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[MANIFESTO] The Philadelphia Citizen: What Happened. What It Means. What You Can Do About It.

  • 11.4% of registered voters showed up at the polls in the 2013 city-wide primary
  • 8.1% of Philadelphians describe themselves as active in their neighborhoods (31st of the top fifty cities)
  • 28% of city residents do not have access to broadband (among the worst in the nation)
  • And yet: 60% of city residents describe Philadelphia as a “great place to live”

What do these statistics mean? That all the great stuff happening in Philadelphia – the restaurant scene, the influx of millennials and immigrants, the vibrant arts community – has happened despite having one hand tied behind our back. That local democracy is broken, in the city where it was born. That the principles first penned 238 years ago in a basement room at 7th and Market, identifying our most fundamental rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, while self-evident, are not self-renewing. That Philadelphia doesn’t just need another news organization. That it needs a movement of citizens who refuse to outsource leadership to a political class long characterized by an insidious transactional culture.

It’s time for The Philadelphia Citizen: a non-profit, non-partisan media organization that will be owned by the citizens of Philadelphia (think: Green Bay Packers) with a dual mission: to provide deeply reported journalism that emphasizes solutions that can move our region forward, and to actively reignite citizenship in and around Philadelphia. It will identify our innovators, call out those who stand in the way of progress and shine a light on the next generation of Philly leadership – all while giving Philadelphians the interactive tools they need to become more involved, engaged citizens.

For months now, The Citizen has been hosting smart, curated events featuring emerging thought leaders interacting with a young, diverse, ultra-engaged audience. In the coming weeks, related content will be posted here and sent to our growing mailing list. By year’s end, we plan on launching an interactive website, the purpose of which is to mobilize an army of citizens to take their city back from the purveyors of the status quo. Continue reading