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Philadelphia’s Call to Action – August 2020

Created by Ella McCausland, Intern at Pivedite

INTRO

This post highlights news articles from July and August 2020. Review our Question/Action section after each article to think about how you can take bold action.

If you get inspired to accept one of our challenges or take action, please let us know by filling out the form on our Contact page.

DISCRIMINATION

Problem: 45% of African Americans, 18% of Asian Americans, nearly 1 in 5 Latinos, 34% of LGBTQ Americans, and 41% overall say they have been discriminated against in 2017.

System Challenge: End discrimination in your community.

Individual Challenge: Stop 1 act of discrimination.

“Philly students, teachers call for cutting school police, adding social workers” published by Philly Voice on July 13, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How does the presence of police in primarily Black and Brown public schools contribute to the racial education disparity? How would replacing these police with social and mental health workers alter the course of these students’ education and lives?
  • What positive changes can we predict if the demands of these students, teachers, and Philadelphia citizens are met? 
  • What can you do to demand reform and racial justice in your own school district?

“Free Library director expected to resign within the week over discrimination allegations” published by Billy Penn on July 22, 2020.

Question/Action

  • In last month’s Call to Action, we included an article that highlighted the open letters and demands of Philadelphia’s Free Library workers over racial discrimination in the workplace. Siobhan Reardon, the Director of the library who has been accused of racist workplace policy, is now stepping down. What does this prove about protesting inequality and the power of the people?
  • Philadelphia’s Free Library is a public resource that should be accessible to the entire Philly. What other institutions in your city are equal in theory, but may be discriminatory in practice?
  • How can you hold your public institutions accountable and ensure all citizens have the opportunity to utilize public resources?

EDUCATION

Problem: Approx. 550,000 adults did not have adequate literacy skills in 2018.

System Challenge: Ensure everyone in your community has adequate literacy skills.

Individual Challenge: Ensure 1 adult you know improves their literacy skills.

“Philly students to receive free internet access via new PHLConnectED program” published by Philly Voice on August 6, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Will free internet access be enough to ensure these students are able to participate in online learning?
  • How do other school policies such as digital homework and technology-based projects/testing create a disadvantage for many students?
  • Can you ensure that students in your school district have internet access before they begin online schooling in the fall?

“10 ways the School District of Philadelphia can become an antiracist organization” published by Billy Penn on July 27, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Why is it vital for Philadelphia’s curriculum to include and accommodate the stories and backgrounds of all students?
  • How can we expand our perspective on education to address the racial, economic, and social influences that often are not noticed?
  • Which of these demands do you think would create the greatest positive impact on the school district?

HEALTH

Problem: 12% of adults were uninsured and approximately 1 in 6 adults reported not having a primary care provider in 2018.

System Challenge: Ensure everyone in your community has access to quality health care.

Individual Challenge:  Help 1 person get quality health care.

“How to get health insurance during COVID-19 pandemic” published by 6ABC on July 14, 2020.

Question/Action

  • During a pandemic that has taken over 160,000 lives nationwide, is healthcare a human right?
  • What alternatives are there for people who cannot afford healthcare and do not qualify for Medicaid to seek medical attention?
  • Can you ensure that everyone in your community has access to affordable healthcare?

“Healthcare transportation startup Roundtrip just raised $4M” published by Technically on July 23, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How would affordable medical transportation improve the overall health and healthcare habits of a community?
  • Can you help someone in your community get to and from medical appointments?
  • Can you start a club or network of community members that are willing to transport elderly or disabled people to appointments and treatments?

“The Philly Company Improving Rapid Molecular Tests for COVID-19” published by Philly Mag on July 13, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How could molecular testing revolutionize our COVID testing process and system? What would change if everyone had access to a testing kit that they could use at home and receive rapid results?
  • Would you use a Biomeme self-test kit? Do you know someone in your community that could benefit from having access to an at-home rapid results test?
  • Besides increasing testing, what other ways can you spread awareness about COVID and encourage your community to take safety precautions?

HOMELESSNESS

Problem: Approx. 5700 people were homeless in 2018.

System Challenge: End homelessness in your community.

