UrbEd Year-In-Review 2020-2021
A Letter from our Executive Director
UrbEd Family and Supporters, Today, as we are still fighting COVID-19 we must remember those we lost and remember there is still work to be done to combat systemic racism and access to basic human needs. From a pandemic to the public demand for anti-racist schools, we have been through a year like no other. The challenges of the last year have reinforced the idea that a fully funded, safe, and healthy public school education is a right everyone in the School District of Philadelphia deserves: and it is something we have not, and will not, stop fighting for. When UrbEd started in 2016, the founding team led with a commitment to Youth-Led advocacy: bringing student voices to the front and demanding they be heard. Five years later we have turned that idea into a rapidly expanding non-profit. We can not go back to “normal” when the “normal” has left hundreds excluded. As we go through a time of immense changes and celebrate our senior team members as they graduate, UrbEd will continue to produce content and programming that amplifies the voices of all Black students, Asian students, LGBTQ+ students, Indigenous students, and all 200,000+ in the district. We thank you for supporting us, together we are making a lasting impact on the way we advocate for Philadelphia’s public schools. So as we pass the torch we must remember that fighting for an urban education starts with every member of the community.
Tamir D. Harper, Executive Director
Our Impact Reimagine Scholarship
Strategic Planning Partnerships
Empowering Student Reps
GUIDES Full team
Advocacy Guides and Videos Imagine if there were resources for students by students with all the information needed to rally for change. From Intersectional Feminism, Everything you need to know about upcoming elections, to Disparities in the School System, our series of UrbEd Advocacy guides have expanded and continue to provide all the resources needed for students and our community of advocates. We have produced guides like… Finding Your Elected Officials Intersectional Feminism Disparities in the School System 2021 Judicial Elections: Voting Guide Testify @ School Board Meetings Video
Good Trouble Conversation UrbEd brought together Philadelphia activists, elected officials, and voting organizations to provide information to young people concerning all things voting in Pennsylvania. We were joined by the Committee of Seventy, the Philadelphia Youth Commission, Student Voice, State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, and more.
Strategic Planning This year UrbEd completed its first strategic plan. Throughout the process, UrbEd engaged stakeholders and had a non-profit veteran facilitate authentic conversations so that UrbEd can continue to grow and have an impact in Philadelphia and beyond.
Reimagine Scholarship The UrbEd team was so excited to present the 2021 Reimagine Scholarship, awarding $1,500 to a Philadelphia senior to make their post-secondary dreams come true in addition to $500 to four incredible students to go towards books and/or additional costs. We are so excited to give students the chance to reimagine their career, education, and reimagine what they can do.
“Hello my name is Zahir Cromwell and I live in Philadelphia. This year has not been easy for me, but I did it. I graduated high school this year and now I am going to college. I'm beyond thankful for being awarded this scholarship. I'm going to school for secondary education in political science.” - Zahir Cromwell
First Cohort of UrbEd Fellows This year UrbEd successfully launched the fellowship program engaging current high school students in critical thinking, discussions, political education, and facilitating change in their communities through two service projects concerning homelessness and mental health. Fellows also engaged in multiple professional development workshops throughout the year ranging from budgeting to writing emails. In the fall we welcomed nine fellows in this program. Throughout the year, we have been proud of their growth and excited to engage a larger cohort next year, expanding our programming, and giving the fellows even more opportunities to advocate for public schools.
Empowering Student Representatives This year, in partnership with the Philly Black Student Alliance (PBSA), launched a campaign to increase the training and access to the student board representatives on the board of education. UrbEd has been able to successfully work with the school district of Philadelphia to increase the training and is in conversations with other organizations and lawmakers to provide voting rights to student representatives.
ACLU Lawsuit UrbEd served as the lead complainant, represented by the ACLU against the Philadelphia board of education due to their violation of the sunshine act when they limited speakers and the speaking time. The board of education made significant changes but there is still work to be done in order to stop the silencing of student voices.
Supported Virtual Tutoring In partnership with the School District of Philadelphia office of student leadership, we facilitated opportunities for college students to support Philadelphia students during virtual learning. UrbEd had over 100 signups of students across Philadelphia sign up to be a tutor.
Partnership with Bullhorn The Bullhorn is an entirely student-run newspaper that aims to give a voice to students who might not otherwise be able to express their opinions, this year UrbEd was so excited to partner with the Bullhorn to bring the School District’s Board of Education Action Items to the city of Philadelphia in an understandable and equitable way- all in line with our Empowering Student Representatives Campaign. We look forward to every collaboration in the future as we advocate for our youth.
This Year We Also..... Added our most diverse team yet Led workshops virtually for Philadelphia students Met with Elected Leaders throughout Pennsylvania Engaged over 60,000+ people digitally Participated in Panels bringing Youth Advocacy to the community
Thank You. We are not only the leaders of tomorrow, we are leading a movement today. For more information, please visit our website at urbedadvocates.org For Questions Email firstname.lastname@example.org