On April 14, protesters gathered at College Green to show their support and solidarity with the “Stadium Stompers” — a gathering of West Philadelphia community members and Temple University students united against the construction of the new stadium.
The Penn protesters were brought together by leaders in Students Organizing for Unity and Liberation.
Penn students walked with other protesters to Broad Street where they stopped rush hour traffic to voice their concerns. Many protesters held up signs against the new stadium.
They also brought attention to other causes, including the fight for a $15/hour minimum wage.
Activists said the planned $100 million dollar, 35,0000-seat stadium is going to hurt the North Philadelphia community while improving the life of more affluent residents. They hope to bring an end to gentrification, which is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.”
The communities that will be most affected by the construction of the stadium are predominantly populated by people of color, activists said.
SOUL has been using social media to bring attention to this cause. On the new Tumblr blog started by SOUL members, “Igniting the SOUL,” students have posted their personal views about gentrification, and why others should be concerned about it.
On Facebook students held up signs with the hashtag #StandWithStompers to show their support. SOUL highlighted how gentrification ties into systematic racism:
“SOUL agrees with Stadium Stompers that it’s beyond time to value and protect the black communities supporting and surrounding Philadelphia universities. At the very least, this means not destroying their homes, recreation centers and neighborhoods for another football stadium, more campus buildings or subsidized housing for faculty and students.”
Temple addressed community concerns in “Temple Now,” saying that they are listening to community concerns and “Every aspect of the stadium experience, from the construction to its day-to-day operations, will be planned and executed with the priorities and well-being of Temple’s neighbors in mind.”Comments powered by Disqus
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