Individual Challenge: End homelessness for 1 person

“Treat Homelessness as a Health Issue” published by Philly Citizen on July 20, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Many become homeless due to addiction or chronic health issues that make them unable to work. How can we work to solve homelessness at its root?
  • Do you think creating recovery programs for addicts and rehabilitation programs for the injured or sick help to prevent people from becoming homelessness?
  • Denver Health partnered with Denver Housing Authority to restructure an empty office building into affordable housing for elders and homeless people recovering from hospital visits. Can Philadelphia create a similar program?

“‘I was kicked out for being trans’: Addressing LGBTQ youth homelessness in Philadelphia” published by WHYY on August 5, 2020.

Question/Action

  • At the root of LGBTQ youth homelessness is discrimination, often from one’s own family. To address homelessness, we must start at the root. What projects can be put in place to educate and support LGBTQ youth and their families, so hopefully they create an understanding and loving bond between them?
  • Are there LGBTQ youth in your community that need resources? How can you provide them with assistance?

“We know how to solve Philly’s housing crisis. We just need to do it.” published by WHYY on July 31, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Homelessness and the economic housing disparity in Philadelphia are a systemic issue. What societal structures are in place that keep the homeless population from finding shelter, the poor neighborhoods from growing to prosperity, and the rich neighborhoods from diversifying?
  • A neighborhood is not only about housing but also culture, community, family, and support. How will developing neighborhood engagement create stronger neighborhoods?
  • What can you do to ensure that everyone in your community is sheltered?

HUNGER

Problem: Approx. 302,685 residents were food insecure from 2015-2017

System Challenge: End hunger in your community

Individual Challenge: End hunger for 1 person.

“The Love Lot: Where Step Up to the Plate offers free meals, live music, and medical attention to Kensington residents during COVID-19” published by Kensington Voice on July 7, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Volunteers at the Love Lot are helping people fill out stimulus applications. Why is creating a shared space to provide food, medical attention, and economic assistance so powerful in a community like Kensington?
  • How can you provide these services to someone in your community today?

“The People’s Kitchen at El Compadre serves free meals and social justice to those in need” published by the Philadelphia Inquirer on July 24, 2020.

Question/Action

  • The People’s Kitchen works to not only supply 1000 meals a week to Philly’s food insecure population, but it also runs a community garden and partners with organizations such as the Popular Alliance for Undocumented Workers’ Rights who help community members apply for worker relief aid. How is food a social, economic, racial, health, and environmental issue?
  • The People’s Kitchen wants the community to be involved in the growing, cooking, distributing, and enjoying of food. How can being intimately and collaboratively involved in eating together make a community more connected?
  • Can you volunteer with The People’s Kitchen or a similar organization in your community?

“Philly Restaurants Are Collecting Donations for the Next Everybody Eats Food Drive” published by Philly Eater on July 6, 2020.

Question/Action

  • The first Everybody Eats drive was started by only a few restaurants, but when word got around, many restaurants decided to join and provide free food to the community. How can taking action encourage those around you to take action as well?
  • What small steps can you take that could spur large scale change?

LIVING WAGE

Problem: The minimum wage is $7.25 per hour but the wage needed for basic living is $12.64.

System Challenge: Make sure everyone in your community or workplace has a living wage.

Individual Challenge: Help 1 person increase their wage to a living wage.

“Philly’s new $1.7 million fund helps cash economy workers left out of COVID stimulus” published by Billy Penn on July 9, 2020.

Question/Action

  • This article highlights Rufina Rodriguez who cleans houses for a living. What other cash workers were initially overlooked?
  • Do you know any cash economy workers that are struggling during this time? How can you help them individually and encourage your community to reach out to them?

“Rally Held In Center City Calling To Raise Wages For Tipped Service Workers” published by CBS Philadelphia on July 3, 2O2O.

Question/Action

  • Taking the demographic of tipped service workers into account, how does a below-minimum wage salary reinforce the gender and racial wage gaps?
  • As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, how do tipped service workers face even more economic pressure?
  • Can you raise the wage of a tipped service worker in your community? Can you be sure to give ample tips to tipped workers when they provide you a service?

RENEWABLE ENERGY

Problem: Philadelphia does not use 100% renewable energy but has committed to 100% renewable by 2035.

System Challenge: Ensure everyone in your community uses 100% renewable energy.

