2020 will mark 15 years since Media Mobilizing Project began connecting communities and winning real power at the intersections of media, racial, and economic justice. In recent weeks, we’ve looked back with pride at what we’ve built. We’ve also been facing our current conditions and looking ahead to the next 15 years. What are the concrete next steps our movements must take to build on our successes, address ongoing struggles and harms, and win a future that is dignified and just for all of us?
Here at our shared office space, the People’s Headquarters, it is undeniable that this moment is creating a unique opportunity for our movement to contest for power. People are taking to the streets the world over, from Chicago to Chile to Lebanon. Movement leaders with intimate relationships to neighborhood struggles in Philadelphia — from Helen Gym to Kendra Brooks — have won crucial elections and are actively representing poor and working people in the most powerful elected body in the City of Philadelphia. We have won unprecedented power and representation with our bodies on the picket lines, our families canvassing for change, and our communities supporting each other — but we’ve only just begun to make history. In order to move through this moment with the organization, clarity, and strategy it demands, our organizations must be engines of transformative change. Will you donate to support this work as we step into 2020 and beyond?
Announcing the Movement Alliance Project – Connecting Communities. Winning Power!
After nearly a year of deliberation, collective internal and external assessment, interviews, surveys, and debate, the leadership of Media Mobilizing Project has decided to change the name of our organization to Movement Alliance Project. We surveyed hundreds of you and spoke directly to dozens of you, and with your help, our new name more accurately represents the coalition-building, narrative-lifting, and strategy-cohering projects we’ve led and supported in recent years.
As the Movement Alliance Project, we are recommitting to and standing by the work we started in 2005. We are prioritizing the skills and capacities we’ve honed over the last 15 years, as we’ve built power in Philadelphia and beyond. In 2005, we knew that movements begin with the telling of untold stories. We know today that we must center those narratives as we contend for the power to govern our city and as we build capacity for our planet to survive and thrive into the future.
A lesson we’ve learned from years of storytelling is that we cannot build a strategy to transform our city or our world without imagining what winning feels and looks like in our homes, cities, and communities. So in the process of dreaming up this new identity, we’ve been sharpening our ideas and hopes for what we want Philadelphia and our world to look like 15 years from now, at the close of 2034. We’re using that vision to ground and guide Movement Alliance Project’s work.
… we have fully funded schools. Schools are the bedrock of making our neighborhoods whole and loving communities. Every school has a nurse and counselor supporting our kids. Every building is safe and free of asbestos, lead, and other toxic conditions. Schools aren’t flanked by metal detectors and police, but instead are filled with art, inviting and safe classrooms, and robustly funded and supportive teachers. We’ve replaced low expectations and standardized tests with trauma-informed education, restorative justice practices, arts and music, and culturally relevant curriculum that is engaging and prepares young people to be part of building a more just world.
… we have closed half of the jails in Philadelphia. We invested what was previously a massive police and jails budget into communities who hold each other safe and help us heal from harm. We’ve shifted our approach to harm and violence by dealing with the root causes of harm in our communities: poverty, structural oppression, and isolation. As we continue to unwind mass incarceration, we invest in the strategies that keep us safe and heal trauma: knowing our neighbors, respecting survivors, working for redemption for those who have hurt or harmed others, and responding to crises like addiction and mental health needs with care and restoration.
… with waterfront communities in the lead, we’ve protected Philly and built a vision for how to lessen climate change. South Philly’s shuttered refinery is now a solar farm that provides power to neighborhoods throughout the city, and family-sustaining jobs to generational residents. We’ve replaced our gas infrastructure with renewable energy. A massive jobs program tied to our public schools has retrofitted homes for energy savings throughout the city. We’ve preserved community gardens and land in every neighborhood to transform our food system to one that is local and sustainable.
… we have shifted our democracy to one that works for all of us. We knocked on tens of thousands of doors to change how everyday Philadelphians engage in the electoral process. We created a pipeline to power that led leadership from our movements into political office. We built permanent organizations that give communities a way to make measurable change and where Philadelphians can develop their leadership. And we held elected leaders accountable, especially when they came from our movements.
It’s 2034, and over the last 15 years, the organization that began as Media Mobilizing Project was one of many movement organizations that helped make this future our reality.
We got here because we knew we needed not only a demand but a plan.
We got here because Movement Alliance Project knew that technology could be a part of perpetuating racism and inequality or technology could be a driver of understanding and empathy.
We got here because Movement Alliance Project continued to tell the untold stories.
We got here because Movement Alliance Project knew that there would be a need for vision and organization between the moments of mass demonstration and direct action.
We got here because Movement Alliance Project knew that we needed each other. We couldn’t win the dignified and just world that everyone deserves with one charismatic individual, one organization, or even one social movement. It took a radical recognition of common cause and deepening how we practiced solidarity.
We got here because in 2019, people like you committed to the continued growth of this organization. We got here because you saw this vision too, and you knew that it was possible in our lifetimes, through your efforts and the efforts of so many others.
Thank you for being a part of our shared work toward this vision. We’ll make this road by walking it together.
All of us at Movement Alliance Project
Bryan, Hannah, Helyx, Zoraida, Devren, Mariam and Jenessa