On Monday, June 18, nearly 300 members and allies of congregations in Northwest Philadelphia affiliated with POWER: An Interfaith Movement, gathered at St. Raymond Catholic Church for the organization’s third Economic Justice Forum. POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild) is an ecumenical organization that is working collaboratively with 40 religious congregations, including 10 Catholic parishes, to help city residents who are poor and marginalized.

Msgr. David Benz, pastor of St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish, opened the meeting with a declaration that “our faith calls us to act for justice, to give voice to the suffering, the jobless, those in need – that’s what we’re here for tonight.”

The forum highlighted the efforts of these Germantown, Roxborough, Mt. Airy, West Oak Lane and Chestnut Hill congregations to promote new policies for increasing access to living wage jobs among unemployed city residents. POWER leaders gave voice to individuals suffering long-term joblessness and presented a well-researched proposal for attacking unemployment in Philadelphia.