Supported by 94% of the votes cast in our endorsement poll, Philly Neighborhood Networks enthusiastically endorses Tonya Bah for City Council in the 8thCouncilmanic District. A long-time community activist, she has exhibited the dedication, energy and ability to be an outstanding advocate on Council for educational equity, economic opportunity, and environmental justice. Tonya comes to her views authentically, through the path of her life. The widowed mother of autistic twins, Tonya found herself unable to get the School District to provide the services to her kids that she needed. Fast forward a year, and Tonya became an expert on everything School District related and a fierce public advocate for policies that serve the interests of children over privatizers, and teaching time over testing time. Because of Tonya’s outstanding work, both the Our City Our Schools advocacy coalition, and the School Board Nominating Panel asked that she be appointed to the School Board, although the Mayor, disappointingly, declined. In an earlier life, Tonya was employed as a hotel worker, giving her a profound and personal understanding of the struggles of hourly wage earners. It is out of this experience that she became a vigorous supporter of an increase in the minimum wage to $15/hour and of Helen Gym’s Fair Work Week bill that recently passed Council. She is, and will continue to be on Council, a steadfast advocate of expanding economic opportunities for all, especially for the poorest of the poor. Living less than 3 miles from the proposed site of a toxin spewing gas-powered power plant, Tonya has also been called to the environmental justice movement. In addition to fighting the plant, she took a position with Clean Water Action training grass-roots activists on how to fight the plague of lead contamination in our City. As Tonya’s website illustrates vividly, she connects her analysis of what needs to be done in one sector, such as education, to all the broader justice movements that struggle today to be heard. She will choose people over profits every time, and will not be influenced by who is her biggest contributor – in fact, she will not accept contributions from large developers, the fossil fuel industry, or charter school interests. In sum, we believe that Tonya Bah will bring a breath of fresh air to council and help transform that body into an instrument of the people. She has walked the walk, and not just talked the talk.
We should note that we don’t support Tonya’s candidacy from a distance. We were fortunate to have had Tonya on PNN’s Steering Committee for three years, until she took leave to start her campaign. We know up close and personal of where we speak when we describe her unbending commitment to lifting up justice in our District, our City and our world.
We look forward to knocking thousands of doors and raising funds to ensure that, come May 21st, Tonya will be nominated to be our next Councilperson from the 8th! We invite you to join us.
More Endorsements To Come
Having endorsed Tonya, the next phase of our endorsement process will consider candidates for Council At Large, City Commissioner, Mayor, and other local offices. To see how our endorsement process works, check out this page.