POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild) is the faith based community organization of over 40 Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim congregations working together to improve the city for all its residents. And that Old First is a founding member of.
Looking toward at least two big endeavors coming up this year:
1) Organizing statewide to pressure Harrisburg to restore a fair funding formula for financial support of schools across the state. All this “financial crisis” in the Philadelphia school district (as well all other of the 501 districts across the state, except for 21, comes from Gov. Corbett’s disconnecting state funding from the funding formula that had been worked out during previous administrations.
2) Organizing in support of Councilman Goode’s voters’ referendum on next Spring’s ballot whereby the city’s fair wage/compensation standards would be extended to the subcontractors once removed from the contractors who are currently covered by their work with the City of Philadelphia. That’s a mouthful. But Councilman Goode’s referendum is a direct result of POWER’s airport jobs campaign. And it could make a a living wage difference for employees of the subcontractors across this city.
Both are very important fights. And establishing a context for them, POWER is encouraging us to engage our people around both issues. We need our people to identify how these issues affect us. And what our faith traditions tell us about jobs that families can live by and schools that can teach our children.
But POWER is not just asking us to do re-invent the wheel. They are organizing to help us do it, and do it well.
Come out, on Monday, Sept. 16 to a Leaders’ Assembly at Bright Hope Baptist Church 1601 N. 12th Street (at Oxford). It will last from 7 to 9 p.m.
At the Assembly, POWER will present us with a simple strategy for significantly engaging our people. And they will help us train to do it as effectively as possible. Creating small groups and intimate conversations in which to discuss how failing schools or a lack of jobs affect our families, and asking our people to consider what the prophetic themes of our traditions suggest about work and employment.
Even if you haven’t been involved before, just speak with Mike W. or Sterling or Michael, and they should be able to answer any questions you might have… We hope you will join us Monday evening, Sept. 16.