On June 20, communities in 10 cities around the country will stake their claim on the future of their neighborhoods, resources and institutions. With the launch of the “We Make This City” campaign, Partnership for Working Families affiliate organizations will build a collective vision of cities that provide the foundation and infrastructure all people need to live full and healthy lives.
That vision is competing with a corporate agenda to starve public budgets, put more and more of our public assets in the hands of private industry, and offer increasingly large tax breaks and subsidies to corporations, taking money out of the public coffers. An estimated $1 trillion in annual federal, state, and local government spending goes to private companies, enriching the wealthiest 1 percent, while public services and systems that make our cities work are gutted.
In Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Oakland, Pittsburgh, San Jose, San Diego and Seattle, residents are leading a movement to ensure our families enjoy clean water, vibrant public schools, affordable homes, and accessible public transportation, and rejecting attempts by greedy corporations to place profits over the well-being of families and communities.
“People are waking up to the fact that running government ‘like a business’ and entrusting the well being of our communities to private corporations doesn’t create the cities that we need and deserve,” said Partnership for Working Families Deputy Director Lauren Jacobs. “With this day of action, we’re demanding that we– the people who live and work in our communities– shape the future of our cities.”
Shared public goods are the backbone of our cities, but our diminished public investment in these resources has left our communities without the basic elements people need to live full and healthy lives. The dream of stable affordable housing and public transit that gets us to work, school, or a visit to the doctor is out of reach for too many of us. In many places, we can’t count on clean and affordable drinking water, or even send our children to healthy school buildings free of lead and toxic chemicals. And as extreme storms and weather become more common, our need for resilient infrastructure and a clean energy transition has never been clearer.
Through the We Make this City campaign, the Partnership for Working Families is demonstrating how we can reverse this tide and fight for all of the essential things we need to live full and healthy lives.
In Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, clean water is the central issue. Pittsburgh residents are in an extended fight to keep their water authority public and rid the water of lead, and Los Angeles voters will soon be able to vote on a measure to capture and clean rain and runoff while creating good jobs for workers of color.
In San Jose and Boston, community members are taking on large corporations who are seeking to profit from private takeovers of our public land and institutions.
In Denver, Oakland and San Diego, Partnership affiliates are intervening in runaway gentrification threats by demanding budgets, city services, and development plans that are driven by the needs and visions of community members.
Atlanta and New York City residents are putting forward visions for excellent, reliable public transportation. Atlanta leaders with Georgia STAND-UP will be part of a “Rides to Wellness” event looking at the impact of transportation investments on health with Grady Memorial Hospital, MARTA, and public health advocates. New Yorkers will meet in Union Square to unveil a power map showing who controls the dysfunctional MTA and to lift up the type of transportation system that people want and need.
Events are scheduled to begin at 8 am Eastern and finish at 9 pm Pacific. Interviews with local representatives of each campaign are available upon request.