Africans in Philadelphia forced to live in subway stations during pandemic

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has the sixth largest U.S. rapid transit system by ridership and the fifth largest overall transit system. Sixty-four percent of its workforce is African, as well as forty-eight percent of its overall ridership of 4 million people. 

As the death toll increased for their employees, with nine having died and over ninety-six having tested positive for the colonialvirus at the time of this writing, SEPTA moved to what they refer to as the “Lifeline Service Schedule,” intended to increase safety for riders and operators.

The decrease in the number of people frequenting the subway stations and subway trains coupled with a reduction in the SEPTA workforce, however, has created a multitude of safety and health issues.

These issues affect not only the primarily African essential workers who rely on SEPTA to travel to and from their jobs and the SEPTA workers but also one of the city’s most vulnerable populations, the homeless.

According to an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer, “[Homeless shelters] across the city have had to overhaul and, in many cases, drastically curtail their programs, struggling with the reality that social distancing isn’t built into their service models.” 

When asked if it was safer to sleep in a shelter or on the street, physician’s assistant Katie Huynh replied, “I had to tell them it’s safer, for the coronavirus, to sleep on the street. So I think that we’re going to see a lot more people avoiding shelters,” she said. “But then, that leaves you vulnerable for more violence, that you’ll be injured physically or have your belongings stolen.”

In Philadelphia, where Africans represent seventy-nine percent of the homeless population, many of them turn to SEPTA subway stations and/or subway trains for shelter where social distancing is somewhat possible. Some ride the trains continuously day and night.

Sadly, that’s the good news.

The SEPTA workforce reduction includes the maintenance crews who are responsible to clean the stations, which means the riders and homeless are forced to walk through and reside in complete squalor. 

SEPTA workers, meanwhile, fear contracting COVID-19 on the job. Their workers’ union accuses the transit agency of not doing enough to keep them safe.

What all of these glaring contradictions point to is Africans are in constant peril no matter where we are located or what we do. The colonialvirus is a political problem that carries with it potentially deadly medical consequences, especially for Africans.

We need power over our own lives! We demand to have the ability to feed, clothe and house ourselves!

The fight for self-governance and a liberated African nation is the aim of the African People’s Socialist Party! It is a fight for all humanity.

Join the African People’s Socialist Party at

“We want an end to U.S. colonial domination of African people within the U.S.,” – Point #13, The Working Platform of the African People’s Socialist Party: What We Want – What We Believe



- Advertisement -spot_img

Support African Working Class Media!

More articles from this author

Chairman Omali on Tucker Carlson’s show: “The attack on my right to speak is also an attack on the right of the people to...

The following is a transcript from Tucker Carlson’s interview with Chairman Omali Yeshitela broadcasted on Mar. 22.  Tucker Carlson: The details of the story are...

The U.S. government assaults the First Amendment using the case of the Uhuru 3

These are summarized notes from Chairman Omali Yeshitela’s presentation discussing the First Amendment at a Hands Off Uhuru webinar hosted on March 30, 2024. In...

Uhuru 3 legal counsel declares, “We’re building a bullet-proof defense!”

Leonard Goodman - National Lawyers Guild conference, Chicago, IL, April 14, 2024— I want to appreciate the National Lawyers Guild for having us and...

Similar articles

Our true interests are one with the rest of humanity: unity through reparations!

The African People's Solidarity Committee (APSC) is the organization of white people under the leadership of and formed by the African People's Socialist Party...

Colonialism is the greatest threat to African women

The following is an excerpt from the 2024 Political Report to the ANWO Convention written by Yejide Orunmila. Using African Internationalism, we can provide a...

America in the age of crisis

Makandal is a member of the Uhuru Movement organizing inside colonial prisons, whose writing is recognized as a product of African Internationalist theory. This oppressive...