Rise Up! Save the Date for our Annual Celebration

Rise Up
Mark your calendar! On Thursday, October 19 join us as we 
Rise Up to protect the values of equality and opportunity that we treasure so deeply in this nation. The magnificent Fringe Arts will serve as the backdrop for a wonderful night of food, drink and celebration. Most importantly, we will honor others who have Risen Up, including:
  • our Tenant Clients for standing up to their landlords and trying to change the system in Landlord-Tenant Court
  • attorney Stephen F. Gold for advancing the rights of people with disabilities through decades of radical litigation and advocacy
  • Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Deborah R. Gross. 

Stay tuned for more information on tickets and sponsorships. Click here to download our Save the Date.

Extended School Year Services Presentation for Parents

On Wednesday, May 3, at 9:30 a.m., staff attorney Lee Awbrey and private attorney Heidi Konkler-Goldsmith will give a presentation on Extended School Year Services (ESY) for parents of students with special needs in the School District of Philadelphia.  The presentation will include information from our  recently settled ESY lawsuit  and our continued monitoring of the settlement. 

The training will be held at the United Way Building, 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.  RSVPs appreciated: Lee Awbrey at  lawbrey@pubintlaw.org  

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Job Opportunity: Environmental and Food Justice Lawyer

We are seeking applications for an experienced staff attorney to lead our environmental and food justice project. The attorney will be expected to provide legal representation, policy and strategic guidance to community clients; and engage in advocacy, community organizing and coalition-building. The attorney will directly represent clients in legal actions and help clients to connect with other legal and technical expertise needed to achieve their goals. Please head to our website if you are interested in the position, and please forward this information to your networks.

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Our New Website

Web Page
If you clicked on any of the links in this newsletter, you may have noticed something different: our website! Thanks to a grant from The Philadelphia Foundation, and thanks to the hard work of designer Jason Killinger, developer Jeremiah Misfeldt, and our staff, we totally revamped our website. We hope that your browsing experience will be nicer, cleaner and more intuitive. As with anything new, there might be some errors or bugs. If you notice anything broken, or even if you just have general comments on the site, please email Michael Berton at mberton@pubintlaw.org. Happy browsing! 

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Litigation Continues in Order to Ensure Accountability in 
Philly's May Primary

Voting Line
Last month we filed a case on behalf of the Committee of Seventy and several candidates for elected office asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to direct the President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas to follow a state law about appointing interim election overseers to serve in the place of Philadelphia City Commissioners whenever a question related to a Home Rule Charter appears on the ballot. There will be such a question this May, bur for at least the last 15 years this state law has not been followed in Philadelphia.

The Supreme Court dismissed our original case without deciding it on the merits. We have since filed a new case in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Here's what's at stake: If our lawsuit is successful and the law is followed, the City Commissioners will have to sit out not just this May's primary but any future elections that involve Home Rule Charter questions. Since 2002, the full enforcement of this section of the election code would have disqualified the City Commissioners from overseeing close to 75 percent of elections. As such, we and our partners in the Better Philadelphia Elections Coalition are also advocating for City Council and the Mayor to replace the commissioners structure with a  Department of Elections that is led by independent experts who are appointed and confirmed. 

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Board Member Spotlight: Michael Hynes

Michael Hynes
Congratulations to our April board member of the month, Michael Hynes! Founding partner of Hynes Keller & Hernandez, LLC, Michael has been a member of the board since 2013. He serves on the Law Center's Governance and Litigation Committees. About volunteering with the Law Center, he said, " What I like most about volunteering is it allows me to get outside my crowded little bubble and help put people together with the resources and outcomes they are trying to achieve, but can't necessarily achieve on their own. As a father of three young boys, I spend a lot of time 'talking the talk' about treating people with respect and helping others, but the Law Center and volunteering allows me to 'walk the walk' a bit too." Congratulate Michael by liking his post on our Facebook page.

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