Join PPF and national partners for a base-building exchange across the state this weekend

From July 12 – 15, Put People First! PA will host our first ever Grassroots Organizing Exchange. The exchange will bring around 30 grassroots leaders from sister organizations from across the country to Pennsylvania. This is the first in a series of organizing exchanges, facilitated by the Popular Education Project, happening in other states in the future. On Friday, national leaders will get to know local leaders and be prepped for the weekend, grounded in PPF’s history and political education. From Friday night to Monday morning, national leaders will break out into four regions and engage in base-building and local events with PPF and PA Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival members. On Monday, national and local participants will return to Harrisburg to debrief and learn from the experience. Here’s a sampling of events from the weekend.

For more information, contact regional point people listed on PPF’s website contact page here. Up to date information will also be listed on PPF’s facebook page here.

Southwestern PA

Community Cookout in Monview
Saturday July 13, 11am – 3pm
Monview Heights Community, West Mifflin, PA
Call/text Ben 412-482-0041, for details on exact location

During the day on Saturday, Mother Jones Leader Denyne, along with new PPF members in the Monview community, will host our delegation of out-of-state leaders and local neighbors for a cookout and community discussion about health hazards and substandard conditions in the housing development. 

The Struggle is a School: Lessons from the Poor People’s Campaign
Saturday July 13, 6 – 8 pm
Pittsburgh Food Policy Council
5341 Kincaid St, Pittsburgh, PA 15224

The Pittsburgh HRC and the Thomas Merton Center will hold a potluck dinner and discussion with delegation leaders and members from CADBI-West and Just Harvest, on lessons from the struggle to build the Poor People’s Campaign around the country.

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Western PA

Walking tour, Door-knocking & Cook out
Saturday, July 13th, starting at 9:30 am
Johnstown, PA

Join Johnstown and Altoona HRC members for a historic tour of Johnstown at 9:30 am. From 1:30 – 3:45 pm participants will door knock, complete with a training beforehand. All this followed by a cook out in the evening, with time to share about organizations attending, both local and national. Call or text Hope at 814-619-9293 or Savannah at 814-659-3528 for more information.

Door-knocking and an introduction to the Poor People’s Campaign
Sunday, July 14th, starting at 10 am
Altoona, PA

Join the group in Altoona Sunday for a brief, local tour followed by door-knocking and an evening event to introduce folks locally to the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

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Southcentral PA

Door knocking, Political Education & Games
Saturday July 13th, starting at 8:45 am
Green Roof Pavilion Columbia River Park, Columbia, PA

The Lancaster HRC and York HRC will meet at Columbia River Park in Columbia, PA in the morning and set up home base for the day at the Green Roof Pavilion in the park. They will start the day off at 8:45 am with breakfast. Then from 9:30-11 am everyone will partake in political education “Why We Chose Columbia” followed by base building & door knocking training before setting out after lunch at 12pm to knock on doors in Columbia. 

The door knocking will wrap up by 4:00pm and everyone will gather back at the Green Roof Pavilion for a debrief on the door knocking and prep for the public picnic. From 5-7:30 pm the group will have a family friendly potluck picnic dinner with games which will be open to the public to attend. 

If you want more information or you want to join the Lancaster and York Healthcare Rights Committees for the day long event in Columbia please email Tammy at tammyrojas1977@gmail.com

Outreach and Open Forum
Sunday July 14th, starting at 8:30 am
MLK Park, 370 S Penn St, York, PA 17401

The York and Lancaster HRCs will meet at  MLK Park in York, PA in the morning to eat and do a quick refresher training. We will start the day off at 8:30 am with breakfast. During this time we will also talk about York and have some time for everyone to introduce themselves before doing brief outreach training. 

At 10:30 we will head over to Union Lutheran Church, 408 W Market St, York, PA. Folks will do some outreach there when services let out. After the crowds have dispersed, we will split into teams and those who are able will start knocking doors.

Around 2:00, we will head to Jim and Nena’s Pizza at 501 W Philadelphia St, York, PA. There we will be able to eat and relax. There will be some down time between lunch and dinner. Folks will be able to explore and learn about York City.

