Elizabeth Warren endorses third-party progressive running for Philly City Council
Andrew Beasley Andrew Beasley

Elizabeth Warren endorses third-party progressive running for Philly City Council

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the progressive presidential hopeful aiming to push her party to the left, on Monday endorsed a Philadelphia City Council candidate with similar aims: Kendra Brooks.

A lifelong Democrat running under the Working Families Party banner, Brooks is hoping to win one of the two City Council at-large seats that are reserved by Home Rule Charter for candidates outside the leading party and which have always been held by Republicans.

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From Philadelphia to Oregon, the insurgency is making waves in municipal elections
Andrew Beasley Andrew Beasley

From Philadelphia to Oregon, the insurgency is making waves in municipal elections

ON MONDAY, PHILADELPHIA City Council Member Helen Gym, a Democrat, endorsed Kendra Brooks, who is backed by the progressive Working Families Party in her campaign for City Council. The local Democratic Party was incensed by the endorsement, which Bob Brady, chair of the Democratic City Committee, said was “stupid,” reasoning that it would hurt Democrats by taking votes away from their slate of candidates.

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Gym endorsement crosses party lines, leaders
Andrew Beasley Andrew Beasley

Gym endorsement crosses party lines, leaders

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym is endorsing a minor-party candidate on November’s election, riling  some of her fellow Democrats.

Gym is putting her support behind Working Families Party candidate Kendra Brooks, with whom she has worked for years.

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A movement in Philadelphia to rise from poverty, end mass incarceration—and run Republicans out
Andrew Beasley Andrew Beasley

A movement in Philadelphia to rise from poverty, end mass incarceration—and run Republicans out

It all begins with an idea.Sitting in the corner of Fergie’s Pub in Center City, Philadelphia, Kendra Brooks wishes she could stay in the corner. She’s an introvert, she says, and the room is packed with guests who came to see her—a mother of four, grandmother of three, and a public education organizer and activist running for City Council.

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Independents are on the rise in Philly. Could they actually win a City Council seat?
Andrew Beasley Andrew Beasley

Independents are on the rise in Philly. Could they actually win a City Council seat?

Independents make up just 12% of voters in Philadelphia. But this year, they’re signing up in droves. More than a quarter of new registrations since the start of this year have been neither Dem or Republican, according to the Inquirer, but independent. That poses a problem for the other parties in the upcoming November election.

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10 third-party candidates file petitions for November ballot
Andrew Beasley Andrew Beasley

10 third-party candidates file petitions for November ballot

Ten minor-party candidates are angling to win City Council seats in the general election.

Candidates from five minor parties filed their nomination petitions with the Board of Elections by Thursday’s deadline to get on the ballot, according to the unofficial tally.

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Public demands that Council invest in schools
Andrew Beasley Andrew Beasley

Public demands that Council invest in schools

“The health of our schools is paramount,” said community organizer Kendra Brooks. “Not only the physical health of our schools, but the mental and emotional health of our students. Our children face trauma at an alarming rate.”

Brooks, who has children at Steele Elementary and Science Leadership Academy @ Beeber, said the community connector position was crucial to “build a bridge. … The ultimate goal is to improve the success of the students, and the best way to do that is by supporting the entire family.”

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Andrew Beasley Andrew Beasley

New Weapon To Combat Gun Violence In Philadelphia: Cold, Hard Cash

“We call it Stand Up Nicetown because we pick one of the busiest corners in our neighborhood and just stood out there and talked to people and brought resources around,” Kendra Brooks said. “Being a good father, resources for young men and mentorship.”

But it’s hard to combat the violence when there’s no funding for grassroots organizations.

“It’s completely self-funded,” Brooks said. “Each one of our organizations, each one of our members — we fund all of our meetings, all our programming is out of pocket.”

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 Philly gives $700k to neighborhoods orgs to help reduce gun violence
Andrew Beasley Andrew Beasley

Philly gives $700k to neighborhoods orgs to help reduce gun violence

“Kids saw that. Kids were outside,” said Kendra Brooks, a mother and founder of Stand Up Nicetown. In the aftermath of the incident, she tried to secure a meeting space to host a community discussion, but without funds to back up the reservation, it took nearly a week to find a good spot.

To make a difference, Brooks needs more resources. And now she might actually get them, thanks to a new initiative from Philly’s Office of Violence Prevention.

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Andrew Beasley Andrew Beasley

Education activists call on Penn to pay ‘fair share’ to support city schools

At this point, the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University are the only Ivy League schools that don’t contribute PILOTs. That should change, said Kendra Brooks, an activist with the 215 People’s Alliance.

“We are the poorest city in the country, so pathways out of poverty are created through education and opportunity,” Brooks said. “Penn should pay their fair share to make sure kids have that pathway.”

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Organizing to end 10-year tax abatement, coalition releases new report
Andrew Beasley Andrew Beasley

Organizing to end 10-year tax abatement, coalition releases new report

“[The report] sheds light on the impact that these abatements have on starving our schools and our city of the public resources and services we need,” said Kendra Brooks, an organizer with the coalition. “We must push City Council and the mayor’s office to end these unjust tax abatements for luxury developers and provide that money to teachers, nurses, janitors and students to teach, learn and thrive in our city.”

The coalition is collecting petition signatures to support ending the abatement. Members of the coalition delivered copies of the report to Council members on Nov. 15. They plan further visits to Council offices on Nov. 29, Dec. 6, and Dec. 13.

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Gun violence is rampant in Nicetown, so this mother is fighting back
Andrew Beasley Andrew Beasley

Gun violence is rampant in Nicetown, so this mother is fighting back

Gun violence in Nicetown has gotten so bad, said resident Kendra Brooks, that each morning, she worries about sending her 10-year-old daughter off to school.

“Over the summer, my kids buried a friend every other week,” she told Billy Penn. “They’re waking me up every other week saying such-and-such got shot.”

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Flashpoint: Fixing Philly's toxic schools, controller Rebecca Rhynhart's bombshell audits and youth healers of PEC
Andrew Beasley Andrew Beasley

Flashpoint: Fixing Philly's toxic schools, controller Rebecca Rhynhart's bombshell audits and youth healers of PEC

This week, the district released its fourth report on the progress of the clean-up. Guests for this debate include Lee Whack, spokesman for the School District of Philadelphia; Jerry Roseman, director of Environmental Science and Occupational Safety and Heath for the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Health and Welfare Fund and Union; Lisa Haver, co-founder of Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools; and Kendra Brooks, coordinator of Our City, Our Schools and an active school district parent.

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