Penn Young Democratic Socialists of America will host Philadelphia city council candidate Amanda McIllmurray on Feb. 8.
The event — titled “Meet and Hang” — will be held at the LGBT Center's Kaplan-Perry Reading Room. Mclllmurray is running for one of the at-large seats on the Philadelphia city council. At-large members are elected citywide.
College senior and Penn YDSA outreach chair Ben Moss-Horwitz wrote to The Daily Pennsylvanian that the chapter looks forward to connecting with McIllmurray.
The event itself will be “laidback,” Moss-Horwitz wrote, with opportunities for members of the Penn community to connect with McIllmurray and ask her questions.
McIllmurray said her choice to talk with Penn students was a deliberate one.
“Often, I think Penn students in particular are pitted against longer-term community members when it comes to housing and gentrification, when really we are all being impacted by this stuff," Mclllmurray said. "We all stand to benefit from working together."
McIllmurray went on to tell the DP that she prides herself as an “organizer.” She added that when making the decision to run for council, she wanted to hear from members of the community in order to make a platform that would accurately represent the needs of her constituents.
“I sat down with over 200 community leaders across the city, one on one to just talk to them about what are the issues impacting their families and communities," Mclllmurray said. "I asked them, ‘What do you think we can actually accomplish?’”
Moss-Horwitz wrote that Penn YDSA has not technically endorsed any candidates yet, but the Philadelphia Democratic Socialists of America has endorsed Mcllmurray, and she has been an organizer with Reclaim Philadelphia — which he described as “two of [Penn YDSA’s] closest community partners.”
McIllmurray added that her choice to run to represent Philadelphia is heavily based on her identity as a Philadelphian herself.
“ … [My family] was evicted from our home in Fishtown during early gentrification. I’ve been without healthcare for a lot of my life. I went to Philly public schools. I have many family members who are struggling with addiction. I’m a Philadelphian, and I know what people here are living through and experiencing,” McIllmurray said.
McIllmurray told the DP that her platform spans many different issues ranging from the housing crisis and public safety to workers’ unionization rights. She added that she sees the "interconnectedness of all of these issues."
McIllmurray reflected on her membership with the Philadelphia DSA, emphasizing how the organization lends itself to connecting young people.
“I’ve been a member of DSA since 2016 … I’m also a young person — I just turned 30 two months ago — and I think it’s really important to organize young folks, and organize college students.”
If elected, McIllmurray will serve as the youngest and first openly queer member of the city council in its history.
Moss-Horwitz wrote that Penn YDSA is “super excited” to host McIllmurray. Though Penn YDSA has hosted past political candidates such as State Rep. candidate Paul Prescod, the organization has yet to host a city council candidate.
“The young, working class left in Philadelphia is building a movement of socialist [electors]," Moss-Horwitz wrote. "And [Penn YDSA is] excited to see that movement grow."