Andrés Celin officially launches his run for District 7 in North Philly
The social worker, educator, and community organizer is running for the communities he has spent the last decade advocating for in the 7th District.
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In a fun and intimate setting filled with supporters and friends on Tuesday evening, Jan. 31, at the Kensington-based Vietnamese coffee roastery, Càphê Roasters, social worker, educator and community organizer, Andrés Celin, officially launched his run for Philadelphia City Council in the 7th District.
Celin kicks off his run after making the announcement on Twitter, on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
“I feel incredibly grateful to be here with everybody today, for everyone that's been putting in work for the last two years to get to be here. It's been a long time coming,” Celin began.
Celin, a father to a daughter, has spent over a decade fighting and advocating for the many struggling communities in the 7th District through his teaching, social work, and community organizing.
He started off the launch by telling more about his background and what influenced his start in community organizing, which includes becoming a father at 20 years old to a daughter. Celin had to be a long distance father and build a relationship over a video camera, and videos being sent every year.
By 25, he was working in the community and had been a case manager for a handful of years, running a parenting program and working with individuals whose children had been taken away from them.
“They were forced by adults to come and meet with me and have to do my program in order to get their kids back. I remember at that point, my daughter was six and I knew how it felt to have to build a relationship with my daughter from far away,” he said.
“But I knew that that was nothing like what folks had to experience when their children were taken away from them by a system that stacked against the people who live in this community every day,” Celin added.
He soon realized that all he wanted to do was to help his community, saying he “didn't have any choice, but to fight against injustice in my community.”
Born in South Carolina, but raised in Cali, Columbia, Celin touched on the importance of his mother in his life, the values she instilled in him and his brother, but noticed the mistreatment she faced as a teacher.
“My mother was a teacher at a private school. She taught there for 22 years so that my brother and I could get an education for free. She taught me the value of education. I also saw how my school represented itself to its community, how it treated its teachers and workers very differently behind the scenes,” he said.
And as a former educator himself in North Philadelphia who taught classes and workshops in Kensington — starting at Edison High School, he spoke about his experiences and the issues he witnessed.
“I would work with students in the classroom,” he said. “I would connect them to after school programs. I would run after school programs myself.”
“That's when I started to learn that schools can't just be schools anymore. We need schools to be community institutions. But that can’t happen on the backs of teachers. And it can’t happen on the backs of folks who are working in the community and working in nonprofit organizations. We have to fund schools and support staff to be community institutions,” Celin added.
Celin has led mentoring and after-school programs for high school students in Kensington and Hunting Park, as well as helped families across the 7th District get access to housing, mental health services, education, and addiction treatment.
He has also been an advocate for parents working to get their children back from the child welfare system.
Celin was also a community organizer for Youth United for Change, and has worked with young leaders to help transform their schools for the better. He has also led campaigns for clean water and more adequate mental health resources in every school and organized students and teachers to save Kensington Health Sciences Academy from losing all its staff.
He also served as the Outreach Director for former Council Member and Mayoral candidate, Helen Gym, and brought community organizations together to pass legislation focused on protecting families, and got additional funding for libraries and rec centers
SAFETY & RESOURCES
Public safety is one of pressing concerns for all citizens of Philadelphia, and Celin looks to create community-based violence interruption programs that are focused on the most-impacted blocks of the city, as well as further expand access, reduce barriers and improve the quality of drug addiction treatment.
AFFORDABLE & STABLE COMMUNITIES
Celin wants to increase the amount of new affordable homes to own and to rent and prioritize community-based developers who commit to affordability. He will also require developers to give back to the community by way of a Community Benefits Agreement (CBAs).
He looks to provide job training and placement for young adults with specific focus on those impacted by violence, as well as train, hire and raise wages for street outreach workers engaging homeless community members.
“I'm tired of leaders pretending like everything is okay. Pretending like it's not their responsibility, what's happening here in the community, or believing that they have all the answers and not knowing that the answers are here in the community already,” Celin ended.
Celin's official campaign video can be seen here:
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