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Philadelphia’s Call to Action – July 2020

By Ella McCausland, Intern at Pivedite and David Sherwin, President at Pivedite

Hey Good People,

In case you weren’t aware, Pivedite is challenging the Philadelphia Region to end 10 social problems.

To raise awareness about this challenge, each month we will create a “Call to Action” article. Each article will:

  1. Focus on the specific social problems that need to end as indicated on our Call to Action page.
  2. Present our system and individual challenges for each problem.
  3. Highlight recent news articles that discuss solutions to these 10 problems.
  4. Have a question/action section so readers can think about how they can get involved.

Take a look at out our first monthly article below.

If anyone gets 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.

“PAYPAL CREATES $530 MILLION FUND TO HELP BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES” Chicago Defender, published June 17, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Could other companies and businesses create similar funds or use their platforms in other ways to support Philadelphia’s black-owned businesses?
  • How has Philadelphia’s history contributed to its persisting racial economic disparity? 
  • In what ways can you support local black-owned businesses?

“Black workers want library to address racism, safety” The Philadelphia Tribune, published June 27, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Do you think the library will agree to these demands?
  • What are other methods to pressure businesses to end discrimination in the workplace?
  • How can informing and engaging the public about this issue lead to positive change?

“Philly bail funds raise over $1.8 million as protests and marches roil the city”. Billy Penn, published June 2, 2020. 

Question/Action

  • Why is it important for peaceful protests to continue despite protestors being arrested?
  • What does the bail fund tell you about Philadelphia’s community determination?
  • Can you donate or get involved in this cause?

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.

“Penn Libraries and students aid in increasing literacy in Philadelphia elementary schools”. The Daily Pennsylvania, published June 29, 2020.

Question/Action

  • “Two thirds of Philadelphia fourth-graders cannot read at their grade level, making them less likely to graduate high school on time.” How can improving youth literacy in turn improve adult literacy?
  • How can you ensure those in your community have access to books?
  • Do you have books you can donate to book drives and free libraries?

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.

“Organizers Of Philadelphia’s Juneteenth Parade Partner With Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium For Free Testing”. CBS Philadelphia, published June 19, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Though Philadelphia’s 2020 Juneteenth Parade was cancelled, volunteers still provided free COVID-19 testing at the site. How are race and health connected?
  • How can we honor tradition and culture in new ways while giving back during this pandemic? 

“While COVID-19 is keeping people apart, Beyond the Seams found a way to maintain the fabric of their community”. Generocity, published June 22, 2020.

Question/Action

  • What other businesses could share their services to aid in COVID-19 relief?
  • How does Idalia Adan and Yasin Abdelsalam’s generosity inspire you to help others and ensure your community’s health? 

“Several Volunteer Groups Leading The Way For COVID-19 Testing In Parts Of Philadelphia”. CBS Philadelphia, published June 25, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Can you volunteer with or donate to a local organization providing free COVID-19 testing?
  • Are there other medical or health services that you or a group could provide to the public in this uncertain time?

HOMELESSNESS

Problem: Approx. 5700 people were homeless in 2018.

System Challenge: End homelessness in your community.

Individual Challenge: End homelessness for 1 person

“Philadelphians experiencing homelessness build protest encampment on Ben Franklin Parkway: ‘We all matter’”. The Philadelphia Inquirer, published June 12, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Do you think the encampment will successfully push the government to fund programs for homeless people?
  • How can Philadelphia’s community ensure that the government listens to its demands?
  • Can you think of any long-term solutions for Philadelphia’s homeless population?

“Philly rental evictions postponed for two more months due to pandemic”. WHYY, published July 3, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How important is shelter during a time of hardship?
  • How can we help Philadelphia’s residents whom get evicted, lose their shelter, and become homeless after COVID-19?

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.

“Philadelphia volunteers provide free food after looting forces closures”. ABC News, published June 9, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How have Philadelphia’s food deserts gotten worse?
  • Can you provide fresh produce to someone without access to it?

“This Norris Square volunteer program has delivered nearly 100,000 pounds of groceries”. Kensington Voice, published June 11, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Do you know someone in your community who is high risk for COVID-19? Can you help them by delivering their groceries or volunteer at a local food delivery organization?

“Philly School District Reveals Summer Meal, Camp Plans”. NBC Philadelphia, published June 11, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Why is providing student meals despite school shutdowns vital for many Philadelphia families?
  • Nutritious meals and outdoor activities are very important for developing kids. Can you provide this to a child in need in your community?

