Philadelphia Teens Tackle Displacement and Gentrification

BY CLAIRE HALLORAN

Creators of POPPYN, a youth run news organization centered in Philadelphia, organized a screening and panel at Temple University’s Kiva Auditorium to inform the community about the threat of displacement and gentrification that can be found all around the city.

A crowd over over 50 people attended the event. It began with a screening of POPPYN’s 24th episode in where reporters investigated the displacement occurring in Philly’s neighborhoods, specifically in North and South Philadelphia.

Throughout the episode, reporters met with leading organizations such as the Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP), which promotes community representation in new construction projects to ensure that the community members have fair representation to avoid harmful gentrification, as well as advocating for legislation.

Ariel Morles is representative of WCRP.

“We build the leadership of low-income women to advocate for more affordable housing and we also build affordable housing and provide support of services to tenants,” Morles said.

POPPYN’s reporters also interviewed members of the Philadelphia Tenants Union, who work with the citizens to educate them on their rights as tenants, and provide information incase they are faced with eviction.

After the screening, seven panelists accepted questions from POPPYN’s leaders pertaining to their respective organization’s growth since the filming of the episode, and their goals for reducing displacement and gentrification.

Josh Graupera was on the panel representing Stadium Stompers, an organization that protests Temple’s plans to build an on-campus stadium due to fears of displacement and disruption in the surrounding community.

While working with Stadium Stompers, Graupera says he came to the realization that miscommunication and lack of community relations were allowing the gentrification to spread in North Central.

“I think a lot of it has to do with how the university presents themselves,” Graupera said. “During orientation, you hear all this stuff thats supposed to scare you. That story, that narrative, is false, but it creates a division.”

POPPYN uses social media and Youtube to promote their content online, as also has a 5:30 slot on Philadelphia’s Public Access channel.

POPPYN’s latest episodes and new clips can be found on their Youtube channel, whatsPOPPYN, or at uccollab.org/program/poppyn.