Power of one vs. power of soda industry

Talented speaker Tanya T. Morris focuses on the sugary drink tax debate

(Photo Left) Tanya Morris talks to the community at the 12th police district. Photo courtesy of Tanya Morris.

When a coalition of children’s advocates sought an impassioned speaker to voice support for the sugary drink tax to fund universal Pre-K and community schools, its participants knew just who to contact.

“I couldn’t wait to get involved,” was author, mentor and entrepreneur Tanya T. Morris’ response to coalition member and former executive director for Philadelphia Campaign for Working Families (PCWF), Jean Hunt. Since then, Morris has delivered talks at community meetings on the tax, and has prepared to testify at a City Council hearing.

“For me, with this initiative, I have the opportunity to educate, inform and empower people with information and resources they previously may not have had,” she said. “So, I’m excited about being able to testify. I hope it’s a full house.”

A proposal by Mayor Jim Kenney would levy a three-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks, raising $400 million over five years to fund education as well as some of the city’s parks, recreation centers and libraries. A decision by City Council is expected in June.

Morris, 50, a graduate of Temple University, is skilled at inspiring, motivating and guiding audiences toward her perspective. She owns Power of the T. Enterprises, a company that specializes in marketing, coaching and community engagement. She has also self-published three books.

With Power of the T. Enterprises, Morris says she’s actually referring to “the power of one.”

“I really talk about the difference we can make as one individual, as an impact on our community, our lives and even our world,” she said.

Morris initially tried to balance working full-time at the non-profit Turning Points for Children — where she provided community outreach and training of outreach workers to such groups as the PCWF — with her business pursuits of helping entrepreneurs and others making career changes to increase productivity and accomplish goals.

“We were doing Gurlification (a T-shirt line) and doing all these events designed with social entrepreneurs to be able to give back,” she recalled. “Then when my book came out, it required that I give my full attention to being an entrepreneur.” Morris emphasized, “I love community engagement stuff. Always, community engagement, being a mentor and a coach and a resource for small businesses, that’s something I’ve always done.”

Then she turns attention back to the sugary drink tax: “I spoke at the 12th Police District Community Meeting on Woodland Avenue, and I did [get] some questions. Mostly [residents] wanted a guarantee that the money would be used for its proposed intentions.”

She continues, “I’ve got to get this message out there, that there is nowhere else to get this money. And if we are going to fix our infrastructure — our recreation centers, our libraries, our schools, and for our schools to have Pre-K — this is where it’s going to have to come from. It is what it is.”


Power of one vs. power of soda industry
Sheila Simmons - Contributor

Sheila Simmons brings many years of writing and communications experience to her work for Liberty City Press. She began her professional writing career at the Philadelphia Daily News, where she covered Business, City Hall and Education.


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