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Activists say wealthy universities’ property tax exemptions hurt public schools

Activists say wealthy universities’ property tax exemptions hurt public schools | Truthout

Activists say Penn’s commitment is a step in the right direction but falls short of their goal to have the university pay PILOTs commensurate with the amount of property it owns.

Philly’s other big universities stay silent after $100M UPenn donation

Philly’s other big universities stay silent after $100M UPenn donation | WHYY

Two weeks after the University of Pennsylvania made a $100 million contribution to the School District of Philadelphia, it’s unlikely the cash infusion will inspire copycat donations from major higher education peers in the city.

Penn’s $100 million to Philly schools is no permanent solution for PILOTs

Penn’s $100 million to Philly schools is no permanent solution for PILOTs | Philadelphia Inquirer

This news allows us to continue and deepen our conversations about PILOTs, not end them. People across the city are newly conscious of the way racism and inequality are built into what it means to live in Philadelphia. With our elected officials and our teachers, we should redouble efforts to ensure that well before 10 more years have passed, Philadelphia’s children have access to fully funded public education.

Penn to donate $100 million to Philadelphia School District to help with asbestos, lead abatement

Penn to donate $100 million to Philadelphia School District to help with asbestos, lead abatement | Philadelphia Inquirer

The University of Pennsylvania will donate $100 million over 10 years to the Philadelphia School District to remediate environmental hazards, including asbestos and lead, the school announced Tuesday. It’s the largest private contribution to the School District in its history and comes as the district, like other organizations, is reeling from the economic fallout of the coronavirus.

From Jobs With Justice Executive Director Erica Smiley: Minneapolis Police Union Must be Held Accountable for the Murder of George Floyd

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                      

Friday, May 29, 2020 

Contact: Jessica Felix Romero, Jobs With Justice, jessica@jwj.org202-393-1044 x104 

WashingtonDC – In response to the recently publicized targeting, attacking, and killing of Black Americans at the hands of both police and neighbors, Jobs With Justice Executive Director Erica Smiley gave the following statement on the toxic situations within local police unions and our communities: 

“While Jobs With Justice supports all workers who wish to form a union and have a voice on the job, the death of George Floyd at the hands of police is yet another example of local police union that spends more time nurturing a culture of white supremacy and violence than democratizing the workplace.  

Police officers should not be above the law, and should not be able to negotiate conditions that put them above the law. Derek Chauvin, the officer who murdered George Floyd, had 18 previous complaints against him — but his local ‘union,’ the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, helped prevent his removal. 

In the past, when a local union gets caught up in criminal activity, they’re trusteed by national union affiliates to democratize.  How many times does Bob Kroll’s police union in Minneapolis  the makers of the Cops for Trump t-shirts — have to murder Black people before they are held accountable? In addition to fairly prosecuting the officers responsible for Floyd’s death, this union must be ‘un-mobbed’ and held accountable for the benefit of both its members and the community it operates within. 

But make no mistake — the systemic racism in our society has infected much more than just local police unions. Black people are consistently managing the fear and anxiety of white people around them in everyday situations many times, with their lives. As I recently collected take-out from a local business with my daughter, I simultaneously had to correctly guess the anxiety levels of the white woman in front of me who seemed to be following my every move. I was worried she might think I’d kidnapped my pale-skinned child and call the policeThe same anxiety likely existed in Ahmaud Arbery, as he tried to jog around that pick-up truck, or in George Floyd as he tried to reason with police officers who automatically considered him a ‘dangerous’ suspect. Unlike them, I escaped the situation with my life 

This pandemic has exposed our deadliest weaknesses  our lack of public health investment, our bankrupt healthcare infrastructure, an economic system that treats women and people of color as expendable, and of course our racist system of policing to uphold that economic system. But it is also making our calls for justice louder, and more unified, than ever. We can — we must — come out of this situation with a more just and equitable America. We the People demand it.” 

Erica Smiley is the first Black woman to lead Jobs With Justice as Executive Director.  

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Founded in 1987, Jobs With Justice is the country’s leading nonprofit in the fight for workplace and economic democracy. Comprising of a national network of local affiliates in nearly every state, Jobs With Justice brings together coalitions comprised of unionsworker organizations, community groups, students, and faith institutions to win concrete improvements in people’s lives.