PCAPS Lauches Voter Education & Mobilization

On Saturday, March 29th, PCAPS held a press conference at the Media Mobilizing Project to announce the launch of our Voter Education and Mobilization Campaign. The goal is to sign up 25,000 “education voters” who will pledge to elect a Governor who will support full and fair funding, charter school accountability, ending the school to prison pipe line and returning our school to local control kicked of today in West Philadelphia.

PSU member, Brian, gave a speech at the event. It is reprinted in it’s entirety below:

Hi I’m Brian Burney and I’m freshman at Benjamin Franklin High school and a leader at the Philadelphia Student Union.

We’re here today as PCAPS to get voters to sign on to our Education Voter Pledge. As a student we need voters who will vote for a governor that will support the five points we’ve outlined in our pledge.

This year my school has been struggling because of the budget cuts. The budget cuts have had a big impact on my school. Because of schools closures, students from closed schools were sent to Benjamin Franklin without a real plan from the district on what to do with those students. There’s almost double the number of students in my school, but my school is still very low on resources. We need books and more nurses and staff. We also need more extracurricular activities to make all the students feel like we are one school. We need a governor who will give us a Fair Funding Formula. With a Fair Funding Formula, Benjamin Franklin and all the schools in Philadelphia would have everything they need to guarantee that students have the opportunity for success, to go college, and to find jobs.

When the district merged schools they put rival neighborhoods and rival schools into the one building. We have had fights in my school and at times my school has been very chaotic. But what we haven’t had is enough counselors in my school to talk to about our problems and figure out how to resolve them peacefully. What we do have is suspensions and cops. That’s not what we need. That’s not fair. We want a governor who prioritizes ending the School to Prison Pipeline and supports Restorative Justice programs in all schools.

We as students are going to continue to speak out on how we feel and what we need and we are here to let ALL the candidates know that we have rights and a voice and it needs to be heard!

Not being able to vote is also a humongous problem for us as minors because the decisions you adults make aren’t just affecting you, its affecting all of us, adults and young people. We need you to hear our voice too so that you can be our guide to making a change.

ARE WE GOING TO MAKE SURE THE NEXT GOVERNOR LISTENS TO THE PEOPLE!?

ARE WE GOING TO LET THEM CONTROL AND DESTROY US AND OUR SCHOOLS ANY LONGER!?

ARE WE GOING TO FIGHT FOR OUR VOICES TO BE HEARD?

Thank you.

After the press conference, we began canvassing! It was raining hard that day, so we canvassed on the Market-Frankford Line.

But first, we had to prepare! Members of the Philadelphia Student Union, Youth United for Change, and BPSOS gathered in our offices to prep for canvasing. We practiced a few times in pairs before hitting the streets.

For some PSU members, it was their first time canvassing. We were met with an overwhelmingly positive response from the people we talked to you. We collected lots of pledges. It seems like most of Philadelphia is fed up with our underfunded public schools. We are ready to elect a governor who will support public education!

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