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Philadelphia’s Call to Action – September 2020

Created by Ella McCausland, Intern at Pivedite

INTRO

This post highlights news articles from July, August, and 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.

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.

“Beyond the slogan: Putting Black Lives Matter into practice in philanthropy.” Generocity, published August 11, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How can we share the “joy in struggle” when we focus on intersectional and racially diverse social solutions?
  • This article mentions the necessity to look at issues through the lived experiences of citizens and not just through data and theory. Would your opinions change if you took a more humanistic view of the issue?
  • How can you push yourself to engage with those experiencing discrimination to better understand their true struggles?

“Philadelphia Black and Jewish leaders come together to clear the air, work on solutions.” Billy Penn, published August 25, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How does systemic racism in the United States perpetuate tension between minority groups?
  • How can we learn from the NAACP and Philadelphia’s Jewish organizations who came together to discuss their differences and work towards collaborative solutions?
  • Are there groups in your community that have unresolved issues and could benefit from open dialogue? How can you facilitate this dialogue?

“Advocates seek to change school names with racist histories.” WHYY, published August 5, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Are these demands truly beneficial to fighting educational racism? Are there more pressing changes that could be made to combat racism in schools today?
  • Alternatively, do you think it is vital to address the micro-racisms to move forward with broader racial equality?
  • What micro-racisms can you identify in your community and how can you combat them?

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.

“How to help students and teachers now.” The Philadelphia Citizen, published August 31, 2020.

Question/Action

  • What other hidden hurdles will children and teachers have to navigate in this new era of online learning?
  • How can you spread resources like these to your community and engage your neighbors in your local school system?

“Students of color offer solutions to make Pa. public universities more equitable.” Spotlight PA, published August 6, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How can implementing an inclusive and racially-aware curriculum in Philly’s schools have a positive effect on student engagement, literacy, graduation rates, etc.?
  • How can you promote and empower the voices of the youth in your community?

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.

“You can now get 15-minute coronavirus test results in Philly: Here’s what to know.” Billy Penn, published August 26, 2020

Question/Action

  • Who can benefit from the rapid COVID testing options? What are some issues with this option?
  • How might the rapid testing option entice people to seek testing who would normally not get a COVID test?

“Not Everyone in Philly Has Access to Pads and Tampons. That’s a Problem.” Philly Mag, published July 29, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Do you think menstrual care products are a human right? How do we decide which resources should be available to everyone, regardless of the ability to purchase them?
  • What other healthcare products do we take for granted that many may not be able to afford? How can you distribute these products or ensure that everyone in your community has access to proper sanitary products?
  • Why is it important to spread awareness about organizations like No More Secrets and their missions?

“Outdoor Philly mask use nearly doubles in August, in-store face coverings top 95%” Billy Penn, published September 9, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Why was this campaign successful?
  • Temple University students brought a wave of COVID cases to North Philly at the end of August. How can we engage students and temporary residents of Philadelphia to care about the health of the community?
  • What initiatives can you start in your community to encourage civic health responsibility and increase mask use?

HOMELESSNESS

Problem: Approx. 5700 people were homeless in 2018.

System Challenge: End homelessness in your community.

Individual Challenge: End homelessness for 1 person

“The protest encampments — and the housing crisis they represent — aren’t going away” Generocity, published August 19, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How is the media rhetoric from Mayor Kenney and the Philadelphia Housing Authority a direct threat to the homeless residents of the encampments?
  • In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, why is immediate, permanent, and accessible housing vital for Philadelphia’s houseless population?
  • For many, it is difficult to understand the presence of these encampments without engaging directly with the vulnerable community that they assist. Can you volunteer at the grass-roots level for homeless organizations in your community and encourage others to get involved directly?

“Encampment residents file restraining order as mayor, council members negotiate fate of protest settlements.” WHYY, published August 17, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Why are homeless shelters no longer a viable housing option for many of Philadelphia’s houseless citizens? How do other solutions proposed by the city and PHA fall short?
  • Kelvin Jeremiah, president and CEO of PHA, says in this article that the Ridge Avenue encampment delayed the $52 million deal to build a shopping center at the site that would include a Save-A-Lot and an urgent care. How does this statement distract from the actions of PHA and move blame off of the organization?
  • Are there issues in your community that put the demand for human rights against the agendas of corporations, business deals, and other powerful players? What can you do to bring justice for vulnerable populations or to help opposing groups compromise?

“Why moving people into vacant PHA homes isn’t a solution to Philly’s housing crisis – Opinion.” WHYY, published August 5, 2020.

Question/Action

  • This article, written by Philadelphia Housing Authority CEO and president Kelvin Jeremiah, voices the opinion of PHA as the war for housing in Philadelphia rages on. Do you believe, as a federally funded independent organization, PHA should not be expected to offer relief to the homeless residents of the city it develops?
  • How can we hold powerful organizations accountable for their actions that affect the vulnerable and poor members of our communities?
  • If placing homeless people into thousands of vacant units owned by PHA is not an option, how can we utilize other spaces in Philadelphia to aid those who were pushed out of their homes in the first place?

HUNGER

Problem: In Philadelphia, 12% of people are food insecure. In North Philly, 30% of people are food insecure.

System Challenge: End hunger in your community

Individual Challenge: End hunger for 1 person.

“How do you make sure people still get food?” Philadelphia Citizen, published July 29, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How is Philabundance’s approach unique in the way it addresses the intersectionality of hunger?
  • Why is Philabundance’s work so vital at a time like this?
  • Loree Jones mentions that during the early stages of COVID in Philadelphia, she noticed the price of food supplies increased to unattainable prices. How does this have an effect on Philadelphia’s poor residents, as well as, organizations assisting in hunger relief?
  • How can you ensure every person in your community has access to affordable food?

