Philadelphia, PA — Tonight, Philly’s Democratic mayoral candidates will debate at the Temple Center for Performing Arts in North Philly. Much of their conversation will center on the economic future of the city. Ahead of the debate, $15 minimum wage activists staged a artistic direct action at the debate’s venue.
With the help of projection artist Dan Zink, members of 15 Now Philly projected facts about Philadelphia’s poverty rates and questions for mayoral candidates directly on to the debate venue’s facade.
North Philly neighbors and Temple students passing by pointed at the projection art and stopped to chat with 15 Now and the artists. Many signed petitions and committed to sending a tweet to candidates before the debate tonight.
“I’ll probably go and see what candidates are saying so I know who to vote for. Politicians should try living off $7.25 an hour and it would be clear to them why we need the $15 minimum wage,” said a low wage worker passing by.
Democratic candidates Jim F. Kenney, Anthony Hardy Williams and Nelson Diaz have announced they support a $15 minimum wage in Philly, but have not yet put forward plans to circumvent the state’s illegitimate municipal ban.
15 Now member and Temple senior Pele Irgangladen said, “Philadelphians want to know, are the mayoral candidates willing to commit to $15 minimum wage– not just in rhetoric, but guarantee they’ll fight alongside us to do whatever it takes to exercise our right to implement our own minimum wage.”
15 Now Philly is pushing a ballot referendum in November to demonstrate overwhelming local support for a $15 minimum wage. The ballot initiative is designed to push lawmakers to legislate a direct challenge to Harrisburg’s illegitimate ban on municipal wage raises.
PA State Senator Daylin Leach has also proposed an aggressive bill that will immediately raise the minimum wage statewide and eliminate the tipped minimum wage and rallied with 15 Now Philly last Friday.
“I do think [candidate’s positions on the $15 wage] will influence how people vote,” said Temple freshman and art student Gillian Mead.