#RightToBreathe Mobilization


Planting the Roots of Resistance at the gates of the refinery.jpgOn May 7th, Philly Thrive and Action United organized the “Right to Breathe Mobilization.” 300 people from Philadelphia and beyond gathered at the gates of PES’s South Philly oil refinery to take a stand against the refinery’s expansion. Philly joined activists from around to world in "Break Free 2016," a wave of resistance to fossil fuel infrastructure across the US and in 11 countries worldwide.

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Rejecting Refinery Expansion: PES’s Choice

On March 22nd, over 30 Philly Thrive members took action at the headquarters of Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES). PES has recently put in a proposal to build an oil export terminal in a part of South Philly called Southport.


The port would increase how much oil the refinery can process. Further investment in fossil fuel infrastructure like this puts our health, climate, and economic future at risk. We’ve been demanding PES to stop poisoning us, but this expansion would do just the opposite. Thrivers --  including action circle members, Thrive supporters, and youth organizers from VietLEAD -- came with a clear message that PES must scrap this expansion plan.

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Philly's Oil Refinery Reality

The art action circle has just finished this beautiful graphic for the movement! It is all about the ways Philadelphia Energy Solutions poisons our city, and how dangerous expanding their refinery would be to Philly's future. One more example of how action circles are building the Right to Breathe movement!

Refinery Infographic

Coming Together: Our First Movement Assembly

On February 16th Philadelphians from across the city who are active or interested in joining Thrive gathered for the first Movement Assembly. Around forty people attended to hear reportbacks from action circles, discuss Thrive’s strategic direction, and build community by sharing food, laughing, and taking deep breaths together. Feb_2016_All-Circles__2.jpg

It was a powerful sight to see so many people united behind the Right to Breathe campaign Each of Thrives action circles had members who came. There were also Thrive members still in the process of forming their circles, and a group of our allies from Action United who came to participate. Some folks there had built deep connections over months of working together. Others were meeting for the first time.

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Launching the Campaign with a Declaration of our Right to Breathe

On Monday, November 23rd, Philly Thrive launched our campaign as fifty Philadelphia residents assembled at the Center City headquarters of Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) to consider a declaration of our right to breathe clean air.


In the spirit of revolutionary declarations our city is known for, we heard testimony from residents concerned about the oil refinery and its impact on public health. “I am sick and tired of being sick,” said Malique Diarra a member of ACTION United and Southwest Philly resident. “The oil refinery is poisoning our air. We need a health study on how the emissions are impacting us and then we need PES to pay for our health bills based on that study.”

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First Campaign Training


On Saturday, October 24th, Philly Thrive hosted the first orientation training for the Right to Breathe Campaign. About fifteen folks attended -  some from South, West, and North Philly,  some repping organizations, some longtime Philly residents and some newcomers to the city - all concerned about our air and climate.

We got to know each other, sharing stories about how the fossil fuel economy affects our lives. We shared what gives us the strength to envision an economy that works for people and planet.

And we dug into strategies and steps we could take to build the Right to Breathe Campaign for clean air and climate justice.