A spark of progressive activism was ignited during the 2004 Presidential campaign. A core group of MoveOn organizers realized the impact they had using the power to influence election results in the key city in the swing state of Pennsylvania. That spark generated a local organization with an enduring commitment: Philly Neighborhood Networks that now involves over 3,400 activists. We push for progressive candidates and policies in Philadelphia, and organize our work around Action Committees that work for Economic Justice, Education, Electoral Politics, Environment, Healthcare, and Housing. We recognize all these issues are infused with racial injustice and the systemic oppression of people of color, and each committee prioritizes anti-racism within its movement.
Philly Neighborhood Networks traces its origins to the Presidential campaign of 2004. With strong support from MoveOn which provided a data-assisted organizing model, we had kept Pennsylvania “blue” with a massive turnout in Philadelphia despite the national defeat of John Kerry. After the election, a core group of MoveOn organizers were determined to preserve what they had learned from the campaign, so we decided we would try to keep the energy going and, on our own, establish connections to form a new organization. We gathered the connections we had made with other leaders and continued to hold monthly meetings and potlucks over the winter as we reached out.
In June 2005, we met at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and Philly Neighborhood Networks was born. Our idea was to create an enduring organization to push for progressive candidates and policies and a platform of progressive goals for healthcare, environment, civil rights and economic reform in Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania. At the national level, we wanted to implement a strategy to shore up the “democratic wing” of the Democratic Party so it would eventually dominate it.
Since our founding in 2004, we have grown to a network of over 3,400 activists who work to elect progressive candidates at every level of government. We also continue to organize on a wide range of issues, such as gun control, minimum wage increases, ethics reforms, environmental sustainability, progressive tax reform, and education equity.