For the latter part of a year, Philadelphia Weekly has been a part of the solutions-driven initiative, Broke in Philly.
The project – of which PW is part of, along with 21 other like-minded publications and organizations – is designed to tell the stories of Philadelphians living in poverty and hopefully, find a solve for systemic poverty.
Earlier this week, Jean Friedman-Rudovsky and Cassie Haynes, creators and drivers of Resolve Philadelphia, the parent organization of the Broke initiative, penned a column in regard to a city-wide mission asking the question:
What would being economically secure look like in your life?
What would your life look like if you didn’t have to worry about money?
Most Philadelphians – and let’s face it, basically everyone everywhere – rarely allow ourselves to answer that question.
Today, the two of us will.
If we didn’t have to worry about money, we would not lay awake at night worrying about whether our spouses can pursue their chosen careers, crunching numbers in spreadsheets to make sure that the salary is sufficient to cover childcare, food, and monthly payments towards an astronomical mountain of student debt.
If we didn’t have to worry about money, we wouldn’t be pegging a dream of having another child to a bank account balance because of the high cost of fertility treatments.
Compared to some, though, we are both financially fortunate. We have structurally solid roofs over our heads and our kids receive high-quality daycare at a conveniently-located place of our choosing. But that’s exactly the point: the city’s ghastly 25.7 percent poverty rate does not even come close to encompassing the extent of the city’s economic insecurity problem.
Depending on the measure of financial self-sustainability, between 48 and 62 percent of Philadelphians cannot make ends meet. And, even those of us who can, suffer the stress of economic uncertainty.
For the last eight months, Resolve Philadelphia, through Broke in Philly, our collaborative reporting project, has facilitated solutions-oriented reporting on the economic realities facing our community. While we’re continuing coverage throughout the year on poverty alleviation – a dominant focus in 2018 – we’re also making a concerted effort to include a better understanding of economic mobility. We want to explore what it would take for all of us to be in a place of mobility, of security, of choice, while recognizing that these words don’t mean the same thing for all of us.
In January, we’re sharing a new fact each day about economic mobility in our community, some of which may surprise you. Later this month, alongside allies like The Center for Returning Citizens, University of Pennsylvania, Frontline Dads, The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and others, we’ll facilitate discussions as we work together to better understand economic mobility and begin to paint a collective picture of what prosperity looks like in our community.
But Economic Mobility Action Month is just the beginning. We have more to do throughout 2019 – and we need your voices to do it.
First, ask yourself that question at the top of this piece: What what your life look like if you didn’t have to worry about money? Would you and your partner fight less? Would your living situation look different? What about your health?
Now ask yourself: What information do you need to move toward that vision? What questions do you have that local news media can work to answer?
Philadelphia Weekly, and more than 20 other media outlets, is dedicated to doing community-responsive reporting and finding those answers for you. You can text us at 215-774-3212, fill out the contact form on brokeinphilly.org. You can also tweet or send us a direct message to our Twitter handle below.
This article is part of Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project among 21 news organizations, focused on Philadelphia’s push towards economic justice. Read more of our reporting at brokeinphilly.org.