Justin DiBerardinis kicks off campaign at Johnny Brenda’s Monday

“When I talk about Philadelphia and greatness,” he said, “I don’t think we’re going to measure our greatness in GDP and I don’t think we’re going to measure our greatness in the height of a skyscraper or in the wealth that someone’s holding in private. No, I think we’re going to find our greatness in the measure of all the things that we share.”

Justin DiBerardinis, director of programs & partnerships for Southwest Philly’s Bartram’s Garden and son of former city Managing Director Michael DiBerardinis, announced his candidacy for one of City Council’s at-large seats in the 2019 election upstairs at Johnny Brenda’s on Monday afternoon.

In his speech, DiBerardinis elicited visions of a politician who was willing to work for the common man, and make the city a more inclusive environment for all.

“When I talk about Philadelphia and greatness,” he said, “I don’t think we’re going to measure our greatness in GDP and I don’t think we’re going to measure our greatness in the height of a skyscraper or in the wealth that someone’s holding in private. No, I think we’re going to find our greatness in the measure of all the things that we share.”

Also present at the announcement were Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, state Rep. Jason Dawkins (D-179th dist.), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Health & Safety Director Kathy Black, Bartram’s Garden Farm Co-Directors Chris Bolden-Newsome and Ty Holmberg, and DiBerardinis’s parents.

“After years as a feminist leader, I’m [usually] out there giving my public support behind women candidates — and I might do that this year, too — but Justin is a feminist, too,” said Black. “I think he’s got the ideas, the passion and the inborn commitment to justice and public service that’s necessary to make a great City Council member.”

Holmberg spoke at length about DiBerardinis’s accomplishments at Bartram’s Garden.

“We are African diasporic, we are spiritually centered, and we are intergenerational,” he said. “That was not the case eight years ago. The way that we started in the work that we did over those eight years has not only pushed the work of the farm, but has put the push the work of Bartram’s Garden to be a real public space, a dynamic public space where people can come and interact with the land from all different backgrounds. A huge part of that has been the work in the last five years that Justin and I and Chris have done.”

DiBerardinis’s father echoed the working man mentality his son referenced in his speech.

“We’re obviously very proud of Justin and very excited about him running for City Council at-large and we’re also excited about the way we see it as an extension of Philadelphia’s progressive movement,” he said. “It’s about equity, fairness and opportunity for all Philadelphians. It’s about a living wage, it’s about the right to organize a union, it’s about a clean, safe neighborhood. It’s about high-quality city services and it’s about the role of government in protecting and providing that opportunity for all citizens.”

Another theme of the night? It’s Philadelphia against the world. Or at least the country:

“I believe that the answers to injustice, and the answers to an equity are not coming from Washington, D.C. anytime soon and no offense to some of my friends on the stage, I don’t think they’re coming from Harrisburg,” DiBerardinis said in his closing speech. “I think those answers are going to come from us because I believe cities like Philadelphia have the creativity and the diversity and the political will to attempt great and unproven things that we have not done yet in this country.”

Before he landed at Bartram’s Garden, DiBerardinis served as a legislative aide to Quinones-Sanchez for six years. Just before his speech, she endorsed DiBerardinis, praising him for his passion to work for “the most vulnerable communities” while he served as legislative director in her 7th District office. Remembering the call she received from longtime Councilwoman Marian Tasco after her own election in 2007 to welcome her as a colleague, she added, “I hope that I can have that same phone call with Justin DiBerardinis very, very soon.”

DiBerardinis, who lives in Germantown, is a Fishtown native. He lives with his wife Linda and children Manny and Joan.

DiBerardinis has also been endorsed by Register of Wills Ron Donatucci, state Reps. Danilo Burgos, Joanna McClinton and Jordan Harris and former Mayor and Gov Ed Rendell. He was also endorsed by civic group 5th Square and the Community College of Philadelphia faculty and staff union (American Federation of Teachers 2026).