- NIZ Accountability / Exposing Corruption
The Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) has been gentrifying Center City Allentown for 8 years with very little oversight. Residents are being pushed out to make way for businesses and expensive high rises. While there are people on the governing board (ANIZDA) who make sure that the developers have enough money to build and are using local art, there is no one on the board who will ensure that the community benefits from further development and has a voice. We are keeping pressure on Allentown City Council to enact a Community Benefits Ordinance and on Representative Peter Schweyer and Senator Pat Browne to approve Greg Edwards to be added to the ANIZDA Board.
- Defund the Police / Invest in Communities
The call has been clear for the last few months after the murder of George Floyd. The police are playing judge, jury, and executioner in our streets and are given far too many resources to keep killing us. Our call is to Defund the Police, move that money to community services like education, arts, mental health first aid, and more. Imagine what we could do with just a fraction of the millions that are given to the police. Community centers, youth programs, stellar basic education for all. Click these links to email the city council of Bethlehem, Allentown, or Easton (depending on where you live) and tell them to reallocate funds now. Those links give you some language to start with; just fill in your name and anything you want to add about why we need to shift from cops to compassion in the Lehigh Valley.
The people leading this movement are largely queer students of color here in the valley. They are calling for schools to break their contract with police departments and use that funding for counselors and a de-colonized curriculum. Click these links to email the school board in Bethlehem and this one for the school board in Allentown to demand that they remove officers from the schools before the new semester begins.
- Voting rights / Recruiting and Endorsing candidates
Pennsylvania is getting used to new voting measures like Vote By Mail, but here in the Lehigh Valley, counties were woefully underprepared to deal with the influx of a new voting system and COVID-19. No one has contested election results here in over a decade. When Enid Santiago, candidate for State Rep 22, tried to file complaints about the broken system, they could not even decide on a course of action to take to fix it. Now a hearing has been scheduled to launch a complaint in Lehigh county, but we need to make sure that Monroe and Northampton counties are also holding free and fair elections.
It’s not about the candidates, it’s about the voice of the voter. But we also want to lift candidates who are actually for the people and care about transformative values. The system is not built to work for the working class. We need strong community members to run and be supported by us. That starts now.
Click these links to get training on how to support candidates that are running in 2020 and beyond through calls and texts.