As workers and leaders of the arts and culture sector of Philadelphia, almost three thousand of us (and climbing) have signed our open letter to Mayor Kenney and City Council denouncing racist police conduct and demanding immediate divestment from the police. These signatures represent a commitment to meaningful, positive change for all citizens, and especially Black Philadelphians. We hope you’ll join our mailing list for future updates and to be part of our continued advocacy efforts.
City Council has responded. They are approving an amendment to the mayor’s originally proposed budget, which puts Arts and Culture back on the general ledger, albeit at just 30% of its previous total, but saving it from the brink of extinction. They’re budgeting for a survey and promise more meetings with arts leadership.
It is not enough.
There’s a small cut to the police budget that is not a cut. It’s just a moving around of some jobs.
While there has been much to-do about $33m being “cancelled” from the Philadelphia police budget in 2021, there have in fact NOT been significant or substantial changes to police funding in our city. While City Council has cancelled the proposed $19m in increased funds for Philadelphia police, advanced a package of police reform measures, and moved $14m-worth of certain jobs to different city departments, these gestures do not adequately address the need to divest from police and re-invest in the community.
It is not enough.
Furthemore, the city’s continued investment in police-reform initiatives that have proven time and again to NOT work indicates a true lack of imagination for how to address safety and justice in our city. We demand bolder action be taken!
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
We demand police and prison abolition.
So, what does a police-free future of re-imagined safety look like?
Review our resources for learning about police abolition.
We demand a disavowal of the systemic murder of Black people.
ENDORSE THE MOVEMENT FOR BLACK LIVES’ POLICY PLATFORMS
END THE WAR AGAINST BLACK PHILADELPHIANS NOW
Black Philly Radical Collective Statement
DEMAND POLICE-FREE SCHOOLS
Philadelphia Student Union Statement
END THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE CONTRACT
Editorial by K. Gilmore-Richardson on ending PA Act 111, which protects FOP negotiations
We demand the defunding and re-distribution of police funding toward human services.
We demand all arts and culture organizations in Philadelphia sever known ties with the police.
We have demonstrated critical mass as individuals. We must now hold our institutions accountable to these demands. Our leaders need to know it is not enough to “allow” us to speak freely. It is not enough to issue a statement of solidarity with Black people and then refuse to work toward the abolition of all obstacles to our collective and complete humanity.
Name your leaders. Tell them that Police Abolition is a non-negotiable part of our contribution to their future. We applaud the efforts of Police Free Penn and Change at PAFA organizers to bring about meaningful, structural changes at their respective institutions.
Listen to Local Advocacy Leaders.
Black Lives Matter (Philadelphia)
Amistad Law Project
Alliance for a Just Philadelphia / Campaign for a Just Philly Budget
Youth Art Self-Empowerment Project
Philadelphia Community Bail Fund