Philadelphia City Council, At Large
Who am I?
Kendra Brooks was raised in Nicetown, Philadelphia where she still resides with her four children. As a teenage single mother working a low-wage job, Kendra realized that getting an education was a pathway to a better future. She worked her way through college as a nursing assistant. She went on to receive a Bachelors in Science in Therapeutic Recreation and an MBA. She has spent much of her career working with children with disabilities at Easter Seals.
In 2014, when Governor Corbett cut education spending, Kendra was laid off from her job of 17 years. While unemployed, she continued volunteering with her children’s school, Steel Elementary. In 2014, Steel was slated for takeover by Mastery Charter. Kendra believed that parents should get to vote on the future of the school, so she organized hundreds of parents – and won keeping the school public.
Kendra’s work at Steel led her to the last 5 years of organizing and advocacy in school communities – working with parents and educators, and training around restorative practices nationally. She has led the campaigns to return local control to Philadelphia’s schools and most recently to end the 10-year tax abatement. For this work, Kendra was appointed by Mayor Kenney to the new Board of Education’s nominating panel. She has been involved with Parents United for Public Education and the Our City Our Schools coalition. She is a founder of Stand Up Nicetown, a group committed to ending gun violence, and on the Steering Committee of 215 People’s Alliance.
What am I fighting for?
I am running for City Council because after years of reacting to policies, I want our movements to be in the room – making policies that work for low-income, Black and Brown people. I am running because I am a fighter through and through – and we need fighters in City Hall, organizers who can organize with the communities that I come from, move elected officials and win real policy changes that will impact working people. I am running because I believe Philadelphia can be a city where everyone has access to an affordable home, where every neighborhood has a quality public school, where one job is enough to support a family. To get there, we need a bold City Council that will fight for working people.
Philadelphia has two seats on City Council reserved for the ‘minority party’ or in this case, non-Democrats. For decades, these two seats have been held by Republicans. But this year, my running mate Nicolas O’Rourke and I are running as Working Families Party candidates in the November general election. In November, Philadelphians will vote for 5 candidates for City Council at-large, and the top seven vote-getters will win. Nicolas O’Rourke and I are seeking to get the 6th and 7th spot of top vote-getters, kicking off the top two Republicans. This strategy has never been attempted in Philadelphia at this scale – but I believe that this is the year to do it.
My DFA Values
I have spent the last five years as a leader in Philadelphia-based movements for racial and economic justice. My movement family are active leaders in this campaign at every level. We have set up a campaign organizing committee made up of leaders from movements for education justice, housing justice, mass liberation, economic justice and more.
This past year, I had the honor of working with the Alliance for a Just Philadelphia – a coalition of over 30+ Philadelphia organizations – who drafted the People’s Platform, a policy document laying out actions we want City Council to take. This Platform is the basis of my campaign. I see a Philadelphia where there are good-paying union jobs where Philadelphians can earn a living wage, families are safe to work and send their children to school without the threat of ICE, someone with disabilities or anyone shouldn’t need an advocate to find housing. In the Philadelphia I want, we shouldn’t be losing our houses and land to developers for profit, but making sound investment in building strong neighborhoods. I want a city of strong communities, including low-income housing and rent control, healthy schools free of lead asbestos and mold, green spaces like parks and gardens to increase the quality of life and library and recreation centers to get our young people off the streets and into quality OST programs. This is the vision and values of my campaign.