Individual Challenge: Stop using non-renewable energy.

“First Pennsylvania C-PACE Deal Inked: $1.5 Million of Energy and Water Efficiency Investments in Philadelphia” published by PR Newswire on July 20, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How can switching one development center to renewable energy encourage change in businesses across the city?
  • How is air pollution also an economic and racial issue?
  • What sustainable businesses in your community can you support to encourage commercial renewable energy use?

UNEMPLOYMENT

Problem: Philadelphia’s unemployment rate was 17.7% in June 2020.

System Challenge: End unemployment in your community.

Individual Challenge: End unemployment for 1 person.

“To create good jobs for Philadelphians, now is the time to do everything” published by Generocity on August 6, 2020.

Question/Action

  • The author of this article notes that while awareness of employment and economic issues in our community is the first step, it is meaningless without action. What actions can you take in your own life to improve Philadelphia’s local economy and quality of life for its workers? 
  • Can you buy more from local businesses? Can you encourage businesses in your community to purchase materials locally?

“Gig workers score a victory in Pa. Supreme Court ruling on Uber drivers’ unemployment benefits” published by the Philadelphia Inquirer on July 29, 2020.

Question/Action

  • The convenience of “gig” jobs makes them extremely popular as a second job for many. How do “self-contractor” laws, that prevent gig workers from collecting unemployment benefits, disproportionately affect already disadvantaged groups?
  • Besides Uber, what other gig workers do you encounter in your daily life? How can you do your part to help them survive without work or unemployment benefits?

“Yale study: COVID unemployment benefits didn’t stop people from seeking work” published by Penn Capital Star on July 29, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How can we as a society change our perception of unemployment to uplift and encourage workers?
  • How can you work to eradicate the unemployment stigma in your community?

VIOLENCE

Problem: There were 14,273 violent crimes in Philadelphia in 2018.

System Challenge: End violence in your community.

Individual Challenge: Stop using violence or get someone you know to stop using violence.

“Made by students, ‘Our Philadelphia’ offers a look at how boys talk about gun violence” published by Billy Penn on July 30, 2020.

Question/Action

  • What long term effects of witnessing gun violence as a child have on a person?
  • How can we address gun violence at its root?
  • How can this intimate look at youth gun violence change the public perception of a “violent criminal?”

“Op-Ed: The Need for a Fundamental Culture Change in Our Police Departments” published by NJ Spotlight on July 6, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Why is it necessary to use job promotions to incentivize offices to use nonviolence? Is it still considered a “progressive reform” if the officers have ulterior motives rather than a sense of moral goodness and responsibility?
  • Is reform enough to change the deep-rooted systemic issues in police departments? How can we ensure that these policies are enforced and regulated? 
  • Which policy do you think would be the most successful in reducing the use of force by police officers?

“At roundtable, Philly police talk gun violence solutions with families of murder victims” published by KYW on July 29, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How can engagement with community members and local PD officers, such as this roundtable, inspire trust between the public and law enforcement?
  • How can you bring your community members and community leaders together to create a space of open dialogue?

VOTING

Problem:  51% of registered voters voted in 2018.

System Challenge: Get all eligible voters in your community to vote in every election.

Individual Challenge:  Vote in every election or get 1 person you know who doesn’t vote to vote in every election. 

“Philly groups prepare to get out the vote in election year unlike any other” published by WHYY on July 25, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How does mail-in voting disproportionately disadvantage minorities and poor populations?
  • The polarity of the presidential candidates and the severity of our pandemic make this a critical and highly anticipated election. How can you increase voter turnout in your community?
  • Can you assist and educate your community with the mail-in ballot system to alleviate confusion and uncertainty?

“Pennsylvania’s voters deserve automatic voter registration before the 2020 election” published by the Philadelphia Inquirer on July 29, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Automatic Voter Registration would save our government a substantial amount of money through efficiency and streamlining government interaction. What other systems are in place in our country that could be updated to improve health and efficiency?
  • For many, the voting process is confusing, intimidating, and sometimes impenetrable. How would automating voter registration increase voter engagement?

Pivedite Team

1 Comment

  1. Sheila Fox on August 10, 2020 at 7:18 pm

    Incredible work !

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