Rick Krajewski is a West Philadelphia neighbor, criminal justice organizer, educator and artist running for State Representative in the 188th State House District. Rick is running to champion our West Philly values in Harrisburg by putting people before profit and fighting for the future we all deserve. As a working class multi-racial Black man raised by a single mother, Rick knows courage and community are fundamental for us to thrive. As an organizer, he knows it takes people power to transform systems for the better.
As a West Philadelphian, Rick has worked for criminal justice reform and access to public education. Since 2016, Rick has been an organizer with Reclaim Philadelphia, fighting to put working class people at the forefront. In the 2017 general election, Rick led a team of 200 volunteers in our neighborhoods to elect Larry Krasner, the most progressive District Attorney in the country on historic platform of ending mass incarceration, ending cash bail, and fighting corruption in the police department and within the DA’s office itself.
Rick was a leading force in establishing the participatory defense hub in the Kingsessing neighborhood of the 188th District to serve as a resource for community members who have loved ones facing the criminal justice system. In the 2019 primary election, Rick convened a historic first coalition of 15 community organizations to engage candidates for judgeship in direct conversation with the communities in their potential jurisdictions.
Rick understands that government must be held accountable in order to truly represent the people they were elected to serve. That is why he has built broad coalitions across communities, because we must work together to ensure that West Philly is for all of us, not a place for big developers to turn a profit or private entities to take over our schools.
Growing up in poverty in the Bronx, Rick’s mother taught him that he had to fight for what he needed because no one else was going to do it for him. She taught him how to survive hardship and overcome struggle. Rick first came to West Philly to study at the University of Pennsylvania, where he co-founded a campus group for mixed-race students. Upon graduation, he worked as a software engineer and taught volunteer programming classes at Huey Elementary School before it was closed down and replaced by a charter school. Rick joined Reclaim as a volunteer and then rose in leadership to become a full-time organizer, transitioning out of his engineering job to commit to community organizing.
Rick will bring the courage he inherited from his mother and his demonstrated ability to build community power into the legislature. It will take all of us fighting together to make West Philly housing affordable, to transform the criminal justice system, to make public education accessible to all, and to ensure that all of our needs are met. As an organizer, a son, an engineer, a West Philly neighbor, Rick understands that, and he is ready to make the office of the 188th State House Representative a hub to make it happen.
Why Rick is Running
I know what it means to feel powerless. Throughout my life, I’ve experienced the realities and trauma of racism, white supremacy, capitalism, the war on drugs, and housing insecurity. I’ve faced all these things and still face them today. I’ve been lucky to get out of some of the circumstances I grew up in, but thousands and thousands of people who look just like me haven’t had a chance to thrive in this world and reach their full potential. We all deserve that opportunity.
In my community organizing in West Philadelphia, I’ve shown that I’m not afraid to confront power. I was a part of defining a criminal justice agenda in Philadelphia when I worked as the West Philadelphia organizer to elect Larry Krasner. I went block to block in my majority-black neighborhood where 7 out of 10 families have been impacted directly by the system of mass incarceration. We talked about ending cash bail, ending death by incarceration, and ending the school to prison pipeline. We gave people tools to start confronting the powerful people and systems who have control over their lives, and we started fighting back. I’m ready to bring that fight to Harrisburg—and bring the movement we’ve built in Philadelphia with me.