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Help Us Save Democracy...Again: Voter Canvass Training

Broad Street Love, 315 S. Broad Street

Join The Philadelphia Citizen and Changing The Conversation Together to learn how personal storytelling and active listening can increase voter turnout — then take what you learn to get unlikely voters to the polls to preserve our democracy.

Hosted by The Philadelphia Citizen in partnership with Changing The Conversation, Broad Street Love, WURD Radio, Community College of Philadelphia, and Young Involved Philadelphia, we’ll delve into how the method of nonpartisan deep canvassing has turned nonvoters into voters over the last few elections with the help of volunteers like you. Then, you’ll learn how to take your own voting stories door to door in group outings from June through the November election.

Tell Your Story. Get Out The Vote.
This event is free and open to the public.



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One of the founding tenets of The Philadelphia Citizen is to get people the resources they need to become better, more engaged citizens of their city.

We hope to do that in our Good Citizenship Toolkit, which includes a host of ways to get involved in Philadelphia — whether you want to contact your City Councilmember about the challenges facing your community, get those experiencing homelessness the goods they need, or simply go out to dinner somewhere where you know your money is going toward a greater good.

Find an issue that’s important to you in the list below, and get started on your journey of A-plus citizenship.

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RECAP: 2024 Integrity Icon Awards

Last week, The Citizen honored five winners of our annual contest to “name and fame” City of Philadelphia workers who exemplify service, dedication and ethics. (They looked great too.) Check it out

RECAP: 2024 Integrity Icon Awards

Last week, The Citizen honored five winners of our annual contest to “name and fame” City of Philadelphia workers who exemplify service, dedication and ethics. (They looked great too.) Check it out

Six months into a new mayoral administration, with new faces and new policies still unfolding, there’s one thing about city government that remains the same: the unsung, unelected workers behind the scenes who are ensuring Philadelphians get the good service we deserve.

On Thursday, May 23, 2024, The Citizen “named and famed” five of those 24,000 workers with our fourth annual Integrity Icon awards, in partnership with Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Accountability Lab (AL).

AL created the Integrity Icon Awards to honor public workers who possess and demonstrate the highest standards of integrity. The project’s larger goal: Inspire all public workers, including future generations, to strive for excellence.

Our Philadelphia Integrity Icons are high-integrity public service employees who are respectful and caring. They know their work makes a difference to people’s lives, act in a trustworthy and transparent way to solve problems the best they can, treat everyone equally, without regard to politics or influence — and go above and beyond to provide good service to Philadelphians.

The 2024 Integrity Icon Awards

This year’s Icons:

Adara Combs is the City’s first Victim Advocate. She has become an essential connector, pushing to improve victim services at a time when we more clearly understand the links between victimization and perpetration of crime.

Eric Kapenstein worked 10-hour days for 340 days in 2020 to ensure a fair and safe election in Philadelphia. Now, the Deputy City Commissioner — a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic town — is gearing up to make voting just as safe and even more accessible in 2024.

Lesha Sanders is Director of Problem Solving Courts for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania. A one-woman resource hub, Sanders provides support, supplies and referrals to any justice-involved people she encounters in the course of her day. “Her status quo,” as one former colleague puts it, “is above and beyond.”

Deion Sumpter is Director of the City’s Gun Violence Intervention program. In this role, he faces the brutal reality of gun violence everyday. But he does it with an infectious smile, seemingly endless energy and big-hearted love even on weekends and evenings — something that trickles down to everyone in his office.

Tracey T. Williams is Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Records. She turned her role managing the 20,000 cubic feet of the City Archives into becoming a tireless advocate for victims of deed fraud in Philadelphia — at no one’s urging but her own.

These folks brought their selves, coworkers, bosses, friends and family to the ballroom of the Fitler Club for an Oscars-style celebration of unsung jobs well done. It was a night to be proud, and, on occasion, loud.

