“Pay attention to the children,” A new campaign calls for Philly’s next mayor to consider the younger generations
The Kids’ Campaign was officially launched during a rally and press conference near City Hall on Friday, Jan. 20.
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As Philadelphia gears up to vote for and elect its 100th mayor, many topics are being discussed in terms of what most needs to be addressed for the future of our city.
A new campaign ensures that young people's voices are not left out of the discussion.
The Kids’ Campaign is a first-of-its-kind nonpartisan effort focused on ensuring that each mayoral candidate for the upcoming election details exactly how they will make the city safer for the youth.
As gun violence, drugs and poverty have become more prevalent than ever in our city, the campaign puts a heavy emphasis on action.
“We don’t need mayoral candidates who are trying. We need people and all of you to step up and say, ‘this is what we’re going to do,’” said Marcus Allen, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence, during the campaign’s kickoff press conference at City Hall on Friday.
He underscored that children’s voices can be heard in so many different venues, and it’s important for adults to listen and pay attention to their needs.
For Maritza Gurity — a Latina parent, community organizer, and active citizen — this campaign is personal.
“Like thousands of other partners, I care about our city’s future and who will lead next, for our sake and the sake of future generations,” she said.
While she was not born and raised in Philadelphia, it’s the place she has called home for many years. It’s where she chooses to raise her children.
To this end, she wants Philadelphia to be a safe place for them, however, “it is not,” she said.
“I know the fear of being a victim of violence, and no one should ever feel unsafe in their school, neighborhood or community,” Gurity added.
As children have to contend with the many challenges on a daily basis, Gurity poses two questions to each mayoral candidate:
- How will you ensure that our children have a strong foundation, beginning with early childhood education?
- Will you ensure that this broken system is rebuilt in collaboration with the families of school-aged children in the city?
The Kids’ Campaign is fueled by a six-part agenda that spells out the acronym, S.E.C.U.R.E., which stands for Safety, Education, Careers, Uplifting families, Recreation, and the Environment.
Wendy-Anne Roberts-Johnson, executive director of Need in Deed, highlighted that by the end of the campaign, there wouldn’t be a single neighborhood in the city that the candidates should not have visited. Accordingly, no community should be left out of a chance to meet the candidates and see where they stand on the most pressing issues facing our communities.
“By the time we vote in May, thousands of voters will know where each candidate stands on the Kids agenda, and how they will make our agenda a reality,” she said.
The Kids’ Agenda has 12 points, calling on all the mayoral candidates to pledge that:
1. Philadelphia must be a great place to raise your family.
2. Philadelphia can be a city where we have the courage to heal systemic rifts that disproportionately harm children of color.
3. No child in Philadelphia should go hungry or live in poverty.
4. Every neighborhood should have a quality District school.
5. Philadelphia must be the prime destination for the best teachers in the country.
6. Every child deserves a safe and stable home and access to healthcare.
7. Every neighborhood must have great rec centers, parks, libraries, safe places, and afterschool and summer programs.
8. Every child should have access to high-quality, early learning opportunities.
9. Every teenager should have a meaningful summer job and a job on graduation.
10.Youth who make mistakes should have restorative options.
11.Philadelphia must contribute to solving the climate crisis to ensure a thriving future for our kids.
12. Youth should have a voice in all levels of city government.
“The bottom line is that we need to do a better job for Philadelphia’s children, not just make empty promises,” said David Fair, deputy chief executive officer for Turning Points for Children. “And that better job starts with making kids a priority.”
Currently, the Kids’ Campaign has broad support from over 30 community organizations, including First Up, HopePHL, Philabundance, Project HOME, Taller Puertorriqueño, Children First, Philadelphia Mental Health Center, and many more.
To learn more or to sign up as a supporter, click here.
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