Our faith will not allow us to permit the criminalization of black and brown folk or passively endure the stings of racism and bigotry. Our campaigns are the pathways that we've chosen to deconstruct institutions rooted in racism, prejudice, and hatred.
Many of the public and private systems that are meant to sustain families and communities do not work for too many Pennsylvanians. Our state has been knowingly underfunding public education for years, with minority districts bearing the brunt of the inequitable distribution of school funding for decades. Powerful corporate interests have forced too many Pennsylvania cities and towns to accept contracts that benefit profit margins but that impoverish workers and spoil local communities. Our criminal justice system continues to disproportionately lock up the poor and people of color, at enormous cost to taxpayers. Too many immigrants who come to our state seeking a better life for their families are forced to live in the shadows and have become a political football. And too many policymakers in Harrisburg and Washington seem determined to dismantle our health care safety net that nearly every Pennsylvania family relies on.
In response, POWER launched in 2011 with a bold moral vision to confront these injustices by bringing together thousands of Philadelphians across lines of race, class, neighborhood, faith tradition and other differences which have kept us divided. Our 5-point agenda – derived from hundreds and hundreds of conversations in congregations and communities across the city – focused first on increasing wages for outsourced workers on city contracts at the Philadelphia International Airport. Since then we have launched multiple campaigns, won several major victories at both the city and state levels, and expanded across southeastern Pennsylvania. In 2016, we built POWER-Metro which brings together people of faith in Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware and Chester Counties. In 2017 we laid the foundation for POWER-Central which organizes congregations and faith leaders in Lancaster, Lebanon, Dauphin and York Counties. Together, we are working both locally and at the state and federal levels on these campaigns:
Live Free Campaign for Criminal Justice Reform: Organizing faith leaders, people who’ve been involved in the criminal justice system, and their allies, to advocate for an end to criminal justice practices which disproportionately penalize and incarcerate the poor and people of color. Learn more.
Education Campaign: Organizing public school parents, teachers, people of faith and their allies to push the Pennsylvania legislature to fully and fairly fund public education across the state. Learn more.
Economic Dignity Campaign: Organizing people of faith, low-wage workers, and their allies, to promote living wage policies, and to promote workers’ rights to unionize, at both the municipal and state levels. Learn more.
Civic Engagement Campaign: Organizing voters from across all of Central Pennsylvania, Greater Philadelphia, and the Lehigh Valley so that their communities have a voice in government. Learn more.
Climate Justice Campaign: Organizing faith leaders to promote a just transition to a sustainable economy, holding energy corporations accountable for creating “green jobs” in communities that need them most. Learn more.