Helen Gym

Philadelphia City Council, At-Large

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Helen comes out of 20 years of community organizing to build public will for issues long neglected. She cut her teeth defying mayors and developers who would take public land for boondoggles like stadiums, casinos, and for-profit charter schools. In her first term, Helen won historic victories that put Philadelphia on the national map: she led the end of a 17-year state takeover of our public schools and shut down a corporate reform agenda that pushed privatization and defunded public schools. Now she is leading the local effort to bring public schools back to life - restoring nurses, counselors, social workers, clean water, and music to every school. Focusing on a robust anti-poverty agenda, she passed the strongest Fair Workweek law in the nation, redefining the power of cities to address income instability. Helen has centered housing as a human right, reduced evictions by 20 percent, and established a legal defense fund and new shallow rent subsidies to expand tenant protections. She is using the full power of her voice in a time of moral crisis, whether it’s calling for an end to a Muslim ban at our airport or taking on the corporate interests that deny us the right to affordable housing, clean water and air, and decent jobs. In a time when the state legislatures and Congress have stagnated on the real needs of working people, municipal leaders like Helen are on the rise to center - and win - a human rights agenda in the nation’s biggest cities.

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