The 2023 People’s Platform for a Just Philadelphia

 A vision for our city that prioritizes communities over corporations and centers the needs of all Philadelphians.

The People’s Platform

As people who live and work in the City of Philadelphia, we are grounded in the impact that our elected officials, particularly Philadelphia’s City Council and Mayor, have on our everyday lives. The 2023 People’s Platform for a Just Philadelphia is a vision for our city that prioritizes communities over corporations and centers the needs of all Philadelphians, especially Black and brown, immigrant, refugee, poor and working class residents who bear the brunt of systemic neglect. 

We have a vision of a city where everyone can thrive and where safety is something tangible we can feel, not an empty promise. In order for this vision to be real, it means our elected leaders must do what’s necessary to invest in the services and public institutions we all need while divesting from the broken systems that harm our communities. This framework means that we don’t merely put a bandaid on the symptoms, but deeply address the root causes of the challenges our city faces. We need elected officials who will stand with us in our vision for a Just Philadelphia. What does a safe and thriving Philadelphia that belongs to us look like?  

We believe in and are ready to fight for:

An Economy for All

Everyone deserves the highest quality public services, yet we’re constantly told there’s no money to fund the city that we deserve. Our city budget is disproportionately funded by working class Philadelphians and, after decades of underpaying, it is time that the wealthiest residents pay what they owe to Philadelphia. Taxes are an investment in our city, and we demand that the City enact progressive revenue policies that require corporations, the ultra-rich and universities to pay what they owe to fund our communities.

Policy Priorities:

City Council must:

  • Pass the Philly Wealth Tax
  • End tax giveaways to Big Corporations and the ultrarich (e.g. like cutting the Business Income and Revenue Tax)
  • Repeal the 10-year tax abatement for luxury housing
  • Fully fund and make permanent the Office of Workforce Development to provide training for family-sustaining jobs

The Mayor must:

  • Enact payment in lieu of taxes (PILOTS) for wealthy non-profits
  • Fund a Philadelphia public bank to help local business and community development

Justice for All

Everyone deserves safety, dignity, and the ability to thrive in their communities, yet Black and Brown communities instead face a gun violence crisis that steals our young peoples’ futures alongside incarceration and trauma from unaccountable police and courts systems. We know that more police and more cages has not made our society less violent – yet our city continues to pour money into a police department that fails to protect and serve our communities and neglects the social services and public goods that actually create safety we can feel. There is endless research that connects quality healthcare, good paying jobs, community green space, and stable housing to reducing community violence. . We demand investments in communities, not incarceration – and a true reimagining of public safety that centers on meeting people’s needs and creating a culture of accountability within our communities and across every institution.

Policy Priorities:

City Council must:

  • Fund more community-based, non-carceral solutions to the gun violence crisis
  • Fully fund mobile crisis team expansion and create more alternatives to policing
  • Fund restorative justice solutions to anti-Asian violence and ensure proper language access

The Mayor must:

  • Reduce our jail population by 50%
  • End Stop and Frisk
  • Work with DBHIDS to ensure proper expansion and implementation of Mobile Crisis Units 
  • Redirect resources from policing to services that keep us safe such as housing, after school programs,  violence interrupters and credible messengers, and mental health resources– prioritizing the zip codes most impacted by gun violence

Land & Housing for All

Everyone deserves an affordable, accessible, safe, healthy place to live– regardless of their race, class, or neighborhood. Our City has a legacy of adopting policies that have damaged Black and Brown communities especially in areas where families have limited economic
resources. While the pandemic has changed the world for everyone, it has clearly compounded the structural injustice that too many poor, disabled, and working families experience. Community open space and gardens are quickly being lost to profit-driven development; renters aren’t being protected from careless landlords; and homeowners are struggling to maintain older homes. We demand that our City prioritize long-term affordability that withstands development pressure, prioritizes land for community needs, and reduces displacement of communities.

Policy Priorities:

City Council must:

  • Prioritize city land and money for permanently affordable developments – both new developments and preserving existing affordable housing
  • Expand funding for housing first opportunities for persons experiencing homelessness 
  • Prioritize Black and Brown working class residents over predatory landlords and developers by:
    • Enacting rent control for residential and commercial renters
    • Strengthen Just Cause Eviction legislation
    • Make the Eviction Diversion program permanent
  • Invest in home repair, weatherization, and housing efficiency
  • Create a line item in the city budget for Urban Agriculture to fund neighborhood driven food hubs, gardens,  green spaces, and programming
  • Reform or replace the Land Bank to make it more possible for community groups to take ownership of vacant lots, green spaces, and homes
  • Stop the Philadelphia 76ers from developing a stadium in Chinatown

The Mayor must:

  • Work with OHS to implement a Housing First shelter system and establish short-term non-congregate shelter
  • Enforce the existing Land Bank and establish accountability and transparency by ensuring that the Land Bank publishes sales information in real time and accessible on their website both before and after transactions
  • Stop the Philadelphia 76ers from developing a stadium in Chinatown

Education for All

We deserve quality, fully and fairly funded schools that transform the lives of Black, Brown and working class young people, their families , district staff , school communities and neighborhoods by addressing their needs and desires. However, for decades, our school communities have been forced to do more with less, facing underfunding, understaffing, decaying school buildings, and curriculums that don’t reflect our communities. It’s been five years since the City of Philadelphia took back local control of our schools – yet still the School District, City Hall and Harrisburg have constantly pointed fingers at each other without giving our young people what they deserve. We demand that the Mayor and City Council take on responsibility for our schools and use all their powers to make our schools accountable, representative and transparent, to empower youth, to protect our students through sanctuary policies and getting police out of schools, to halt charter expansion, to invest in healthy schools and to tax the rich to fund the change we need.

Policy Priorities:

City Council must:

  • Earmark School District funding to immediately clean up toxic schools & ensure that all schools become healthy, safe, and fossil free
  • Earmark School District funding for recruitment and retention of staff of color
  • Support the establishment and continued expansion of Sanctuary Schools policy for newcomer and/or immigrant youth and families
  • Generate revenue for schools by taxing the rich

The Mayor must:

  • Support reforms and practices to make the School Board more transparent, representative, and accountable
  • Appoint people for the School Board who support an alternative approach to safety that doesn’t criminalize young people
  • Both through the Mayor’s Office and through the selection of School Board members, prioritize toxic school clean up; recruitment & retention of staff of color; and expanding the Sanctuary Schools policy
  • Appoint School Board members who will halt charter expansion
  • Support proposals to tax the rich to fund our schools

Environmental Justice for All

Everyone deserves a healthy, livable climate and clean environment. But big climate polluters have profited, but poisoned our bodies and heated up the planet, while those who have contributed the least suffer most from the consequences. Meanwhile, decades of disinvestment and unaccountable development have left many working class Philadelphians with unhealthy homes and school buildings, crumbling infrastructure, and trash-strewn streets. To protect and heal our communities in the midst of a climate emergency, we demand that City officials invest in transforming our buildings, utilities, streets, and waste systems, require an urgent shift away from fossil fuels, and plan for a livable future.

Policy Priorities:

City Council must:

  • Expand funding for “Built to Last” and related programs to provide home repairs, weatherization, fossil-free heating, cooling, and solar panels for low and moderate income Philadelphians, along with green workforce development. 
  • Enact legislative accountability measures to hold Hilco accountable for negotiating a Community Benefits Agreement and executing a plan for green development on Hilco/ PES Refinery site prohibiting any fossil fuel infrastructure being built on the redeveloped land. All construction should use modern green technology. 
  • Require PGW to produce budgets and business plans that match the City’s climate goal for rapidly phasing out fossil fuels, with transparent processes that allow full public participation, while guaranteeing that all Philadelphians can afford the energy they need and creating good union jobs.
  • Pass, Enact and fund the Community Health Act, introduced by CM Helen Gym
  • Enact policies and initiatives to end dumping in our neighborhoods forever and ensure prompt and efficient Citywide waste collection for ALL residents to achieve zero waste, ending the need for incineration or landfills by 2035.

The Mayor must:

  • Appoint people to the Philadelphia Facilities Management Corporation and Philadelphia Gas Commission  who will require PGW to produce budgets and business plans that match the City’s goal for rapidly phasing out fossil fuels, while guaranteeing that all Philadelphians have access to the energy they need at rates they can afford and creating good union jobs.

Good Jobs for All

Everyone deserves a stable job with family sustaining wages, free of intimidation or harassment, regardless of their employment status. For far too many Philadelphians this is not the case. We demand that the City enact and fully fund policies that protect the rights of Philadelphia’s workers and ensure a safe and well-paid workspace.

Policy Priorities:

City Council must:

  • Pass legislation to create enhanced protections for workers experiencing retaliation, backlash, and other adverse actions when they advocate for their labor rights protected by the law. This includes increased penalties on abusive employers and mandates action from the Office of Worker Protections  
  • Fully fund Office of Worker Protections  to enforce pro-worker ordinances and also enforce minority participation rules and regulations
  • Support workers fighting to unionize and win a fair contract.
  • Amend existing business support programs to include and incentivize worker coops
  • Invest in training and paid internships for disconnected youth, specifically 18-25 years old, to enter the job market and gain soft and technical skills that industries demand 

Health for All

Everyone deserves to thrive, and that is only possible when everyone has access to affordable and robust healthcare. However, most people struggle to afford the care they need to, and often avoid seeking care because of costs and because mental health services and reproductive care are often not covered. We demand City officials protect our communities right to reproductive, mental health, and harm reduction services while advancing the fight for Medicare for All.

Policy Priorities:

City Council must:

  • Expand & ensure language access to police-free mental health support programs for individuals at their level of desired support.
  • Support the creation of a community health worker program led by active drug users and sex workers, who will work to connect those communities to the care they need.
  • Support and expedite the implementation and sustainability of community based overdose prevention services to persons who use drugs. 
  • Pass Reproductive Freedom Platform legislation that defends abortion access and protecting community members, healthcare providers, and anyone seeking reproductive care

Public Services for All

Everyone deserves the highest quality public services, yet we’re constantly told there’s no money to fund the city that we deserve. Our city budget is disproportionately funded by working class Philadelphians and, after decades of underpaying, it is time that the wealthiest residents pay what they owe to Philadelphia. Taxes are an investment in our city, and we demand that the City enact progressive revenue policies that require corporations, the ultra-rich and universities to pay what they owe to fund our communities.

Policy Priorities:

City Council must:

  • Increase funding to the Free Library of Philadelphia by an increase of $15M each year to ensure full staffing, access to safe buildings, robust programs and services, and 6 day a week hours and access to library services for all Philadelphians. 
  • Increase funding to Parks and Recreation Centers by $55 million or  to ensure at least two full-time staff members at every recreation center
  • Fully fund city pools other community institutions to pre-2008 financial crisis levels

The Mayor must:

  • Target investments in city services like sanitation and clean up, parks and recreation centers, libraries and more in a just way – by prioritizing Black, Brown and poorer neighborhoods with a history of disinvestment
  • Co-create with community members a strategic plan, that includes multi-lingual outreach, so that families can access free and low-cost summer programming and activities

Sanctuary for All

All people deserve to live free from fear, and in peace. However, our immigrant, refugee and undocumented community continues to live day to day in fear of ICE detention, raids, and deportation. We demand that our elected officials continue to adhere to their commitment for Philadelphia to be a Sanctuary City; and ensure that our limited English proficient neighbors have full access to all city agencies and services.

Policy Priorities:

City Council must:

  • Ensure language access supports in all city agencies – including budgets – that focus on achieving language access, proper training for staff, and emphasis on hiring bilingual staff across all city agencies
  • Establish Pennsylvania Immigrant Family Unity Project (PAIFUP) as permanently funded program

The Mayor must:

  • Continue and expand commitment to Sanctuary City Policy 
  • Explicitly and permanently cut all relationship with ICE

Democracy for All

All Philadelphians, whether voters or candidates, deserve to have free and fair elections where we count every vote and make sure every voice is heard. However, the act of voting remains inaccessible to residents who don’t speak English and our options for candidates are limited to those who can afford the high costs of running a campaign against opponents who receive large contributions from big businesses, developers, and political action groups invested in greed. Because we live in a majority Black and brown city, Philadelphians have faced voter suppression and intimidation, inaccessibility and attempts to stop our votes from being counted. We demand that the process of voting, running for office and participating in electoral policy making is equally possible for every Philadelphian.

Policy Priorities:

City Council must:

  • Establish a Public Election Fund (PEF), a public financing program for local elections to encourage greater voter participation, increase opportunities for residents to run for office, and reduce the influence of large contributions

The Mayor must:

  • Ensure that the board of elections and city commissioners continue to expand language access for all voters & increase voter protection

Alliance for a Just Philadelphia

The 2023 People’s Platform for a Just Philadelphia was developed by the Alliance for a Just Philadelphia with input from Philadelphia community members during our 2022 People’s Assembly.

215 People’s Alliance
ACT UP
Action Center on Race and Economy
ADAPT/ Disabled In Action
Amistad Law Project
Asian Americans United
Black Lives Matter Philly
Caucus of Working Educators
Coalition to End Death by Incarceration
Juntos
Movement Alliance Project
One Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance

Philadelphia Community Bail Fund
Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks
POWER
Philadelphia Student Union
Philly Thrive
Project Safe
Reclaim Philadelphia
Red Umbrella Alliance
Soil Generation
The Organizing Center
Vietlead
Working Families Organization

Would your organization like to support the 2023 People’s Platform?
Let us knowComplete the Organizational Sign On.

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