Change is Here: A Record Number of Progressives are now on ballot for State Legislature

As the midterm elections inch closer, the progressive tsunami approaches; a dream come true for good government activists and a nightmare for far right special interests. The wave of progressive enthusiasm and engagement is unprecedented with a record number of motivated citizens looking to make their mark in Pennsylvania.

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Now Hiring: Community Organizer

Americans for Democratic Action Organizers Needed in Southeastern Pennsylvania!

ADA is looking for energetic self-starters to run local legislative, political, and community-based campaigns.  Candidates should have previous organizing experience in issue or candidate campaigns and a desire to help promote a progressive agenda. Local ties a plus. This is a unique opportunity to play an integral role in a dynamic project at a unique time in American history. The position reports directly to the ADA National Field Director.

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A potentially powerful new coalition:

Center: Steve Paul, Chair Democratize Philly

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Martin Luther King Day than to encourage citizens committed to racial, gender and economic justice to become involved in the political process. Today the members of Americans for Democratic Action Southeastern PA (ADA), the Caucus of Working Educators, Neighborhood Networks, Philadelphia Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), Moving Philly Forward, Philadelphia Chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), Philly for Change, Reclaim Philadelphia, and United Voices for Philadelphia announced the formation of Democratize Philly, a coalition initiated by ADA and chaired by Steve Paul. From the press release posted on the coalition’s website:

We are announcing the formation of Democratize Philly, a coalition of progressive organizations seeking to recruit and support progressive candidates to run for Committeeperson who are committed to the values of social, economic, racial, and gender justice. Our mission is to increase democratic participation, voter turnout, and transparency in Philadelphia’s political process.

We come together around this mission because we believe that a healthy democracy is built on the political participation of all its citizens. Unfortunately, voter turnout has continued to be dismally low in Philadelphia. Last November was a stark reminder of that reality with barely 20% of Philadelphia voters turning out to vote.

A consensus has emerged that our one-party town can no longer afford an undemocratic Democratic Party. The current closed, top-down party structure disintegrating into competing factions is not working. 2018 provides an opportunity for political change -- engaged committeepersons can be a powerful force, educating voters about candidates and about the democratic process.

Some highlights from the press conference:

Numa St Louis from United Voices for Philadelphia emphasized the contributions of immigrants to our society and urged recent immigrants to become engaged in the political process.

Amy Roat and Luigi Borda from the Caucus of Working Educators: We “encourage educators, parents, and public school advocates to do more by becoming an elected committee person this spring. With active members in every section of Philadelphia we are uniquely positioned to help make real change. Our goal is to do the work necessary to hold politicians accountable to provide the children of Philadelphia with the schools they deserve.”

Margaret Lenzi from Neighborhood Networks: “Unfortunately, the Philadelphia Democratic Party as it’s now constituted, is a failure at its core function of getting out the vote for candidates who have our back. That’s why it’s so important for progressive Democrats to become committee people in 2018, an opportunity that won’t arise again for four years. NN’s Committee Person Project provides training, resources and assistance to progressives who want to run for Committee Person in 2018.”

Grace Palladino from Philadelphia NOW: "2018 will be the Year of the Woman, and the National Organization for Women is thrilled to be a place where female candidates can come to get support, a platform, resources, and encouragement. I believe Donald Trump has awoken a sleeping giant, and the awe-inspiring potential of women working together is being revealed across this nation. If you are a female or feminist candidate looking for support, please reach out to NOW’s Philadelphia chapter today. We are here for you.

Center: Grace Palladino from Philadelphia NOW
Center: Grace Palladino from Philadelphia NOW

Many thanks to Emma Restrepo for a video of the press conference highlighting the speeches of Amy Roat, Luigi Borda, and Margaret Lenzi.

For decades progressives have worked to make the Philadelphia Democratic Party more democratic, more transparent. See my account of this activity in Green Shoots of Democracy in the Philadelphia Democratic Party. I think we have finally reached the critical mass of progressive activists we need for real change. Interest in the committeeperson races is far greater than I have ever seen with more organizations than ever working to educate their members about running for these seats. No doubt Donald Trump has something to do with this increased activity.

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This update was originally published at The Next Stage: Women and Retirement, where Karen Bojar explores the rewards and challenges of retirement.

Statement on the Results of the May 16th Primary Election

Americans for Democratic Action Southeastern Pennsylvania congratulates the candidates who won Democratic nomination in the May 16th primary election.

ADA endorsed Larry Krasner for District Attorney given his civil rights litigation record and campaign platform centered on criminal justice reform, including reversing mass incarceration, eliminating cash bail for nonviolent offenders, a practice which effectively criminalizes being poor, and correcting the abuses of civil asset forfeiture. ADA and its members will continue organizing around the progressive vision presented by Krasner and working to make Philadelphia a safer and more equitable and just city.

ADA has long been a strong advocate for ethical and accountable government. Rebecca Rhynhart, the Democratic nominee for City Controller, has pledged to increase government transparency and efficiency by releasing expenditure data to the public and annually auditing each city department. ADA supports these measures and looks forward to Rhynhart delivering on these promises of a more open and effective city government.

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Endorsements for May 16, 2017 Primary Election

Americans for Democratic Action Southeastern Pennsylvania has endorsed the following candidates in the May 16, 2017 primary election.

Superior Court
#2 Carolyn H Nichols
#3 Geoffrey Moulton
#4 Maria McLaughlin
#5 Debbie Kunselman

Commonwealth Court
#9 Ellen Ceisler
#10 Todd Eagen

Court of Common Pleas
#13 Stella Tsai
#14 Vikki Kristiansson
#16 John Macoretta
#24 Daniel R Sulman
#29 Wendi Barish
#30 Leonard Deutchman
#32 Jennifer Schultz
#36 David Conroy
#40 Lucretia C Clemons

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ADA Supports May Day of Advocacy for Philly Schools

Caucuse of Working Educators

ADA Southeastern PA stands in solidarity with the Caucus of Working Educators and the rank-and-file members of Philadelphia Federation of Teachers on the May Day of Advocacy for Philly Schools as they demand a fair contract that will give Philly students the schools they deserve.

Join us, sign the statement of support, spread the word, and come out for the day of protest.

Here is the tentative schedule:

  • 7:30-8:30 am: Pickets at schools with staff, parents & community in solidarity.
  • 10am: Demonstration, rally & press conference at 440 North Broad. March to City Hall.
  • 11am: Visits to City Council members and the Mayor at City Hall.
  • 12pm: Un Día Sin Immigrant, Black & Brown Bodies Rally at City Hall
  • 4pm: PFT Educator Exit Rally at Lea Elementary, 4700 Locust St. March to Clark Park.
  • 5pm: May Day Rally at Clark Park, 43rd and Baltimore. March to Happy Hour (across the street).
  • 7pm: Happy Hour at Clarkville, 43rd and Baltimore.

Endorsements for November 8, 2016 General Election

Americans for Democratic Action Southeastern Pennsylvania urges our membership to be involved in this extraordinarily critical election cycle. At few other times in our lives has an election been more important for our democracy. We must participate–on the ground, on the phone, person-to-person, monetarily. Let us hold true to ADA's values and invest in good government for our future by taking action in all the ways that we can.

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ADA 1948 Civil Rights Plank Commemmoration with Rep. John Lewis and Rep. Keith Ellison

On July 27, 2016, while the Democratic National Convention was underway in Philadelphia, Americans for Democratic Action hosted an event commemorating the civil rights plank that was introduced during the 1948 Democratic National Convention, also in Philadelphia.

Press coverage: