Demand Sanctuary At Temple U

Dear President Englert and Temple University Board of Trustees                              

Temple University claims to pride itself on its dedication to diversity and access. But how can it value these things if its students live in fear of deportation, fear of violence from police, fear of sexual assault from fellow students, fear of not being able to afford classes, or fear of losing the community they grew up in? Temple’s responsibility as a institution of higher education should be to provide safety to its students so that they can get the best education possible. Temple has an obligation to declare itself a sanctuary, a safe-haven not only for immigrants, but for all.

A true sanctuary campus would guarantee a living wage of at least $15/hr, unobstructed union rights, and increased mental health services. A sanctuary university would be a university that prioritizes the safety of women, LGBTQI people, and people of color rather than breeding a culture of sexual and racial violence. A sanctuary university would respect and uplift the surrounding Black community rather than aggressively gentrifying the neighborhood and pushing people out of their homes.

The students and faculty have spoken, we support undocumented immigrants. If Temple wants to support its student body, and support vulnerable populations in this dangerous political climate, these are the steps your students are demanding. Temple has the opportunity to be a truly inclusive institution, showing in practice that you care about the humanity of each member of the diverse Temple community, and we are demanding that you take this opportunity to openly demonstrate your commitment to making Temple University an institution that values its student body and the people it employs.

Although Philadelphia is considered a sanctuary city, we call on Temple University to publicly declare itself a sanctuary campus. Students and workers on campus need to know that Temple will remain committed to their safety regardless of the city’s sanctuary status. But we do not think that Temple calling itself a sanctuary is enough; we encourage the Temple administration to take direct steps to make the university more accessible to undocumented people. Our university should function as a safe haven where undocumented people and all marginalized communities can turn for support and sanctuary.

We demand that Temple …

  1. Publicly declare Temple a Sanctuary Campus
  2. Cut ties with all law enforcement agencies that collaborate with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) and refuse law enforcement agencies who collaborate with ICE access to any Temple properties or information
  3. Institute a policy prohibiting campus police from inquiring about immigration status, enforcing immigration laws, participating with ICE/CBP in actions and refusing to cooperate with any ‘registration’ system that seeks to target or surveil Muslims.
  4. Revise the code of conduct to make sure anti-discrimination policy includes immigration status.
  5. Provide resources including legal services for undocumented students and their families.
  6. Grant in-state tuition to undocumented students who are Pennsylvania residents.

We would be happy to discuss this further with the administration so that collectively we can create the best possible plan to make Temple a sanctuary for all.

Asociación de Estudiantes Latinos

Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance

15 Now of Temple University

Philadelphia Socialist Alternative

Stadium Stompers

Temple Socialists

Black Law Students Association

Activate TU

Indivisible Temple

Organization of African American Studies Undergraduate Students

Temple Association of University Professionals

GenUN Temple

Babel Poetry Collective

Temple Refugee Outreach

Where’s President Theobald?

Temple Workers Need 15 Now!

Join us on Tuesday, October 13th as Temple U students and workers publicly kick off their campaign with a large action on campus!  Come out to demand a $15 minimum wage at Temple!

The student-led branch of 15 Now at Temple has been working hard this semester to build their organization and work with the unions representing campus workers. Nearly all the campus unions have endorsed the campaign, and dozens of student workers have shown up to weekly meetings. Temple has already started fighting back by making it difficult for 15 Now to reserve rooms and canvass on campus. President Theobald has been refusing to meet with students to discuss campus wages for over 6 months.

We are ready to do what it takes to win.

we are here today to remind the political leadership of Philadelphia of their commitments to the workers of this city.

Did you know that there is legislation sitting in committee in City Council that would have let Philadelphia vote on raising the minimum wage this November? Did you know that rather than openly oppose this initiative, the Chamber of Commerce worked behind the scenes to block it with procedure and bureaucracy?

Well we are here today to remind the political leadership of Philadelphia of their commitments to the workers of this city.

We are here today to let them know that we have their back if they take a risk and stand with us to challenge the Chamber of Commerce and Harrisburg by raising the Minimum Wage in Philly.

We are here today to let them know that if they are not true to their promises, if they hide behind the unjust laws that keep 200,000 working Philadelphians in poverty then we are ready to do what it takes to win.  By any means necessary.

In Seattle it took the Unions, active grassroots campaigning, community allies, and an independent socialist City Councilor working together, negotiating strategy and tactics, building alliances, working through disagreements, but all pushing in the same direction to win 15. And we had to piss off a lot of politicians along the way.

In Philadelphia, the fight for a $15 minimum wage is one of the most challenging fights there is. We are not Seattle. We are not SanFrancisco. We are not LA. We are the poorest major city in the country. The majority of Philadelphians are people of color.  And we are an overwhelmingly working class city in a state that has taken our rights away at every turn.

Harrisburg and the Chamber of Commerce that controls it will fight against every gain for working class people in Philly and across the state. And even when we win, they will fight to take it away.

They have told us we can’t raise our minimum wage.

Told us we can’t govern our own schools.

Told us we can’t pass our own gun control laws.

Philadephia has a long history of working class struggle, it hasn’t always been pretty, there are pieces of this city’s history that we are not proud of,  but over all

It is a story of our neighborhoods & communities

It is a story of abolitionists, socialists, working class radicals, and civil rights fighters.

It is a story of workers organizing to defend our class interests

these struggles have been organically linked with the Civil Rights movement. The fights to build multiracial unions. Don’t shop where you can’t work. For Affordable Housing. For Civil Service reform that opened the doors to city jobs to women and minorities based on qualifications instead of race, gender or political connections.

Who was on the other side for all these struggles?

Who opposed change at every turn and worked against the tide?

Who played every card in the deck to keep us divided by race and gender?  The Chamber of Commerce.

Names like:

  • Vare
  • Pew
  • Mitten
  • Gowan
  • Grundy
  • Mellon

And many others who hide behind the scenes of history. Rich white men who fought to defend their class interests, the interests of the bosses in this city and the state of PA. And what are their interests?  low wages and long hours, union-busting, and a working class divided by racial, gender, ethnic, and economic lines.

Make no doubt about it, we face strong, well funded opponents who know what they want and are willing to go to great lengths to defend their power, privilege and wealth. Because the one thing they fear most is a militant, united, multi racial, multi gendered working class movement.

We cannot match the Chamber dollar for dollar. We cannot beat the Chamber at their own game. We know they will never give us 15. They have never given us anything. Everything we have, we had to fight for.

So Today we are asking:

1- Governor Wolf and his allies in Harrisburg who say they support higher wages to follow NY Governor Cuomo’s lead and do whatever it takes to raise the minimum wage AND allow cities in Pennsylvania to set our own wages.

2 – Democratic Mayoral nominee Jim Kenney to stay strong in his support for a $15 minimum wage, to be a leader and advocate for raising the minimum wage and support binding legislation.

3- A new City Council to introduce and pass binding legislation to raise the minimum wage in Philadelphia.

August 15th – State Wide Day Of Action

JustinH_JustinH-R1-050-23AOn August 15th there were rallies and direct actions in Philly, Lancaster, Lehigh Valley, and Pittsburgh to call out Harrisburg’s inaction on raising the state minimum wage.

In Philly 15now was joined by allies from POWER, Fight For 15, Philly for Bernie, Green Party City Council Candidate Kristin Combs, Neighborhood networks, ROC, Temple 15now, Drexel law students and many others. We rallied at the Chamber of Commerce offices at 200 S Broad, then marched to Dillworth Plaza for closing remarks then shut down the McDonalds at Broad and Arch for 4 hours.


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McDonald’s is SHUT DOWN!!

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Struggle for $15 Minimum Wage Gains Local Endorsers

15 Now Philly, the group advocating for a $15 an hour minimum wage in Philadelphia, has recently secured important new endorsements from local allies in the fight for 15. Momentum has grown tremendously over the past two months after 15 Now held a large rally outside city hall on November 19th. Just days later, in Philadelphia and across the country, dozens of fast food workers walked off their jobs and took the streets demanding $15 an hour and a union.  These worker-driven mass actions demonstrated to low wage employers and local politicians that it is time for big changes to local minimum wage laws.


City Council didn’t take long to act. On December 11th, 2nd District City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson introduced a resolution to hold a hearing on the $15 minimum wage. The resolution was passed unanimously by City Council, and 15 Now anticipates the hearing on lifting the minimum wage will be held near the end of February.

In addition to growing traction in City Hall, new community endorsers have backed the $15 an hour minimum wage in Philly. The Martin Luther King Day of Action Resistance and Empowerment Coalition of faith and #BlackLivesMatter organizations has lifted the $15 an hour minimum wage demand as one of three key demands. Thousands of people will march on Center City on MLK Day (January 19th) to demand racial, economic and legal justice for people of color.

Additionally, the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS), a powerful alliance of community and labor groups in the city, has endorsed ’15 Now.’ The Philadelphia Restaurant Opportunities Center, a restaurant worker organizing group fighting along to eliminate the tipped minimum wage, is backing 15 Now.

Northwest Philadelphia movers-and-shakers Neighborhood Networks endorsed 15 Now. Neighborhood Networks has already begun applying pressure to City Council representatives, and has kicked off a massive petition drive in Germantown and Mt Airy.

The $15 an hour demand is gaining support rapidly as members push towards the February hearings. Other endorsed include the Temple Nurses Union, Youth United for Change (YUC),  the PFT Caucus of Working Educators, Councilwoman Janie Blackwell, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the Jewish Labor Committees, the PA Postal Workers union and others.

