POWER coalition update
The POWER coalition is mindful that this is the sad 50th anniversary of the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968. Rather than just mourning about the past, they urge people to get involved with projects that promote justice and peace in the world in the spirit of Dr. King, to keep his legacy alive.
On the day itself this year, Wednesday April 4, there is an event called the "I Am Human Campaign," including a one-day fast and rally for justice and better working conditions for local hospitality workers. The name comes from the slogan of the sanitation workers in Memphis, whose campaign was the one that King was supporting at the time he got killed. Here is an excerpt from POWER's website:
In a time when profit has taken precedent over people, it is critical for us to support workers as they unite to assert their human rights and dignity. People are not just workers, measured solely on production. . . . On April 4th, POWER invites you to join hospitality workers with a one-day fast by abstaining from food, buying, and working. We also ask you to wear all black in solidarity with workers. Support workers as they proclaim, "I Am Human!". . . . At 5:00, there will be a rally at City Hall to fight for family-sustaining jobs. (Please visit POWER's website for more information.)
The individual action committees of POWER are now called "strategy teams." The ones that have existed for a few years are the Live Free Strategy Team, the Economic Dignity Strategy Team, and the Education Strategy Team. Newer committees include Health Care, Green Jobs/Climate Justice, and Catholic Community Outreach.
NOTE FROM JEFF KEITH: The group that I am involved with is the Education Strategy Team. In Philadelphia we worked with the larger group called Our City, Our Schools (on Facebook
at ourcityourschoolsphilly), and waged a successful campaign to return the Philadelphia school board to local control. Now we have to push for inclusion of a wide spectrum of interested people and community members on the nine-member school board that the mayor is appointing. The ultimate goal is to have the citizens of Philadelphia vote for our school board, and we must be sure that it is not taken over by non-representative people who have special interests.
This committee's second campaign is to get more of a "fair funding formula" to control state funding of public schools. Many other states do that. In Pennsylvania, the state government ignores how much funding comes from property taxes in different municipalities, so that school districts with lower standards of living don't have nearly as much funding for their public schools as wealthier school districts.
The new Green Jobs/Climate Justice action group works in close collaboration with the Quaker-founded group EQAT.
POWER's strategy teams and action teams usually meet once a month at POWER headquarters, which is in the school building of St. Malachy's church at 11th and Master Streets near Temple University. The next time when all the teams are meeting is on Tuesday, April 10, at 6:30 p.m.
Details on all these things can be found on the POWER website: powerinterfaith.org.
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