PNN’s mission is to engage, educate and empower. Here’s what’s coming up in each of these areas:
Engage: Advocate for Public Bank Funding
Educate: Watch Party for Jan 6th Hearings
Empower: Take Our Budget Workshop
Read on to find out the when, where, and how.
PNN’s endorsed candidates won big in some hotly contested state house races, came close in others, and lost in a few but with promising results that bode well for the future. While we must now get ready for the General Election, let’s take a few moments to review the primary results for some take-aways.
Progressive Incumbents Won Big in Contested State House Races
The Democratic Party establishment and right-wing dark money PACs threw everything they had at Philly incumbent progressives, but the good guys still won big in PA House races. Rep Elizabeth Fiedler, Rep Rick Krajewski, and Rep Chris Rabb smashed their opponents. PNN was particularly involved in supporting Rep Chris Rabb in NW Philly’s HD 200 with canvassing and election day work. Despite a desperate smear campaign run against him by his opponent, "Rep Rabb" stayed above the mudslinging and, as he said at the Watch Party, our teamwork demonstrated that "people power won over money power." The lesson learned: when our candidates have a message that resonates, grassroots-supported campaigns can carry them to victory.
Challengers in PA Legislative Races Won, and Some Came Close
In the 194th District in NW Philly, first-time candidate Tarik Khan received 60% of the vote and unseated a longtime incumbent. Khan, a nurse by profession, had distinguished himself during the pandemic by providing Covid vaccinations to the homebound as a volunteer. He was a tireless challenger, knocking on more than 10,000 doors himself with his message of health care for all, a quality public education for every child, and affordable housing in every neighborhood.
In the newly created HD 10, first time candidate Cass Green, a community activist, lost by less than 200 votes in a 3-person race. And in HD 203, another first-time candidate and criminal justice activist Andre Carroll garnered 44% of the vote against a long term incumbent Stephen Kinsey. Paul Prescod, a self-described democratic socialist, ran a very impressive race for the PA Senate 8th, District seat and gave the 24 year incumbent Anthony Williams a run for his money, but he fell short in his first run for office. All of these first-time candidates showed tremendous promise and that their progressive message resonates with the voters -- hopefully they will run again in the future.
US Senate Race
It seems that no other Democratic challenger was able to overcome the commanding lead, and fundraising advantage that John Fetterman had going into election day. Fetterman has crafted progressive positions on the issues that also resound well with the working-class voters in a large swath of PA – in fact, he won in all 67 counties - and this bodes well for the General Election. PNN-endorsed candidate Malcolm Kenyatta’s vote total reached double figures which was decent for his first statewide race. During canvassing, countless voters agreed with Malcolm on the issues, but were concerned about his statewide electability. With more time and exposure, Malcolm Kenyatta has a bright future.
Committee Person Candidates – Changing the Democratic Party Machinery
Many Committee Person candidates were running to bring democracy to their constituents and wards. So many wards are closed and do not allow for a democratic endorsement process. The many first-time Committee Person candidates who were elected will bring new energy to open up and hopefully reform the Democratic City Committee that is clearly broken and resists the movement for more progressive candidates and incumbents that the voters want.
Thank You and What’s Next
Much appreciation for your work at the doors and at the polls for Chris Rabb and our other endorsed candidates this primary season. Now we prepare for November and one of the most important elections of our lifetimes as we work to elevate two key candidates in PA – Shapiro for Governor and Fetterman for the US Senate. Make no mistake, democracy is on the line, and we must hold that line in Pennsylvania this year if there is to be any hope for victory in 2024.
Let's Get Our Public Bank Funded!
Make Calls to Council. May 20-27th
On March 17th, after years of organizing, and with the help of Councilmember Derek Green, legislation creating the Philadelphia Public Financial Authority (PPFA) – the precursor to a Philadelphia Public Bank – became law in our City!
Now we need your help to insist that the upcoming City Budget include the $3 million that the Philadelphia Public Banking Coalition and Councilmember Green deem necessary to get the Financial Authority up and running in the next fiscal year.
