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: