About

This blog is an attempt to record my thoughts, forcing me to think about the things that matter to me and to correct the typos as I go along.  So, what matters to me?

I am an organizer for social change.  I believe that people facing exploitation and oppression can work together to win the right to live lives of freedom and independence.

phil at work

For 25 years, I have worked to bring this ideal to reality:

  • After college, I became a VISTA Volunteer and for two years I helped to recruit volunteers to bring programs to inmates at the maximum security Auburn (NY) Correctional Facility.
  •  For the next 21 years, I worked as a community organizer for Syracuse United Neighbors, an organization of low-income people working to eliminate vacant houses, increase access to equitable city services and fight the bank redlining in their neighborhoods.
  • I am currently the Systems Change Advocate for ARISE, the Independent Living Center for people with disabilities in central New York. I organize people with disabilities to advocate with local and state officials to pass legislation and implement changes on issues such as the physical accessibility of public spaces, improving access to health care, increasing the availability of accessible and affordable housing and ensuring that public transit meets the needs of our community.

I am not just an organizer for disability rights, I am also a part of the disability community. For many years I have dealt with the chronic condition known as lymphedema: an abnormal buildup of fluid that causes swelling in both of my legs that developed after recurring cases of cellulitis damaged the lymph vessels in my legs.

My political philosophy consists of equal parts Ella Baker, E.F. Schumacher and Tom Paine. I also believe in the power of Catholic saints, Buddhist moral precepts and the social justice mission of my Episcopal Church—but the one thing I believe with no hesitation is that heaven is located somewhere above the Green Monster at Fenway Park in Boston.

In my personal life, I love to take long walks with my wife and three doggies around our Syracuse, N.Y. home, read when I get some free time and sing along (badly!) with all types of music–rock, blues, punk, country, reggae in general and Bruce Springsteen in particular.

I’m an activist, a smart-ass and a homebody. Welcome to my view of C.N.Y.

6 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi-

    I’ve followed your blog with interest since Sean Kirst wrote about local blogs last summer. I’d love to talk with you further about local politics and what I hope to accomplish as a candidate for a local office, jumping back in to the political fray 23 years after running for Congress. I’d especially like to review the sewage tratement plant issue with you. You could check out our rudimentary, development stage web site, too. http://www.tombuckel.com

    Thanks! I hope that we can talk soon!

    Like

  2. politics, springsteen, rock music…if only you wrote about basketball as well, this would be my all time fav blog. great blog, keep it going..

    Like

  3. Victoria

    Hi,

    I really like your blog. I stumbled upon it while doing a search for community organizing and law schools. I’m a grad student working full time in New York City and am interested in getting involved in community organizing. Any ideas for where I can start?

    Thanks,
    Victoria

    Like

  4. I was wondering if you would ever consider featuring a guest post on your blog. Looking at a lot of what you do here, it would seem as if you would be able to sympathize with my cause. I am not sure if you were aware, but recently the NY Senate pushed along a bill where, if it passes in the Assembly, would legalize Mixed Martial Arts competitions in New York State. This would be a huge boon to our state economy and would provide millions in tax revenues. Right now we are one of the only states that has banned MMA fighting. If you are interested, please send me an email and I can show you the article I have prepared which states my case.

    Thanks!

    -Alexia

    Like

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