Battling Racism in the Gayborhood

After a video of a bar owner using racial slurs surfaced in September of 2016, Philly’s LGBTQ community leaped into action to address discrimination from within. Responding to public outcry following the video, City Council passed an anti-discrimination bill to strengthen penalties against businesses that discriminate against their employees, tenants, or customers. In June, the city revealed a new Pride flag design with black and brown stripes as a symbolic step towards inclusion.

(Photo credit: Kelly A. Burkhardt)

Tuesdays with Toomey

What good are elected officials if they aren’t representing the people? Started by seven Philadelphia women, this citizen advocacy movement initially called upon Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey to address voters’ concerns and to hold a public town hall, which he’d failed to do since 2013. The growing movement bands together every single Tuesday to encourage citizens to hold their representatives accountable and remain civically engaged.

Get Elected PHL

Following the November election, Philly saw a huge increase in training events encouraging young people to run for office, including Young Involved Philadelphia’s “Born To Run” to Philadelphia 3.0’s “Get Mad, Then Get Elected.” The groups behind these initiatives, whether inherently political in nature on not, are inspiring a new generation of leaders.

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Founded two and a half years ago as a Facebook group, this running community now boasts over 7,500 members all working toward advancing the positive culture of running in Philadelphia. Jon Lyons, the group’s founder, at its heart leading with compassion and an encouraging attitude that welcomes people from all walks of life. RUN215 has been an integral part in seeking a safer Schuylkill River Trail. As a fixture at the intersection of health and happiness, three of RUN215 events (#RunToWorkPHL, #NightShiftPHL, #RunStreakPHL) were recently featured on BeWellPhilly’s 50 Best Fitness events.

Open Streets PHL

Open Streets PHL is a nonprofit whose main objective is to provide free and fun recreation to the community by temporarily closing select streets to vehicle traffic and opening up opportunities for fitness, music, dancing, arts and culture for adults and children of all cultures, incomes, and physical ability. Open Streets PHL has worked with the city of Philadelphia to organize its first Open Streets event, called Philly Free Streets, on Saturday, September 24th, 2016.


Frustrated by the lack of books about black girls in her school curriculum, 11-year-old Marley Dias launched the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign in 2015 to collect 1000 books where black girls are the main characters. Books will be donated to Retreat Primary and Junior School and Library in the parish of St. Mary, Jamaica where her mother and GrassROOTS’ President, Dr. Johnson Dias, was raised as a child. Over 4000 books have been collected so far.