June 16, 2016

Press Release On SodaTax

This is an official response celebrating our victory on the Soda Tax in Philadelphia. 

Press Release: 06-16-16

Contacts: Garrett Ettinger: 570-497-6196, gettinger@actionunited.org

Group Vows to Ensure Soda Tax Money Goes to the Community

PHILADELPHIA — Last year at a rally held at Comegys School in West Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney had his first lesson on what community schools are. ACTION United, alongside parents, teachers, and students, advocated for a comprehensive community school strategy in Philadelphia. This strategy would address specific community needs and engage residents and parents in different neighborhoods across Philadelphia to be part of the decision making process at their local schools. At the end of the rally, Kenney had pledged to transform 25 public schools into community schools by the end of his term, which was a great victory at the time and was the deciding factor in ACTION United endorsing the mayor.

However, when the plan was announced to fund these initiatives, ACTION United and its base of low to moderate income members found themselves in conflict. Either support a regressive tax which disproportionately affects low-income people of color, in the hopes for additional support in our communities, or continue to fail our children by not providing them with a complete and robust curriculum or the necessary services that prepare them for the future.

After a lot of debate, members in the organization decided to back the tax in the hopes that the promises to rehab our deteriorating recreation centers, provide additional Pre-K seats, and develop community schools would become a reality. Now that the proposal has passed, our work is not done. Our organization is dedicated to ensuring that the roll-out of these new programs actually reflect the needs and wants of the community.

We will continue to work with the Mayor’s office and members of the community to develop a well-rounded program, implement meaningful courses and curricula in our public schools, and ensure that neighborhoods in Philadelphia have a say in how the Soda Tax money is used.

###

ACTION United is a membership organization of low and moderate income Pennsylvanians, working to build power through organizing communities to win changes on the issues that are important to them.