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Philadelphia’s Call to Action – October 2020

Created by Ella McCausland, Intern at Pivedite


This post highlights news articles from September 2020. Review our Question/Action section 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.


Problem:  In 2019, 28% of Philadelphia’s registered voters voted.

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.

“Pennsylvania will allow mail-in ballots this election. Here’s all you need to know.” the Daily Pennsylvanian, published September 24, 2020.


  • How does the option of voting by mail make voting more accessible? Can the complexity of the mail-in ballot process also complicate the voting process?
  • Do you have a voting plan? Can you make sure everyone in your community has a voting plan?

“Philly rolls out its first ‘one-stop shop’ voting locations” WHYY, published September 29, 2020.


  • Can we expand these one-stop voting options to all voting sites in Pennsylvania?
  • How can you guarantee everyone in your community has the opportunity to vote? Can you register voters, provide information about voting, or provide transportation to the polls for community members?


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.

“Pa. lawmakers promote CROWN Act legislation banning discrimination against natural hair styles” Philadelphia Inquirer, published September 24, 2020.


  • How can anti-discriminatory laws create more business opportunities for minorities?
  • Can you identify other ways employers discriminate based on appearance? Does the expectation of “professional” presentation in the workplace target certain groups?
  • How can you ensure everyone in your community has employment opportunities, regardless of physical appearance and presentation?

“Should legalizing pot come with reparations? Advocates say yes — and so does PA’s governor” Billy Penn, published September 25, 2020.


  • How does the criminalization of marijuana disproportionately affect Black Americans and keep them in poverty?
  • Can you identify other institutions that create barriers for minority groups?
  • How can you ensure justice and reparations for all members of your community?

“After surviving a brutal attack, Kendall Stephens wants to help trans people citywide” Billy Penn, published September 8, 2020.


  • How can we prevent discrimination before it turns to violence? How can we amplify the voices of trans people before they become victims?
  • How can you advocate for transgender people in your community?


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 charter school launches “The Boys’ Latin Teaching Fellowship” to address the lack of Black male educators” 6ABC, published September 16, 2020.


  • Why is it important for students to see teachers who are the same race/ethnicity as them?
  • How can a program like The Boys’ Latin Teaching Fellowship create a lasting effect on West Philadelphia’s community?
  • Can you start or contribute to a program working towards similar goals in your community?

“Put the students in charge” Philadelphia Citizen, published September 14, 2020.


  • How can giving students an equal say in their education instill leadership, confidence, and self-advocacy in them?
  • How can you introduce aspects of the Philly Free School into your school district?

“Break the City Line education divide in Philadelphia” Workers World, published September 3, 2020.


  • How does the funding gap between Philadelphia city schools and suburb schools perpetuate the economic gap between the communities?
  • How can youth led movements such as Break the City Line create change?
  • Can you take action to ensure equal opportunities for students in your community?


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.

“The Virus and the City: The Answer is Local” Philadelphia Citizen, published September 18, 2020.


  • Why is participation in local government vital in controlling the damage of COVID-19?
  • Why is participation in local government often overlooked in favor of participation in national elections?
  • How can you ensure your local representatives make choices to protect your community from COVID-19?

“Contact tracing app tells Pennsylvanians if they’ve been exposed to coronavirus” Philadelphia Inquirer, published September 23, 2020.


  • Apps such as COVID Alert PA can be extremely useful, but they rely on willing participation of users. How can we encourage the public to utilize this app? What communities are excluded from this opportunity by the barriers of technology?
  • How is the digitization of healthcare both revolutionary for accessibility and exclusionary?
  • What other ways can technology be used to spread resources?

“Confronting period poverty and taboos in Philadelphia” Generocity, published September 4, 2020.


  • How do stigmas and taboos make it harder for low-income women to access menstrual products?
  • How can you ensure all women in your community have access to sanitary products?


Problem: Approx. 5700 people were homeless in 2018.

System Challenge: End homelessness in your community.

Individual Challenge: End homelessness for 1 person

“I live by the Parkway homeless encampment and see it offering public services, not nuisance | Opinion’”. The Philadelphia Inquirer, published September 16, 2020.


  • Why does media coverage often villainize social movements such as the Parkway encampment?
  • How can we create more transparency and foster a relationship between the owners of low-income housing and homeless residents?

“‘An Act of Thanks,’ North Philly community celebrates a win against gentrification.” Generocity, published September 8, 2020.


  • Why do proposed “low-income housing” bills exclude citizens living in poverty and push them further out of their communities?
  • How can you protect your community’s vulnerable citizens from gentrification?
  • Can you help to organize truly accessible low-income housing in your community?

“Philly housing activists declare victory, say city will place properties in community land trust” Billy Penn, published September 27, 2020.


  • How does the success of the encampment organizers display the power of grassroots social movements?
  • How can this housing victory inspire further social change in Philadelphia?
  • Can you identify organizer-led movements in your community that you can assist?


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.

“Using tech to meet food pantry needs in Philly’s Northeast” Generocity, published October 2, 2020.


  • What other tactics can be used to increase food accessibility and decrease food waste in food-insecure communities?
  • Can you introduce technology to food banks in your community to streamline food distribution?

“Philabundance CEO: Businesses can be part of the solution for food insecurity” Philadelphia Business Journal, published September 16, 2020.


  • Why is food security a community responsibility?
  • How can you encourage businesses in your community to advocate for and participate in food accessibility?


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.

“As workers grow desperate, Pa. lawmakers launch nation’s ‘most expansive minimum wage bill’” Philadelphia Inquirer, published September 30, 2020.


  • Why is providing all citizens a living wage a time sensitive issue?
  • Restaurant workers have continued working through the pandemic, yet still survive on tipped wages. How can we guarantee a living wage for all essential workers?


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.

“WITF’s ‘Toward Racial Justice’ panel links environmental justice with health, human rights and self-determination” NPR, published September 9, 2020.


  • How is environmental justice tied to economic and racial equality?
  • Solving our environmental crisis is a multi-step process involving education, advocacy, as well as direct action. How can you organize your community to improve your local environment?

“Philadelphia’s tree cover is vanishing. Here’s how you can help.” WHYY, published September 17, 2020.


  • How can you foster a sense of environmental responsibility in your community?
  • Can you organize your community members to plant trees in your town or neighboring communities in need of tree cover?


Problem: In Sep 2020, the unemployment rate in Philadelphia was 11.7%.

System Challenge: End unemployment in your community.

Individual Challenge: End unemployment for 1 person.

“PA unemployment update: Extra $300 Lost Wages Assistance to be paid in one lump sum” Billy Penn, published September 10, 2020.


  • Can you help eligible members of your community apply for Lost Wages Assistance?
  • How can you ensure those in your community have adequate funds to live despite unemployment and halted stimulus support?

“One of the keys to the Philadelphia Worker Relief Fund’s success was accessibility” Generocity, published September 25, 2020.


  • Who is excluded from government relief aid?
  • Can you raise funds in your community to help those in need?


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.

“‘A desperate plea for help’: Philly councilmember asks Kenney to declare gun violence emergency” WHYY, published September 3, 2020.


  • Will declaring a gun violence emergency prompt federal intervention and rehabilitation, or will it increase alienation and lead to more violence?
  • Why is it important for government programs to be transparent about their actions?

“To Combat Philadelphia Gun Violence, We Must Dismantle the Office of Violence Prevention” Philly Mag, published September 9, 2020.


  • How could the Office of Violence Prevention’s budget be redistributed to programs that would provide meaningful change in Philadelphia?
  • Can you think of alternative methods of controlling gun violence and preventing it at its root? Can you help provide these resources in your community?
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