Why we vote: Voting has the power to restore

We vote collageVoting day is today November 4 . Polls are open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. (Find your poll location here).

By all accounts the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race for the first time, will hinge primarily on how voters feel Governor Tom Corbett has served the Commonwealth’s public schools, its children, and the communities who support them. This is a historic race, not because of who will occupy the Governor’s seat, but because this race was led by parents, educators and the vast majority of Pennsylvanians and Philadelphians who see our public schools as a right and a societal obligation, not a privilege or a “choice.” All of us at Parents United are voting today to exercise our rights and our voice. Here’s why we vote today. Tell us why you do!

Kendra Brooks, mother of four children, grandmother, Steel Elementary School SAC president, lifelong voter

IMG_1472It saddens me that AUSTERITY has been the formula used to further break down struggling communities.

It saddens me that issues like corporate tax breaks take precedence over fair wages for working families.

It saddens me that, instead of providing adequate staffing, they move to privatize public schools.

It saddens me to know that MY children’s school lost 27 staff in the last 4 years and gained 3 additional grades.

It saddens me go into a library with boxed books and no librarians.

It saddens me to know that my daughter’s roster was changed in October because they lost teachers.

Most of all it saddens me that Republicans try to make me feel that it’s my fault.

To that I say:  Not again.  I will vote, and I will rally up my neighbors and friends to vote.

I vote because MY VOTE COUNTS.

(Read more about Kendra here)

TonayiaTonayia Coffer, mother of four children, two of whom are school age and in the public schools, Northeast resident, Fox Chase Elementary School advocate, organizer, voter

I am voting because many have shed blood so that I could have this right.  I am voting because my vote speaks louder than my voice can carry, but this does not mean I will stop talking.  I am voting because I believe voting has the power to restore;  Restore funding to our starving public schools, restore teachers to our classrooms, restore jobs with fair pay to the unemployed. I am voting because I am tired of watching the rich become richer and the poor become poorer despite how hard they are working.  I am voting because it is necessary. (Read more about Tonayia here)

Leslie Tyler-voteLeslie Tyler, mother of two children in the public schools, communications specialist, first lady of Mother Bethel A.M.E., leader within P.O.W.E.R., Queen Village community leader, voter

Birmingham 1963. I vote because I can. My ancestors were physically and verbally abused, even arrested, fighting for the right to vote. I honor their determination and sacrifice by voting in every election. I vote because my voice matters and I can make a difference in a world where the odds seem stacked against us. Not only will I vote, but I will take my children to the polls with me so they can watch me vote. I am setting an example for them, so when they are 18 they will want to vote too.

Maurice Jones, father of one son in the Philadelphia public schools, Lea Elementary Home and School President, businessman, West Philadelphia community leader, voter

Maurice2I am voting because I have the benefit of the education and skill set to support my child’s educational needs, but there are a great deal of families in Philadelphia and across the state who have relied on those responsible for administrating a fair and equal education, but have been failed by those who have been negligent to fulfilled that promise.  I am voting for those who do not have a voice, but are intentionally, or unintentionally, not listened to. I am voting because it is important and to make a statement to those who are responsible that we are watching and listening.

I am voting because we need to do better and should have better.

I am voting because I have a right to.

Rebecca Poyourow2Rebecca Poyourow, mother of two children in the public schools, Ph.D., Cook-Wissahickon advocate, Roxborough Committeewoman, voter

I am voting because in the spring of 2011 I stood in a schoolyard with fellow parents–all of us devastated by the news of the severe state budget cuts that would undermine our children’s schools–and vowed that I would work as hard as I could to reverse those cuts.  Three years later, after lobbying, demonstrating, testifying, writing, fundraising, volunteering, and organizing, I am going to my polling place tomorrow and I will exercise my right to vote with particular relish.  I can’t wait to cast my vote for my children’s, and for all of our children’s education. (Listen to Rebecca on the Rick Smith show here)

Sabra Townsend, mother of one son in the public schools, special education advocate, voter

Sabra TownsendI VOTE.

I’m voting because I always vote. This year, in particular, I’m voting because Pennsylvania needs new leadership to provide fair funding for public schools, healthcare for all Pennsylvanians, and jobs that provide a living wage for families.  My family, all families, will benefit from a good education, accessible healthcare and income that will sustain us.

Pennsylvania – the Keystone state – needs to lead in job creation, not lag behind.  Pennsylvania – with colleges that attract students from around the world – ought to have public education that prepares her citizens for those same universities.  Philadelphia – the cradle of liberty and home to the first hospital in the United States – should be able to provide healthcare for all who need it.

I vote because I care about my hometown, my commonwealth and my country.


Robin Roberts, mother of three children in the public schools, health care professional, past president C.W. Henry Parent Teacher Association, opting out of high stakes testing, voter

photoI vote because it was a hard fought right. My people were not authorized to vote because they Black. They were not authorized because they were women. They fought for me to have this right, knowing that some would die, many would be threatened with loss of livelihood and opportunity. They realized what I now know, democracy is not guaranteed but must be fought for at every chance. If not, there are those who only want us to return to their “good old days”. My ancestors and my children are better than that. (Read more about Robin here)

Tomika Anglin, mother of one child and two graduates, Enon Tabernacle member, quality education advocate, opposed to high stakes testing, voter


I vote because my vote is my voice. Politicians have a hard time hearing; votes perk up their ears to my concerns. My vote says that I am here and my concerns deserve attention. I vote because lots of votes means lots of power. The more votes that come from my community, the more our concerns take center stage. I vote because I need to believe that when I vote my voice is heard. It is my moral obligation as a citizen of this country to exercise this right. (Read more about Tomika here)

Netroots2014Helen Gym, mother of three children in the public schools, 8th ward committeewoman, founder of Public School Notebook+Parents United for Public Education, ED of Asian Americans United, voter

I vote because I believe that elections are led by the people, not by politicians. I vote because this election has proven that in a very real way. I vote because I’m deeply moved by the power and voice of ordinary folks who believe that a quality public school system can still be had despite the naysayers, despite the cynics and because they and we are leading that charge from the ground up. I vote because my beliefs tap – not into the negative energy – but into incredible amounts of positive energy, faith and love that are the real key to transforming our schools, our children, and our city.