Seated in 2016, Councilmember At-Large Helen Gym is a longtime community organizer in public education and immigrant rights and is the first Asian American woman to serve in Philadelphia City Council.
In her first term, she led a public schools agenda that contributed to the end of the 17-year state takeover of the Philadelphia school system, expanded city-funded pre-K programs, and restored nurses and counselors back to every public school. She led passage of the nation’s most expansive Fair Workweek law, guaranteeing stable schedules and a path to more hours for part-time workers. She established the city’s first legal defense fund for tenants facing eviction and immigrants facing deportation.
A second generation Korean American, she is a fierce defender of Philadelphia’s Sanctuary City status, has co-sponsored municipal ID programs and language access laws, and is supporting a comfort woman statue placement in the city. She is a first term board member of NAKASEC and is Vice Chair of Local Progress, a network of municipal elected officials, where she has helped lead national efforts to defend Sanctuary Cities and promote economic justice policies.