City of Philadelphia Chief Administrative Officer Camille Duchaussee introduced the event on behalf of the Parker administration. “Your dedication and ethical conduct, your unwavering commitment to service, your transparency, compassionate communication, embodies the very essence of servant leadership,” she said. “You remind us every day that true leadership is measured not by title, but by the principles we hold and the impact we have on our communities — and that leadership is defined not just by what we achieve, but by how we achieve it.”

Former PA Governor and Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell made a surprise video appearance, shouting out the day-to-day interactions city workers have with residents. “Most Philadelphians don’t see a councilman. They certainly don’t see the mayor. But they see the city workers, and various important and they get the impression of how government is serving them by the jobs the members of the workforce do,” he said. “Being a city worker is sometimes a very lonely job. Know there are people who take notice.”

How it started

Before another former Philadelphia Mayor, Michael Nutter, handed out the awards — which included a framed certificate, flowers, and a pink lightning bolt cookie trophy — he spoke about the genesis of the contest, telling the crowd of 150 that Accountability Lab, presents “these awards all over the world … But there’s one city in the United States of America with whom they partner, and that is the City of Philadelphia.” Thanks to the success of the program here, AL is now looking to start the program in other American cities.

In 2018, The Citizen brought Accountability Lab’s Cheri-Leigh Erasmus to speak about Integrity Icon at our inaugural Ideas We Should Steal Festival. Then The Citizen turned around and partnered with AL to “steal” the idea. Since that first year, the public has nominated, a panel of high-integrity judges have selected, and The Citizen has honored 20 awe-inspiring city employees, folks who work in departments ranging from parks to police, arts to immigrant affairs, and beyond.

Watch the event

Photos from a night of celebration

Larry Platt and Roxanne Patel Shepelavy.
Tracey Williams.
Lesha Sanders.
Deion Sumpter.
Eric Kapenstein.
Adara Combs.
Mayor Nutter and Adara Combs.
Richard Gordon III, one of The Citizen’s first Integrity Icons.
Former PA Governor and Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell in a video.
Michael Nutter.
Left to right: Chief Public Safety Director Adam Geer, John Wilson and Jaime Meekins.
Chief Administrative Officer Camille Duchaussee.
Left to right: Tony Lapp, Janet Brennan, Mikayla Brailsford, Arona Gur, Lesha Sanders, Donald Adkins, Link Sanders and Jason Smith
Left to right: Dominic Sadler, Dante Sadler, PA State Representative Anthony Bellmon, and Mark Johnson-Taylor
Former Mayor Michael Nutter and Tracey Williams.
Integrity Icon Judge Amy Kurland, the city’s first Inspector General, and Bob Drake.
Left to right: Everette Nichols, Steven Blunt and Owen Peters.

Mayor Michael Nutter and Lesha Sanders.
Left to right: Anton Allen, Sondra Allen, Lashonda Culbreath and Joel Culbreath, holding a future Integrity Icon.

Left to right: Oronde_McClain, Kimberly Burrell (center), Thaddeus Parker.
Adam Geer (left) and Oronde McClain.
Left to right: Joy Walters, Donald Adkins, Mikayla Brailsford and Arona Gur.
Left to right: Courtney Weiss, Leilyn Nowaczynski, John Hansberry, Eric Kapenstein and City Commissioner Seth Bluestein.
Afra Muhammad (left) and Kimberly Fields.
Educators Leila Monroe (left) and Ijeoma Iheoma.
From left to right: Jack Kapenstein, Eric Kapenstein, Bonnie Kapenstein, Sarah Maiellano and Samantha Kapenstein.
Left to right: Yoana Koleva, Jason Smith and Stoyan Vasilev.
Left to right: Roxanne Patel Shepelavy, Larry Platt,  Accountability Lab’s Marian Martinez and Michael Nutter.
Mayor Michael Nutter (left) and Deion Sumpter.
Left to right: Adam Geer, Evangelia Manos-Conroy, Ruth Moyer and Melvin Floyd.


Larry Platt, Camille Duchaussee, Adara Combs, Eric Kapenstein, Lesha Sanders, Deion Sumpter, Tracey Williams, Roxanne Patel Shepelavy and Michael Nutter at the Integrity Icon Awards. Photo by Albert Yee.

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