To our amazing members, donors and supporters:
Thank you for your ongoing support of Put People First! PA this year. In 2018, we have grown and deepened our work on many levels. We began building the Nonviolent Medicaid Army, a base-building initiative to organize people who are on or unfairly excluded from Medicaid to fight back against attacks on Medicaid and advance a vision for healthcare as a human right.
In this election year, we secured pledges from more than a dozen successful candidates for state legislature to advance the Medicaid Army’s four-point platform: take a stand for healthcare as a human right and a public good, oppose cuts or hurdles to Medicaid and CHIP, reinstate the full adult dental benefit under Medicaid, and create a new position of Healthcare Public Advocate in the state government.
We held our first ever Statewide Week of Action targeting healthcare profiteers, which resulted in a victory in securing orthopedic shoes for Kim, a leader in the York Healthcare Rights Committee. Gateway Insurance caved under public pressure after repeatedly denying his claim in the past.
We advanced our work to restore the full adult dental benefit in Medicaid in collaboration with members of the PA Coalition on Oral Health, and brought dental care into the forefront of the battle for healthcare as a human right.
We launched our mid-term campaign for a Public Healthcare Advocate during a meeting with the Wolf administration during which PPF leaders testified about the need for an advocate who would fight for everyday Pennsylvanians. We secured a commitment to carry this work forward and we plan to hold them to it.
In 2018, PPF has also played a role in building the larger movement to end poverty through the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Poor People’s organizations across the country are uniting to reignite the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968, which Dr. King envisioned in the final months of his life. The new Poor People’s Campaign is building a movement led by poor and dispossessed people fighting to end the evils of racism, poverty, the war economy, environmental destruction, and the distorted moral narrative in our country. This Spring the Poor People’s Campaign organized six consecutive weeks of civil disobedience actions in dozens of state capitals across the country to highlight the four evils. Over 5,000 people engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience – one of the largest waves of civil disobedience actions in U.S. history.
PPF helped convene the Pennsylvania Poor People’s Campaign, uniting struggles around immigration, mass incarceration, housing, transportation, workers rights, food, the environment, voting rights, and healthcare in our state. On June 4th we coordinated a day of action on health and a healthy environment with partners like the Earth Quaker Action Team, Healthcare 4 All PA, the Better Path Coalition, and the Local Initiative/Local Action Committee of the Philadelphia Democratic Socialists of America. This week was the largest action on the right to health in the country, with 31 moral witnesses engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience.
This year, most importantly, PPF has trained and developed new leaders to continue to grow our movement in new areas of Pennsylvania. Leadership development is essential to building a grassroots movement that is organized and powerful enough to win universal healthcare and create larger social change. More than 30 members participated in our first ever Healthcare Rights Committee Leaders Intensive in January, and over 100 members took part in our fourth annual Spring Leadership Institute in April/May. Six PPF leaders completed the third annual Mother Jones Leadership Program. Five PPF members participated in the Summer School of Resistance with the Popular Education Project, a three week political education course held outside of Detroit in August.
Here are just a few other highlights from this year:
- Helped organize over 200 people from across Pennsylvania to attend the Poor People’s Campaign mobilization of over 20,000 people on the National Mall in Washington D.C.
- Hosted the fifth annual Healthcare is a Human Right Collaborative Convening in Hazleton, PA with our partners the Vermont Workers Center, the Southern Maine Workers Center, Anthracite Unite and the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative
- Held our largest Membership Assembly ever, with 140 people from 17 counties in Pennsylvania and 6 other states.
- Grew to seven Healthcare Rights Committees in Pittsburgh, Johnstown, Altoona, York, Lancaster, and Philadelphia, each with its own member-led internal leadership and coordination structures.
We do all of this base-building, organizing, training, political education, and movement building on a shoestring budget. The vast majority of this work is carried out by committed volunteers and most of our budget goes toward printing, transportation, renting space for meetings, and food and accommodations for member gatherings. We need your support to continue to build this movement. Please consider making a tax-deductible year-end donation Please also sign up as a dues-paying member here. Your contributions will help cover the cost of our upcoming Winter Strategy Retreat in central PA where over 40 member-leaders will come together to develop local and statewide strategic plans for 2019.
Checks can be made out to our fiscal sponsor, Resources for Human Development, and sent to 4700 Wissahickon Ave., Suite 126, Philadelphia, PA 19144. Please write Put People First! PA in the subject line.
Health Care is a Human Right!
Put People First! PA is a vehicle for everyday people across Pennsylvania to unite, build our power, and claim our human rights.
We’re organizing across the state through our six healthcare rights committees and members in 17 counties.
We’re a human rights organization, and our current campaign is for the human right to health care: everyone deserves the care they need, when they need it, without going broke. There is enough for all of us – a truly universal health care system is possible. We need to organize to get it.