How Will We Treat the “Least” Among Us?

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by: Fabricio Rodriguez How will we treat the “least” among us? How will we treat Comcast? Paula Paul, quoted the the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me,” as we stood in the City Council-Caucus Room. Paula was pointing out this New Testament passage as short hand for the lesson that Jesus Christ was teaching in his parable. The lesson was…

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An Echo of Shofar

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A d’var Torah for Parashat VaYera by Rabbi Annie Lewis At the end of June, my husband and I took our daughter, Zohar, to Harrisburg. She was six months old at the time. We each put on a tallit (the baby’s was a black onesie screen-printed with an image of a tallit) and gathered in a tent on the Capitol steps along with rabbis, cantors and members of Jewish communities across Pennsylvania. We joined people from other Philadelphia faith communities as part…

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Pope Francis on the Spirituality of Organizing: Reflections of a Catholic POWER member

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by Mary Laver, St Vincent de Paul parish POWER co-leader This summer, I had a conversation about Pope Francis that I’m still thinking about, with a woman I know in my parish’s sister-city in El Salvador. Maura lived through the civil war there 25 years ago and despite the agony of having 3 of her children kidnapped, helped form a group of former freedom-fighters into a strong community. I shared my excitement with her about Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia…

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Racial Bias in Governor Wolf’s Proposed Funding of Public Schools

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Click here for a PDF version of the report. by David Mosenkis, April 2015 On March 3, Governor Wolf announced his proposed budget for the next fiscal year. The governor’s budget includes an overall 7% increase in Basic Education Funding (BEF), the main line item for classroom spending for K-12 public education.  But the governor’s proposed breakdown of funding to school districts perpetuates an existing pattern of racial disparity in school funding. A study published last October demonstrated systematic racial…

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What Philly Police Need to Learn From Moses (and Why We Need a Fully Empowered Police Review Board)

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by Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann Brandon Tate-Brown, a 26 year-old African-American man, was, according to his mother and friends, finally putting his life back together. After spending some time in jail for aggressive behaviors, he was trying to rehabilitate himself — working at a new job and finally moving into an apartment of his own.  On December 15, 2014, Brandon Tate-Brown was killed by a police officer in Philadelphia. The police said they pulled Brown over because the headlights of…

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Prayer for the “White Me”

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Prayer offered by Rev. Robin M .Hynicka, Senior Pastor Arch Street United Methodist Church on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 for the “Strange Fruit: The Seven last Words of Seven Black Lives” Interfaith Service sponsored by POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower and Rebuild).Click here to to listen to an audio recording of the full event.  The Reverend, Dr. Mark Tyler, Senior Pastor, Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church invited me to offer the Christian prayer tonight. That invitation led to…

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We Are in a “Kairos” Moment

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by Rev. Ernest Flores, December 5, 2014 Second Baptist Church of Germantown Long ago, the prophet Amos declared the word of the Lord against nations that “trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth and push the afflicted out of the way…those who oppress the poor, who crush the needy.” (Amos 2:7) We are seeing it in the streets, hearing it in the pews of our churches, our mosques and synagogues: people have had enough of…

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Racial Bias in Pennsylvania’s Funding of Public Schools

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by David Mosenkis POWER Leader from Germantown Jewish Centre October, 2014 (last updated 11/13/2014*) Pennsylvania is currently one of only three states in the U.S. that does not use a formula to determine how to distribute funding to its school districts.  This lack of a funding formula raises questions about potential biases in the allocation of funding to districts.  An analysis of enrollment, demographics, and basic education funding of Pennsylvania’s 501 public school districts reveals dramatically higher per-student funding in…

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Money Matters: A Full, Fair Funding Formula is Essential to Racial Justice in Pennsylvania

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An Open Letter to the Pennsylvania State Legislature from POWER by Sheila Armstrong, Drick Boyd, and Margaret Ernst Last week, several Philadelphia clergy members of the interfaith organization POWER witnessed a powerful movement for racial equality grow in Ferguson, MO. Following the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, our clergy colleagues travelled to Missouri to call for justice and listen to a community in grief. They marched non-violently with thousands of black youth asking for fair treatment from law…

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Called to Serve, Shaped by Experience: POWER Honors Councilman Wilson Goode, Jr

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At POWER’s first gala fundraiser this Thursday, we will honor Councilman Wilson Goode, Jr with an award to thank him for his leadership towards economic and social justice in Philadelphia.  Our organizer Fabricio Rodriguez sat down with the Councilman to learn more about his life, his faith, and his dreams for his city. Here’s what he learned. — Councilman Wilson Goode, Jr has been the primary sponsor of some of the most impactful economic justice legislation in Philadelphia City Council…

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