We Need $3 Million to Fund the Philadelphia Public Financial Authority
With $3 million the Authority’s Board of Directors will hire staff to:
Manage an anticipated loan fund of $75 million to direct investment into economic growth areas of unmet credit needs;
Pursue the chartering of a public bank and other financial entities that will further grow a more just economy for the City;
Realize a return on investment sufficient to support the go-forward operations of the Authority; and
Promote a culture of transparency and justice in the management of City finances.
Want to Help Get the Bank Funded? It's Easy!
Just help us make a few calls and send some emails today! You will find everything you'll need to reach out to Councilmembers and the Mayor in the Advocacy Toolkit below. Contact Stan Shapiro with any response. We are focusing our lobbying efforts on the week of May 20th-27th.
Workshop on City Budget
Thursday, June 2nd, 7PM
Ever wondered how our City's Budget is put together? What considerations are made when determining the best use of our taxpayer dollars? Want to know how the sausage is made? Then you'll want to attend our souped-up Budget Workshop on June 2nd as we explore these and other questions to give you a solid foundation of knowledge about Philly's budget - just in time for us to have an impact on it. Sign up below for this 90-minute dive into our Coty's most important annual document.
Watch Party for Insurrection Hearings
Thursday, June 9th, time and location TBD
Want to join us for a Watch Party when the House January 6th Committee restarts their public hearings? Chairman Benny Thompson plans to hear testimony from new witnesses and will call upon other elected officials to provide testimony on their actions surrounding that day.
They have not yet announced a start time, which will determine when we'll start our Party (about an hour prior to the hearing). Meanwhile, we are scouting a number of locations to find one that is most convenient, and we'll let you know when we secure the best one we can find.
We'll be gathering to excoriate the den of thieves that was the previous administration, and we will give away dubious awards, like "The Benedict Arnold Award for Biggest Traitor" and "The Golden Boot" for best/worst public bootlicking performance.
It should be a darkly fun time, as well as an opportunity for us to remind ourselves and our friends and neighbors that we will not stand idly by while fascists attempt to overthrow our democracy. There will be consequences.
We anticipate having room for 100 attendees, so sign up now to secure a seat. We'll be practicing COVID protocols and ask that everyone be fully vaccinated.
How Do We Keep Philly Housed?
Tuesday, May 24th, 6PM, Germantown Mennonite Church
Join the Philly Rent Coalition and others for a community discussion on Tuesday at the Germantown Mennonite Church at 21 West Washington Lane. Among the topics will be how to assure that current renters will be able to remain in their homes, and what can we do to increase stability and avoid displacement?
Bread & Roses Tribute to Change
June 23rd, 5:30PM, Cera Green
Shakeda Gaines, a PNN steering committee member, has been selected by Bread and Roses Community Fund to receive the Trailblazer Award. Shakeda is being honored for her great and extensive service to the community as an education activist. She is passionate about helping parents and students fight for fair and equitable public education.
The award will be presented on Thursday, June 23rd from 5:30 until 8PM at Cira Green next to 30th Street Station. This Tribute to Change event has a theme of “We have each other: Uplifting community care, mutual aid and collective joy”.
Bread and Roses is a fabulous organization that has long helped to sustain our grass roots movements with a motto of Change, Not Charity. You can sign up to this inspiring event here. More info can be found at 215-731-1107 or email.
This Week in History
May 20, 1996 – SCOTUS Defends Gay Rights. The U.S. Supreme Court voted six to three to strike down an amendment to Colorado’s constitution that would have prevented any jurisdiction in the state from taking any action to protect the rights of gays and lesbians.
May 23, 1935 – First MLB Night Game. Cincinnati's Crosby Field held the first MLB night game where the host Reds beat the Phillies 2-1.
May 25, 1787 – Constitutional Convention. Four years after the United States won its independence, George Washington, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin and other patriots convened in Philadelphia to compose a new U.S. Constitution.
Thanks for your activism!
Tim Brown, Organizing Director