“Philadelphia Cream Cheese Launches the Easiest Fundraiser on National Cheesecake Day.” Perishable News, published August 3, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Do you think this initiative by Philadelphia Cream Cheese will encourage other large companies to use their platforms and funds to address hunger?
  • Can you utilize the “matching” aspect of Philadelphia Cream Cheese’s fundraiser to raise funds or food for your community?

LIVING WAGE

Problem: The minimum wage is $7.25 per hour but the living wage for 1 adult with 0 children is $12.45.

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.

“Opinion: Time to raise the minimum wage.” Philadelphia Tribune, published August 14, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Minimum wage began as a program to aid everyone during the Great Depression. Why now is the minimum wage not a true living wage in America?
  • Why do black and brown people disproportionately feel the negative effects of a below-liveable minimum wage?
  • Will you hold the businesses that you shop at accountable for the wage they pay their workers?

“Philadelphia announces enforcement date for ban on salary history questions.” ABC, published August 6, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How do salary history questions further perpetuate work discrimination and keep low-income workers from advancing?
  • What can you do in your community to ensure qualified applicants get equal opportunities regardless of wage history?

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.

“Environmentalist lauds N.J. bill restricting phosphorus in cleaning products”. WHYY, published August 29, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How does phosphorus pollution negatively impact our oceans’ ecosystems and health?
  • Can you use natural cleaning products in your home to reduce water pollution?

“Meet the Startup Founders Fighting Food Waste, One Avocado at a Time.” Philly Mag, published August 26, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How does Seed Brew promote a minimum-waste lifestyle in individuals? How could it spur a trend of zero-waste products in the food industry?
  • How could reducing food waste reduce climate change?
  • Can you reduce your own food waste?

“First solar project to use C-PACE in Pennsylvania.” Energy Global, published August 20, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How can this project engage the community and encourage more movement towards sustainable energy use?
  • How can you organize your community to hold companies accountable for their carbon emissions? How can you be more mindful of your community’s carbon emissions?

UNEMPLOYMENT

Problem: In July 2020, the unemployment rate in Philadelphia was 19.6%.

System Challenge: End unemployment in your community.

Individual Challenge: End unemployment for 1 person.

“Black Americans worry postal changes could disrupt history of secure jobs.” WHYY, published August 31, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How will the suppression of the US Postal Service affect those left unemployed? How will it disproportionately affect African Americans?
  • Beyond job loss, what are the racial and social implications of the president’s plan to privatize the postal service?
  • How can you support the US Postal Service and those who rely on it?

“Unemployed Pennsylvania residents to receive additional $300 per week.” Philly Voice, published August 25, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How is the FEMA grant unemployment program both a lifeline for unemployed Pennsylvanians, as well as, a failure of the Federal Government to respond to their needs?
  • Can you help unemployed neighbors in your community find work?

VIOLENCE

Problem: There were 15,098 violent crimes in Philadelphia in 2019, a 5% increase from 2018.

System Challenge: End violence in your community.

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

“Philly youth rally, cry for peace in neighborhoods plagued by gun violence.” WHYY, published August 30, 2020.

Question/Action

  • A major issue with gun violence is the killing of innocent Philadelphians, many in their youth, who are caught in the crossfire of shootings. How do traditional gun violence initiatives fall short by not reaching the perpetrators of the violence?
  • Gun violence is an issue that has persisted for decades in Philadelphia, and the seemingly endless nature of this cycle may discourage people from seeking solutions. How can we re-engage community members to become active and incite hope for a less violent future?
  • What can you do to support community initiatives to fight gun violence?

“As gun violence increases, Philly’s latest strategy could stop the bleeding — but only if done carefully | Editorial.” Philadelphia Inquirer, published August 11, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Why hasn’t funding for “violence interrupters” and police worked to curb gun violence in Philadelphia in the past?
  • The article explains the new gun violence initiative, Group Violence Intervention or GVI, as “a much-needed Band-Aid” but not a long-term solution. Is it better to invest in a shorter-term solution with faster measurable results, or a longer term solution that will work to unravel gun violence at the root? How do we balance the need for both of these types of programs?
  • Do you have any ideas for solutions that would be less invasive and more effective than GVI?

“To stop shootings, young people say Philly must confront the ‘status and money’ guns can bring.” Philadelphia Tribune, published August 25, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How is gun violence rooted in generational poverty and systemic racism? Why is it important to make the voices of the young black male community heard when discussing the issue of gun violence?
  • The article suggests implementing more social workers in schools, ensuring equal opportunities for all races, and bringing outreach groups together for a common goal. Can you work towards making these implementations in your own community?

VOTING

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.

“Major Black, Jewish civil rights orgs teaming up for Philly voter outreach.” WHYY, published August 31, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Why is the collaboration between the National Urban League, a Black civil rights organization, and the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights organization, relevant and revolutionary in Philadelphia’s current political and social climate?
  • Can you empower minority groups, especially youth, in your community to engage in the voting system?

“‘Stand up for democracy’: Philly to host poll worker recruitment drive.” WHYY, published August 31, 2020.

Question/Action

  • Young people are uniquely equipped with the ability to navigate social networks and share information broadly and quickly. How can encouraging civic engagement and involvement among young people lead to higher voter turnout in future elections?
  • Can you host a similar event in your area or volunteer as a poll worker?

“Philly and the suburbs want to set up extra election offices for a new kind of early voting.” Philadelphia Inquirer, published August 10, 2020.

Question/Action

  • How does this voting option allow the best of both worlds for people who feel uncomfortable voting in person on election day during the pandemic but also do not want to vote by mail?
  • Could this voting option become a permanent part of elections? What are other new avenues that we could implement in the voting system and other government systems to ensure maximum civic participation?

Pivedite Team

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