On May 28, 2015, Cheri Honkala of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) and German Parodi of Disabled in Action of Pennsylvania, Inc. (DIA) announced a new “March for Our Lives” to take place at the 2016 Democratic National Nominating Convention in Philadelphia.

Planning for that march begins in less than one month, here in Philadelphia, when the city hosts the United States Social Forum, June 25-28. The US Social Forum is one of the biggest organizing events in the country and organizers expect to draw at least 3,000 to Philadelphia and thousands more in San Jose, CA and Jackson, MS.

In 2000, thousands marched on the Republican National Convention, but Honkala said organizers are planning an even bigger march for next year. Standing in front of the Constitution Center, she and Parodi delivered the message that Philadelphia, a city that to many Americans represents “liberty,” in fact represents the economic and political failures of our nation.

Today, said Honkala and Parodi, Philadelphia’s politicians continue to fail our schools. Yet, at the same time, they continue to support a few wealthy individuals who profit from gentrification. The city fails to provide jobs and services for its most vulnerable – people in recovery, ex-offenders, victims of domestic violence, people with disabilities, children waiting for foster housing – favoring incarceration instead.

“As Philadelphians, we must choose a side. Which side are you on?” Honkala asked.

Photo Credit: Harvey Finkle