A Teen’s Guide to Philly for the DNC

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DNC_Donkey_AndreaSchonekerI’m a politically interested teen. And I grew up in Philadelphia.

So allow me to tell you the top 5 things you need to know about Philly…from a 16-year-old’s perspective.

#1 Teens Political Expectations and Concerns

Being unable to vote, while simultaneously having political opinions is a huge frustration for teens everywhere, and Philly is no exception. Especially considering the importance of this election. So if you are in town for the week, ask a teen what they think. We have lots of things to say about everything from the immature campaign marketing used by candidates, to the supreme court decisions hanging in the balance.

#2 Teens Know First Hand How Budgets (And Politics) Affect Education

Philadelphia has had a budget crisis nearly every year since 2009. The School District was forced to borrow $250 million in 2015, because of the extreme lack of funds. So this school year, we faced the possibility of teachers not getting paid and a teacher’s strike. The concerns over how our schools are going to be paid for is huge, having parents and student alike biting their nails.

#3 Philly’s Youth Take Notice Of Hipsters And Gentrification

Just as in many cities across the U.S., Philadelphia faces major gentrification in our oldest neighborhoods. But as the neighborhoods get richer and culturally vibrant, with nice restaurants and bars and parks, the schools aren’t necessarily getting any better. This leaves some children attending neighborhood schools that haven’t followed the same path of gentrification as its neighborhood, meaning fewer resources, a lower standard of education, and teachers who are disengaged.

#4 The DNC Is Just Not Our Kind Of Party

Philadelphia is the first real American city, as well as the first national capital. We are the home of Ben Franklin, and the Liberty Bell. In all, we are pretty awesome! So why are teens like me not so excited about the city spending 43 million dollars on security and other preparation? Well, we have bigger concerns. The lack of funds for school, the gentrification in our historical neighborhoods, and the fear of disappointment in this upcoming election may all tie into why we are so lackluster despite this important convention.

#5 Philly Political Art

The DNC Donkeys have been causing a stir in Philadelphia. There are 57 of these fiberglass, painted donkeys scattered around the city. 50 representing each state, one representing Washington D.C, and six for various U.S. territories. Of course alongside patriotism comes commentary and criticism. Some artistic activists have been placing paper machê  “poop” beneath the donkey sculptures scattered around Philly, in efforts to bring attention to their causes. So far, several of the poops (and for brief periods the donkeys) have been stolen, or removed.


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