If your group would like to endorse ’15 Now Philly,’ please e-mail

And help us turn the heat up on City Council by making a phone call to your Council member today!

 You can donate critical resources directly to the Philly campaign here 

Or become a National Sustainer to help with the Philadelphia work and campaigns across the country1798048_701500889883806_1888545724_n

Latest Fundraising Push by 15 Now Philly

The Media Caucus of 15 Now Philly has launched it’s most ambitious fundraising drive to date.   Go to our Indiegogo fundraiser page and donate today.
Why should you donate to 15 Now Philly? This is a movement led by, and in the interests  of, working class people. As a working peoples’ movement, we depend on the contributions of workers. We don’t take money from foundations or corporations. In fact, you won’t see big business lining up with bags of cash for this cause.
We have expenses necessary to make a $15 minimum wage a reality – both in Philly but nationally. We have printing, media and other necessary expenses — and we also have to pay our hard-working organizer a living wage for her efforts. 
What can you do?  Donate as much as you can afford today. Ask friends, family and co-workers to donate. If you belong to a union, church or community organization, ask them to endorse and donate.
Unfortunately, just because we have a worthy cause, the money that we need to stay afloat will not just lay itself down at our feet… No… Just like with everything else – we have to fight for it!
So, please donate today. And share the link as widely as possible.

Temple University 15 Now Kick-Off Meeting a Rousing Success

Wednesday night, October 15th,  more than 40 college students gathered at the campus kickoff of ‘15 Now Temple University’, a new formation of undergraduate and graduate students who have joined the fight for a $15 minimum wage in Philadelphia and across the country. The teach-in featured several student speakers, many of whom are struggling to attend classes and pay for college, while working low wage jobs.

Jill Richards, who helped organize the meeting, said “This group is doing real work for real change, and we can’t survive on the current minimum wage. Once I heard Temple was starting its own chapter, I knew I had to do something about it.”TU1

Richards and several other organizers spent several weeks planning the meeting, inviting friends and coworkers, canvassing the community, and handing out flyers to students on campus. The high turnout mirrored the level of interest in boosting wages that citywide organizers have found in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods.

During her testimony, Temple student, worker and 15 Now organizer Nadia Adam explained, “I work retail full-time at $10.50 an hour, and I am a neuroscience major part time, which is not the easiest major to have. My child is in daycare all day, but these are the choices I have to make if I hope to make it out of poverty anytime soon. Making $15 an hour would let me escape some debt later on and have some spending money for my child.”

The students also led breakout group discussions on “$15 an hour vs. $10.10,” “$15 an hour and intersectionality,” and “the history of student movements.”


At Temple and universities across the country, students are increasingly positioned to join broader working class movements fighting for better living conditions. Student Jaq Basilis said, “The history of Temple is as a working class institution. It used to be a place where people could come get an affordable education and a decent job. Now our school is becoming privatized and exponentially more expensive. Only certain types of people can afford to go here, or we leave in tens of thousands of dollars of debt.”

Students left the meeting pledging to join 15 Now Philly, help canvass surrounding North Philly neighborhoods, and lobby city officials to take on the fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage.

Basilis added “I don’t want to feel like I’m in a different community on campus and in my neighborhood at 17th and Girard. We are part of the same struggle.”

Minimum Wage – Time to turn up the heat!

Minimum Wage – Time to turn up the heat!

The past few years have seen an increase in activity among low-wage workers. Many are demanding “$15 and a union.” As income inequality has increased, the number of workers forced to eke out a living at the minimum wage has grown.

The food preparation and restaurant industries are by far the largest pool of minimum wage workers, with more than 1.5 million employees. Other industries—such as sales, clerical, and warehousing—also employ hundreds of thousands of minimum wage workers. Many more workers subsist on wages above the minimum but well below well below $15 per hour.

Millions of workers would immediately see an increase in standard of living through an increased minimum wage. $15 is a minimum goal for working people to begin to achieve an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families. Anything less still leaves too many people below the poverty line.

The recent strikes by fast food workers for decent jobs and a living wage show the potential for struggle across the spectrum of low-wage industries. The retail giant Walmart has also been the target of worker organizing. Even the President acknowledges that the minimum wage, as it currently stands, is inadequate. Obama and the Democrats say they want to raise the minimum to an insulting $10.10 per hour. With this promise, they seek, in part, to neutralize the movement for $15.

Of course, the bosses claim that raising the minimum wage will destroy job creation. This is contradicted by the facts. In cities where the minimum has been increased unemployment has decreased.

While individual unions, like the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), have done a commendable job, the whole labor movement should make the $15 minimum a centerpiece of a united organizing campaign. There is a rising tide of working-class militancy in the U.S. Minimum wage campaigns are sprouting up across the country, and $15 an hour has been enacted in Seattle. Now is the time to strike while the iron is hot! Unions have the resources and organization to build and lead these movements to win concrete gains for the working class.