The Hon. Helen Gym
Philadelphia Councilwoman & Honoree
Seated in 2016, Philadelphia City Councilmember Helen Gym leads a human rights agenda which measures outcomes based on the health and well-being of young people in the city. As Chair of Council’s Children and Youth Committee, she has helped lead a public schools agenda that contributed to the end of the 17-year state takeover of the Philadelphia school system, supported funding for pre-K programs, and restored nurses and counselors back to every public school. She established the city’s Right to Counsel program to provide legal assistance to low-income tenants facing eviction, as well as the city’s nationally acclaimed eviction diversion program. She has also focused her legislative efforts on economic justice issues, including enacting the nations’ strongest fair scheduling legislation, and championing expanding the city’s living wage laws.
Helen is a former public school teacher and journalist. She currently serves as Co-Chair of Local Progress, a network of progressive municipal leaders, where she has helped lead national efforts around Sanctuary Cities, the DREAM Act, and progressive public education policies. She is the mother of three children and is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. She is the recipient of a number of awards including the Philadelphia Inquirer Citizen of the Year and the 2017 national Rising Star Award from EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest organization supporting women in elected office.