barbara Sherf
Locally, activists demonstrated at both Chestnut Hill post offices on Saturday, August 26, as part of a nationwide effort to protest changes to the U.S. Postal Service by recently appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. Demonstrators say those changes have resulted in widespread mail delays and threaten mail-in balloting for the November general election.
MoveOn, the NAACP, Working Families Party and other national organizations planned “#SaveThePostOffice Saturday,” which asked Americans nationwide to show up at post offices across the country at 11 a.m. “to save the post office from Trump and declare that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy must resign.”
Local organizer Mary Kalyna of Mt. Airy noted that 50 people (the maximum permitted) had signed up to gather Germantown Avenue location, but more like 70 or so held signs lambasting DeJoy and the Trump administration. She then went into the post office to read a proclamation to postal clerk Craig Sanders and hand him a piece of artwork.
“I love it. Support is always good,” said Sanders from behind the counter while Kalyna talked further in the lobby.
“The post office is not a business. It’s a service that many people rely on every day for medication, checks and online voting in this pandemic,” said Kalyna. “This administration is clearly trying to sabotage post offices as a way to suppress votes. People love the post office.”
In her proclamation read out loud to Sanders, Kalyna noted that 39 percent of postal employees are African American.
“It was something I wanted to do for the workers. I wanted to show a little love. Historically the postal service has been a big employer of African Americans and the Black community knows that and we were in no way expressing hostility to the postal workers,” she said.
Belinda Marcus of Mt. Airy had left the Crittenden Street post office as a half dozen or so protesters held up signs and stopped to comment.
“I love what they (postal workers) do,” she said after leaving the facility.
They are on the front line during Covid and now there are cutbacks that I believe are politically motivated. Shame on Trump.”
Rabbi Sheila Weinberg of Chestnut Hill felt the need to join the nationwide effort in support of postal workers.
“I fear that the wealthy might try to privatize the post office, and this is a government service that serves all no matter if they are poor or not,” said Rabbi Weinberg. “The post office is for all of the people and I have concerns it will be manipulated and stolen. It’s just more of Trump and his lies and that’s why I’m out here.”
Chestnut Hill Village resident Maynard Seider expressed her support for the post office.
“I’m saddened by what this administration is doing,” she said. “My father worked for the postal service for over 30 years and this is the best government service that we have. People rely on it. We need to put more money into the post office, not less.”
Demonstrator Donna Sherman of Chestnut Hill voiced her concerns as well.
“My concerns are that they are being sabotaged and also I question whether voting will be fair,” Sherman said. “I’m concerned about the effects defunding the postal service will have on our elections and mail- in voting.”
Germantown resident Thomas Hood said he was “very concerned” about the future of the postal service.
“It’s a necessary public served that is being hindered by Trump,” he said. “If we make it easy for people to vote, the GOP will never win.”
For Nella Cottman of Mt. Airy, the issue is personal.
“My ancestors fought and died for the right to vote and I’m concerned votes will be suppressed,” said Cottman. “This is the least I can do to say ‘It’s not okay.’”
Seniors Richard and Lani Dow of Mt. Airy talked about the fear involved in this country right now.
“We have got to get away from the fear and support the post office as it is an essential service. People like us rely on it for checks and medications and our mail-in ballots. Trump is just selling fear and it’s not good for our country,” said Richard, as Lani nodded in agreement.
While there were no demonstrators at the Flourtown post office, about 70 protestors showed up at the main Cheltenham post office on Ashbourne Road according to Jane Hulting of Elkins Park.
“I’d say 80 percent of motorists honked or waved and our neighbor just put it up yesterday, so who says we can’t organize,” said Hulting.
Contributor Barbara Sherf can be reached at Barb@CommunicationsPro.com.