Lancaster: Projects of Survival and Direct Action

Throughout August and into September the Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee has been working hard to expand their “Projects of Survival” plan by taking direct action and organizing local fundraisers to get their donated van inspected and support one of their food distribution partners, Chef Oliver Saye, who has established a “Pay It Forward” program to both sustain his business and provide food for families in need in times of Covid-19. 

They fundraised a total of $1,650 dollars for their van, $220 dollars so far for Oliver’s “Pay it Forward” program and they made new contacts through their “Projects of Survival” survey. Simultaneously they have taken direct action by organizing a march against state violence, a call to action to several City Council meetings about the UPMC rezoning petition for st. Joseph’s hospital and stood with partner organizations in calling out the inhumane and deadly conditions at the Lancaster County Prison. 

We will be announcing other “Projects of Survival” events in the near future, follow the Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee page on Facebook to stay up to date with information on how you can get involved. If you have needs or want to become a partner please take some time to fill out our “Projects of Survival” Survey… see link 👉

Click here for the survey!

To make a donation to Oliver’s “Pay it Forward” program to help people facing food insecurity 👉please see link here.

Visit Lancaster HealthCare Rights Committee’s Facebook Page here.

Put People First! PA in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter (BLM) march facing violence in Central PA

On Monday night August 24th, a group of Black Lives Matter protesters was the target of a shooting by a resident in Bedford County, PA. One protestor was shot. He was treated at Conemaugh Hospital in Johnstown and has been released from the hospital. The state police, as well as local news outlets, misleadingly reported that shots were exchanged between the two groups. This is not true. The protesters were unarmed and were the target of racist vigilante violence. Media coverage of the incident here.

The group was formed in the upsurge of protests across the country after the police murder of George Floyd and has been marching from Milwaukee, WI to Washington D.C. 

While the group was staying in a hotel in Bedford on Tuesday night, there were more attempts to intimidate and threaten the marchers. In livestreams of the encounter, a person harassing the Black Lives Matter activists can be heard asking “are you trying to start trouble?” and at another point, shots were fired, but thankfully this time no one was hit. 

Undeterred by the hateful violence of the past few days, the group is again marching toward D.C. In support, a member of Put People First! PA is accompanying the marchers on the rest of their way through PA. Here is PPF’s letter of support shared with them:

Put People First! Pennsylvania is in solidarity with your march from Milwaukee to D.C. We are a statewide organization made up of poor and dispossessed people of all backgrounds fighting for our human rights, like healthcare, housing, and clean air and water. We are outraged at the racist violence and terror your group has faced peacefully marching through our state, just as we are outraged at the attempted murder of Jacob Blake by the cops and the murders of two protestors last night in your state. 

We are also part of the Poor People’s Campaign: National Call for Moral Revival, along with our sibling organization, Vecinos Unidos in Milwaukee, who marched with some of you on July 20th for the Strike for Black Lives. Vecinos Unidos would also like to express their solidarity with you in the face of this violence.

We wish a speedy recovery to your group member who was shot on Monday and safe travels the rest of the way to D.C. We are united with you in the revolutionary struggle to end white supremacy and the interlocking evils of poverty, war, and environmental devastation and look forward to joining you again in the future.

Lancaster Residents Speak Out Against Inhumane Conditions and Public Health Crisis at Lancaster County Prison 

On Saturday, August 22nd, the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL)-Lancaster hosted an emergency speak-out rally on the steps of the Lancaster County Courthouse to stand with those incarcerated at Lancaster County Prison (LCP) as they are suffering under unacceptable conditions during this global pandemic. 

The prison, which is already known for it’s inhumane living conditions and treatment of prisoners, is currently experiencing an outbreak of Covid-19. Housed within its walls are about 658 people – many held on minor and petty charges and/or due to inability to post bail. 

Last week, it was reported that 23 people at the prison tested positive, with almost 100 tests out for processing. 30+ members of the community, including representation from C.R.A.S.H.-Lancaster, Unapologetic 717, and the Put People First! PA Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee came together to join PSL-Lancaster in speaking out against the conditions at LCP and demanding urgently-needed measures to ensure the health and safety of those incarcerated. 

Demands were made for the immediate release of all inmates held for pre-trial, as well as all elderly and vulnerable inmates, and for an immediate increase in medical personnel. A follow-up action is tentatively scheduled to take place the morning of  September 17th and we will continue to push our demands for release of inmates at LCP during our South Central PA Medicaid March on October 3rd at 3:00pm.

Find out more and RSVP to the facebook event here!

Put People First! PA Statement of Solidarity with Quilombo Campo Grande, MST

Context: Landless Workers Movement, Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST) in Portuguese, is a mass social movement in Brazil, formed by rural workers and by all those who want to fight for land reform and against injustice and social inequality in rural areas. Quilombo Campo Grande is a housing settlement of the MST.

Put People First! Pennsylvania condemns the illegal and inhumane eviction of Quilombo Campo Grande by the military police and Governor Zema in the interest of Capital. We express our solidarity with the 450 families displaced by the eviction and salute their brave resistance in the face of the barbaric attacks of the police. The destruction of homes and a school, the razing of crops, and the violent removal of 450 families during the deadly Covid19 pandemic are crimes against humanity.

Over the last three years, two members of Put People First! PA were hosted at Quilombo Campo Grande as part of our studies at the Escola Nacional Florestan Fernandes (ENFF). Our experience there shaped us politically and ideologically. We experienced the generosity of the families, the pedagogy of the students and teachers at Escola Eduardo Galeano, and the agroecological practices of the growing cooperatives, which care for the land and provide sustenance for the community.

Quilombo Campo Grande is a powerful achievement of the MST and of the poor and dispossessed of Brazil, which has helped develop and advance the struggle of the poor and dispossessed around the world. We carry the spirit of Quilombo Campo Grande with us in our struggle in Pennsylvania.

We wish for a speedy recovery for those who were injured in the attack and for the health and safety of the whole community during the pandemic. We are with the families of Quilombo Campo Grande as they fight to retake their land and we are with the MST as the struggle continues for land, agrarian reform and socialism.

Viva Quilombo Campo Grande!
Viva MST!

Photo above: Table, basket, plants at MST school in Brasil in front of a mural of Paulo Freire and his quote (translated),
"Education does not change the world.
Education changes people.
People transform the world."
Photo above: Table, basket, plants at MST school in Brazil in front of a mural of Paulo Freire and his quote (translated),
“Education does not change the world.
Education changes people.
People transform the world.”