This week we look back at what we accomplished as a City in this election, look forward to a critically important election coming up in January, check out a couple of interesting online landing places for progressives, put out a call for activism in Harrisburg and the state budget and more…
Kudos, Philly! Election Turnout Highest in 25 Years
The Office of City Commissioners announced last night their count of Philadelphia’s 2020 vote was complete, resulting in the City’s highest turnout since 1984. Be proud PNN members because you and your organization played a major role in making that happen! About 65% of voters cast a ballot – up from 59% four years ago, and more than came out for Obama. Mail ballots accounted for about half the total, though use varied widely across the city: up to 20x more ballots were requested in some wards versus others. Statewide, more than 6.9 million Pennsylvanians cast a ballot, which officials say is the highest since 1960.
Help Us Win Georgia
As goes Georgia, so goes the Senate. The math is simple: if Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock win, then Democrats will set the agenda. If either loses, it’s all up to Mitch McConnell, and we all know how that’s going to work out. Fair Fight Action, an organization founded by Stacy Abrams, did incredible work getting out the vote to help win the Georgia primary for the Dems, and is now taking on this next challenge. If you would like to be part of the team that delivers two new senators to help President-Elect Biden, then sign up below.
National Call for Moral Revival in Harrisburg
On Monday, November 23rd the Pennsylvania Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, will host a Moral Monday caravan at our statehouse to mourn the more than 9,000 people who have died from COVID-19, demand a smooth and open transition of power and lift up the moral policies we need immediately and in the first days of the new administration. Join this public act of mourning and remembrance. Register below for further instructions on the caravan meet-up point.
Tell State Legislators: Say No to Drastic Budget Cuts!
If Governor Wolf and the General Assembly do not reach a Budget Agreement by November 30, the state will not be able to carry out critical tasks or pay state workers., and education and human services will suffer. The PA Budget & Policy Center has set up an Action Page to help you contact your legislators to remind them to their duty and reach an agreement.
“Weight of Death” Docu-Series on Gun Violence
Philadelphia’s city officials, public leaders, and hip-hop artists give candid interviews in an independent five-part docu-series, “Weight of Death” will be released this Friday, Nov. 20th. Produced by local activists Anton Moore, Matthew Orsini and Jamie Borras, the film features interviews with District Attorney Larry Krasner, Philadelphia Prisons Commissioner Blanche Carney, E.R. Doctor Erica Harris, Hip-hop artists Meek Mill and others.
To get a sense of the ongoing tragedy of gun violence, you can view the tracker from the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting here.
Climate Website for the Creative
Four Philly Neighborhood Networks members – poet Susan Windle, activist Judy Morgan, pastor Cheryl Pyrch, and web designer Rivkah Walton – have created a website for those working on climate and justice issues called Heart Offerings Philadelphia: Art for Building a Just & Sustainable Future – designed as a resource to help activists and organizers stay positive and energized. The site provides poems, essays, prayers and other work by Philadelphia area artists that can be used for individual support and as organizing tools. You can connect with local artists willing to help in activist efforts, and you are invited to share reflections, ideas, and art works relating to the climate and justice efforts.
Food & Nutrition Job Openings
If you know someone looking for work, Einstein Healthcare Network is hiring for full and part-time positions in food and nutrition, including cooks, food service workers and utility staff at their Philadelphia and Elkins Park locations. You can find these job listings here.
Advocacy Update: Actions this Past Week
Education: Penn announced a gift of $100 million to the city’s school district. It is not Payments In Lieu of Taxes PILOTS — which the Chair of Penn Trustees, David Cohen, strongly opposes (presumably because Penn would have to keep contributing instead of a one-time gift) — but President Amy Guttman was able to find the money in her budget. Penn did cave into the pressure that’s been mounting from Our City Our Schools, the teachers, the parents, the taxpayers, the Penn students, the Penn faculty and the Penn alumni. We can say thanks, but let’s keep pushing for PILOTS which will institutionalize the needed contributions from big institutions like Penn to help fund the city’s public schools.
Police Contract Hearings: Philly Neighborhood Networks members joined more than a hundred Philadelphians who showed up to testify at the first ever public hearings on the Police Contract. Advocates pushed for a fair and open disciplinary process that is not subject to being overturned by the arbitration process. The public will continue to watch this negotiation process to see if basic structural change will occur in the upcoming police contract. ______________________________________________________________________________________________
This Week in History
Nov. 21, 1887 – Phonograph Invented. Working on a way to record telephone conversations, Thomas Edison put stylus to a tinfoil cylinder and was surprised to find that he was able to capture and play back “Mary had a Little Lamb”.
Nov. 22, 1963 – JFK Assassinated. The 35th president was shot as his motorcade passed the Texas Book Depository in Dallas, TX. The Warren Commission released a report on its investigation of the murder, but theories of a broader conspiracy continue today.
Nov. 24, 1859 – Darwin’s Origin Theory. The groundbreaking “On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection” lays the foundation for the theory of evolution.
Thanks for your activism!
Tim Brown, Organizing Director