MLK Day Family Experience with Guests: Sen. Nikil Saval and Stephanie Sena

Monday, January 17, 2022
9:00 – 11:00 a.m.


Join us online at 9:00 a.m. for opening remarks from PA State Senator Nikil Saval and Stephanie Sena, two extraordinary community members fighting for housing justice in the Philadelphia area. Their presentation will be followed by a family-friendly Meeting for Worship and age-appropriate read-aloud with upper school students. Synchronous programming will conclude by 11:00 a.m., after which we hope you will take a deep dive into this incredible list of activities organized into the four roles of social change. Share your work and what you have learned with our community on social media #FSSMLKDay.

Remember, educating ourselves about injustice is not enough. What we do with our knowledge is what matters. The four roles of social change can help you turn knowledge into action.

Special Guests:

Senator Nikil Saval is a father, husband, writer, and organizer. He’s proud to be raising his sons, Ishaan and Mayukh, in South Philadelphia with his wife, Shannon Garrison, a historic preservationist. Saval’s organizing is deeply rooted in the labor movement. From 2009 to 2013, he was a volunteer labor organizer with UNITE HERE, organizing boycotts against luxury hotel developers to fight for the rights of housekeepers and helping to win back the jobs of noontime aides laid off because of Governor Tom Corbett’s budget cuts.

Saval also has extensive experience in community and electoral organizing. In 2016, he was a leader in U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. From this experience, Saval went on to co-found Reclaim Philadelphia, a progressive organization working for racial, gender, and economic justice throughout the Philadelphia area. In 2018, he organized campaigns to fight for change in the Democratic Party and was elected as Leader of Philadelphia’s Democratic Second Ward. Saval was the first Asian American to hold the position of Ward Leader in Philadelphia. Learn more here.

Stephanie Sena is the inaugural Anti-Poverty Fellow and leads the Initiative to End Poverty and Inequality, an interdisciplinary enterprise housed in the Charles Widger School of Law at Villanova University. Sena started teaching at Villanova in 2003 after completing her first post-graduate degree in history at Villanova. Her area of expertise is the intersection of poverty, policy and sustainability. She serves on two sustainability committees at Villanova, working with other members of the Villanova community to accomplish the sustainability goals of living wage for all Villanova employees and healthcare access for Villanova graduate students.

Sena is also the founder and executive director of the Student-Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia (SREHUP), a non-profit community and rehousing center, operating since 2011. The center provides shelter, food, community, legal aid and medical care to individuals experiencing homelessness. SREHUP has a proven track record of success in helping shelter clients achieve housing. SREHUP links guests who stay at the shelter to social workers and services they need to sustain permanent housing. Sena is part of a working group of lawyers across the country who litigate to protect the unhoused and tent encampment occupants from homeless encampment evictions, also known as “sweeps.” In protecting the civil rights of the unhoused, Sena calls attention to the need for suitable and accessible housing, social services and living wage policy. Sena advocates for housing as a human right. Learn more here.

Special thanks to Friends Select School's Family Association Social Justice Committee for compiling these activities and sharing them with our community.

Thanks to our guests, Senator Nikil Saval, Stephanie Sena, and to the Friends Select upper school student volunteers.

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