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PNN Newsletter: What We Accomplished in 2023 & What's Ahead for 2024

In place of our usual newsletter telling you what's coming up this week, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate all the good work we accomplished in 2023 and give you an idea of what to expect in the new year.

Here is a timeline of our work:

In January, we held the year’s first “Financing Philly’s Future”. During this monthly half-hour live podcast, we speak with subject matter experts on how a Philadelphia Public Bank will benefit the city. Guests during the year included two of the mayoral candidates, four City Council candidates, the City Controller, and community leaders.

We also participated in a Picket for Justice outside the Criminal Justice Center to alert Philly residents of the abuse of power of one judge, who was subsequently moved from criminal to civil court.

We coordinated the first of four “Defend Democracy” visibility events through the year with allies Common Cause, Indivisible Philly and Voices Rising Philly in front of City Hall, and a private club that was hosting a fundraiser for tangerine traitor, to remind our fellow citizens that nobody is above the law.

In February, we hosted the “People's Economic Forum: Powering the Cooperative Economy” to explore ways that public investment can strengthen and support the co-op movement in our city.

We also conducted a vigorous endorsement process to select the candidates who most represented our values and began a petition signature gathering door-to-door and at high-traffic locations for our endorsed candidates.

In March, as members of the Alliance for a Just Philadelphia coalition, we helped plan and conduct an in-person City Council Candidates Forum that was attended by nearly all candidates and 1,000+ activists.

We also conducted a joint “How Harrisburg Works” workshop for veteran activists with our allies from March on Harrisburg, where we talked about the motivations of state elected officials and how to motivate them on our issues.

In April, we began our Buddy Canvassing field work for our endorsed candidates, knocking doors in target neighborhoods, thru Election Day.

We also hosted a “sneak peek” viewing of the “Driving Equality” documentary by Councilmember Isaiah Thomas, who recounted his experiences with police as a black man behind the wheel.

In May, we held a “How City Council Works” workshop for high school students in conjunction with our friends at Philly BOLT, and led the students on a field trip to visit City Council members and the District Attorney.

In June, we worked with partners to turn out activists for a March to Support Chinatown against the development of a sports arena in the middle of their community.

We also worked as members of the Prison Oversight Board Coalition to conduct a town hall to bring awareness of the abhorrent conditions in city prisons and to offer solutions in the form of a bill for City Council.

In July, we worked with allies to protect a women’s health clinic by conducting a successful blocking action against radicals from the hate group Moms for Liberty; and we lobbied Cong. Dwight Evans to co-sponsor Medicare for All legislation.

In August, we organized a Slice of Democracy Teach-In with allies in Bucks County where we held workshops on the Voting Rights Act, the far-right attack on local school boards, and how to lobby in Harrisburg.

In September, we helped organize a Public Safety Community Forum with allies to address the escalation of gun violence in our city and offer a variety of solutions. This was attended by members of City Council, state representatives and mayoral candidates.

Our Climate Justice team held a Visibility Rally for a fossil fuel-free world at a major intersection in the city to raise awareness of the UN Climate Ambition Summit.

Additionally, we held a People’s Summit for North and Northwest Philly that took on some of the city’s most intractable problems in housing, community development, education and climate justice.

Working Groups emerged from this event, and they are right now planning and organizing projects for 2024.

In October, we worked with allies on the Hug the Block project, which pulled together activists to walk the 57 most dangerous blocks in the city, every night through Election Day, to provide an example to neighbors that it is important to stand up to troublemakers and take back our streets.

From September thru Election Day, we reprised our field work on behalf of our endorsed candidates. For the year, PNN canvassed, phone banked and fliered, texted and emailed, post-carded and robocalled roughly 30,000 voters in low-turnout neighborhoods.

What's Next?

Importantly, this work has led to identifying potential leaders and activists who can help us with the critical work of trust-building in these unengaged communities.

So, that’s what we will be taking on as a big part of our work in the new year. We will do this work using the Working Groups created at the Summit to decide upon which issues they’ll take on.

And we be doing the kind of immersive work that is required to rebuild the trust that was broken by a generation of policies that did not solve fundamental problems and left Philadelphia as the poorest big city in the nation.

And we will always keep in mind that an engaged and hopeful community is more likely to take part in our elections and in the governing of our city.

There’s lots to do in the coming year and we are inviting you to join us in this good work.

Join a Working Group

More than 90 activists took part in our People's Summit at the end of September. It was there that we began our collaborative work on some of the biggest issues this city will face in the coming year. Activists came together around these major areas of concern - Housing Justice, Community Development, Climate Justice, and Schools & Public Institutions. Working Groups were formed to think through priorities, and start to develop SMART goals that will lead to very real successes for our city.

We cannot do this alone, so if you have any skills you can share and some time you can spare, we'd really appreciate your contribution to the greater good. Please take this moment to click on the link below and sign up for something!

Become a Member of Our Planning Team

Want to be part of the team that figures out what movie we should run for our issues-based "Movie Nights"? Want to try your hand at writing a blog for our new website? Want to help plan an episode of our "Talking In the Neighborhood" radio show? Want to help plan and prepare creative presentations for our actions and events? Then become part of our Planning Team and help our community work. Email for more information.

Thanks for your activism!

Tim Brown, Organizing Director


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