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 sanitation workers demand PPE and hazard pay; vigil for justice held in Trevose”. WHYY, published June 9, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Sanitary workers provide public services for all people, but are scarcely seen or acknowledged in daily life. Does this limited visibility contribute to why sanitary workers are not provided with adequate health standards or hazard pay?
  • How can you show your support for the sanitary workers in your life? 

“Philadelphia Expands Employment Protections for Domestic Workers”. Littler Publications, published June 10, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Is the racial and economic demographic of typical domestic workers in the U.S. a reason they did not have wages, contracts, and other employment protections until this bill?
  • How can you protect the rights of domestic workers that serve you? 

“Reform-Minded Philadelphia Restaurant Workers Call For Better Treatment Post-COVID”. Forbes, published July 3, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Will COVID-19 affect pay increases and benefits for workers in the future?
  • How can you support post-COVID living wage reform?

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.

“Downwind states vote to push Pa. coal plants to run air pollution controls”. Pittsburgh Post Gazette, published June 9, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How can we increase the use of air pollution control machines across the country?
  • What steps can you take to decrease your nonrenewable energy use?

“As Fossil Fuel Pipelines Fall to Opposition, Utilities See Renewable Energy as Safe Bet”. Green Tech Media, published July 6, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Are there environmental volunteer and policy groups you can contribute to in your area?
  • What other ways does nonrenewable energy production cause harm? How can you reduce this harm in your own life?

UNEMPLOYMENT

Problem: Philadelphia’s unemployment rate was 15% in May 2020.

System Challenge: End unemployment in your community.

Individual Challenge: End unemployment for 1 person.

“Pennsylvania Extends Unemployment Benefits for 13 More Weeks”. NBC Philadelphia, published July 1, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How can we ensure families and individuals in need still receive financial assistance after government benefits end?
  • Can you start an initiative to raise money in your neighborhood or online?

“Visit Philadelphia launches regional database of open tourism and hospitality jobs”. Philadelphia Business Journal, published July 6, 2020.

Question/Action

  • What are other ways to advertise job openings and opportunities broadly?
  • How can you share this database directly to those in critical need of income?
  • What other work sectors besides hospitality can we expect to see open positions?

“No paid internships? Group’s cash stipends help young Latinos during coronavirus pandemic”. NBC News, published July 6, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Why are paying positions vital for many Latino students in Philadelphia?
  • What other marginalized groups could benefit from cash stipends and grants during this time?
  • How can you help employ or financially support young people 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.

“Thousands Flood Ben Franklin Parkway in Anti-Racism, Police Violence Protests”. NBC Philadelphia, published June 6, 2020.

Question/Action

  • With Anti-Racism and Police Violence protests taking place globally, do you think change will be made?
  • Why are some anti-violence protests that start peaceful turning violent?
  • Be a part of this historic human rights movement–attend a protest, sign petitions, donate to bail-out and mutual aid funds, or spread awareness. 

“Philadelphia’s latest approach to reduce homicides and gun violence”. Al Dia News, published June 28, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How will reducing punishments for low-level crimes impact overall crime and incarceration rates?
  • Will Philadelphia PD have more success in controlling crime after implementing this approach and connecting with their communities?
  • How does a hostile relationship between law enforcement and civilians increase crime?

“Creative Healing Opens New Rittenhouse Square Location, Bringing Support Services to Center City Philadelphia Teens”. PR Newswire, published July 2, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How can providing free mental health services for youth decrease Philadelphia’s violent crime rates in the future?
  • Can you provide mental health counseling or other community activities like art classes and community gardens in your neighborhood to improve community engagement and positive stimulation for the youth?

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.

“Pa. nonprofits find voting problems in primary election to fix before November”. KYW News Radio, published June 9, 2020.

Question/Action

  • What changes could Pennsylvania make to improve their voting system in the time of COVID-19?
  • Can you volunteer with a nonprofit to demand voting reform? 

“Penn Leads the Vote and University create plan for 100% campus voter registration by 2028”. The Daily Pennsylvanian, published June 15, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Why is it vital to instill voter responsibility and excitement to vote in young people?
  • Do these students inspire you to support voter registration efforts in your community?
  • Can you create a system to follow up with community members through the voting cycle?

“Roots Picnic goes virtual with host Michelle Obama, hopes to reach voters” ABC News, published June 18, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How can you spread voter awareness in the time of COVID?
  • How can you connect and share interests with people to encourage them to vote?

Pivedite Team

1 Comment

  1. Sheila Fox on July 16, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Exciting ideas and problem solving!

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