Back in July, Media Mobilizing Project, a West Philadelphia-based grassroots media organization and community advocacy group, won a Hometown Media Award for its short film Our Schools are not For Sale. The short film, one of MMP’s many films about education, chronicles the fight for public education in Philadelphia in response to the closing of over two dozen schools across the city in 2013.
“We worked with some really incredible partners from the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools on the film, and so the award was an important recognition of that collaboration and all the people fighting for public education in Philadelphia,” said Rebekah Phillips, MMP’s co-executive director, in an email.
“I think the award also speaks to an important connection between our work and our local public access station, PhillyCAM–without which much of our work wouldn’t be possible,” she added.
MMP has continued to tell even more stories of Philadelphians through its work on a wide-variety of projects in the past few months since winning the award, including its CAP Comcast Campaign, a new documentary “The Plight and the Fight,” and a new story-telling project around education.
MMP designs and leads the CAP Comcast (Corporate Accountability Project) campaign, a campaign designed to hold Comcast accountable to Philadelphia.
“Comcast made 2 billion dollars in profit in the last quarter – at the same time, Comcast pays less than 4% in taxes in a state where 10% is the average, while getting huge property tax breaks in a city struggling to keep schools open,” Phillips said.
“Comcast paid more than any other lobbyist to block a Philadelphia bill that would have expanded paid sick days to thousands more low income residents; all while their executives fundraise for the governor who shepherded a billion dollars in education cuts,“ she added.
MMP is currently running a petition on the CAP Comcast website to garner support for the campaign — as Comcast’s franchise agreement to sell cable in Philadelphia is up for negotiation in 2015. Together with a similar petition at MoveOn, they gained almost 4000 signatures from Philadelphians.
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“We believe that the City should take the lead, with community support, in this franchise negotiation to ask for a greater contribution from Comcast for the public good,” Phillips said.
View the complete CAP Comcast platform here.
“The Plight and the Fight”
Currently one project MMP is working on is a film, “The Plight and the Fight,” for which it has received support from the National Endowment of the Arts to fund the production. The film will will weave together the stories of five people who are working with others in their community to address the needs and issues their communities face in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
“Rooted in the Philadelphia region, ‘The Plight and the Fight’ will reverberate nationally, bringing to life stories of everyday Americans — whose stories resonate in small towns and cities across the country — fighting to survive in an era of extreme economic hardship,” Phillips.
MMP also recently produced a series called “Revival From the Roots: Tour of Philly’s Neighborhood Schools,” which followed Jerry Jordan, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, and Helen Gym, parent and award-winning education advocate, as they hear from students, parents and teachers who are working to improve public education in the city of Philadelphia.
Education Struggles and Successes in the City
Currently, MMP is working on a story collecting campaign that has grown out of the “Revival From the Roots.”
“We’re continuing our work around the fight for public education, beginning with a broader story-collecting campaign that builds off of our Revival From the Roots series,” said Phillips.
The campaign aims to collect stories from parents whose children are in Philadelphia public schools. The videos will be uploaded to a multimedia site (which Phillips said will be released in the upcoming months) and will give insight into the needs and concerns of parents.
“I think that we want to partly get a sense of where the pulse of parents are–their hopes and desires for our public education system,” Phillips said.
MMP is also looking for positive stories about parent leaders, as well as parents and teachers working together with their school administration to make the education system better.
“We know that there are many struggles and there is a huge crisis in our public education system, but at the same time, there are many people that are coming together with all that they have — their heart and their souls — to make it work every day and we want to lift up those stories as well,” said Phillips.
Those who want to volunteer to collect stories from parents or submit a story themselves (including their own video) can email Phillips at email@example.com.
Image via Media Mobilizing Project-30-
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