At 6:00 pm we will gather at Heidelberg United Church-Christ, 47 W Philadelphia St, York, PA. There we will have dinner, debrief the day, and invite folks to share their stories of plight, fight and insight. Our stories will be centered around healthcare. Others may be compelled to share stories from the front of struggle being tackled by their own organization. 

If you want more information please email Katrina at katrina@putpeoplefirstpa.org

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Southeastern PA

Door knocking & Training
Saturday, July 13th, 10 am
Norristown, PA

Protest closing of Hahnemann Hospital
Sunday, July 14th, 2 pm
Hahnemann (230 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102)

Action to protest the closing of Hahnemann Hospital in Center City, Philadelphia at 2pm on Sunday, July 14, outside Hahnemann (230 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102). The attempts to close this hospital are only the latest in a long line of attempts to profit off the illness of the poor and dispossessed in this state and across the country. PPC members will be sharing their experiences in a speak-out at the Hospital, which has been a staple in Philadelphia for over a hundred and fifty years. If you are interested in helping with the action or speaking about how the monetization of healthcare affects you personally, please contact Iaan at 215-251-1821.

Please register for Philadelphia events here!

PPC Meet & Greet
Sunday, July 14th, 6 pm
2401 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
Come to learn more about the Poor People’s Campaign from leaders across the country, find out how you can get more involved in our work, and share some great food!

July 7, 2019

For Immediate Release 

Press Contact:

Clarissa O’Conor
(717) 203-4097
clarissaoconor@gmail.com

Put People First! PA member 

Drexel medical student 

Medical students join with Put People First! PA, patients, staff, nurses, and doctors to protest the closure of Hahnemann Hospital! 

What: Philadelphia medical students, Put People First! PA, nurses, patients, and staff of Hahnemann Hospital hold vigil on Tuesday evening to unite and fight its imminent closure. 

When: Tuesday, July 9 at 5:30pm

Where: Hahnemann University Hospital, 230 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19102

Medical students, nurses, community groups, patients, and Hahnemann staff are coming together to hold a vigil to show our solidarity and dedication to fight the closure of Hahnemann Hospital. American Academic announced they will be closing Hahnemann by the end of the summer due to insurmountable financial losses. The hospital is owned by investment banker, Joel Freedman, who will no doubt benefit from its closure. At stake is the loss of a Philadelphia safety-net hospital that serves a large population of Medicaid patients, as well as the loss of 2500-3000 jobs within the community. We will also be joined by Put People First! PA members from Lancaster, PA, who are fighting the closure of St. Joseph Hospital, owned by UPMC. 

For more information or to RSVP go to the PPF event page here.

Put People First! PA Leaders Reflect on the Poor People’s Campaign Moral Action Congress (Series)

By Tammy, Lancaster

(Photo credit: from Poor People’s Campaign a National Call for Moral Revival Twitter) 

A lot took place during the three day action in Washington D.C and it took a few days afterwards for everything that took place to really sink in for me. Each day went by fast and with each day that passed I became more connected to the overall movement. I missed the main Poor People’s Campaign rally in D.C last year because I was in Minneapolis doing a workshop for the Healthcare Now national conference so I was extremely grateful that I was able to attend this year’s Moral Action Congress. 

On day one we heard from 9 candidates and of course overall consensus, they spoke in a way a politician would. The good that did come from that very long event was we used it to help sway the distorted moral narrative around poverty. The majority of the major media outlets were only there for the first day of the three day event and we all know it was because of the 2020 Presidential candidates being present. So with the media present we were able to get our message to a more broader audience and force the nation to finally talk about poverty in the United States. Now the next steps are to hold the 9 candidates accountable to their promise they would commit to a 2020 Presidential debate about poverty and the interlocking injustices! The best part of day one was the release of the Poor People’s Campaign a National Call for Moral Revival, Moral Budget. (Link to Moral Budget here.)

Day two was absolutely amazing! It was filled with workshops, learning and connecting with others from around the nation. The first workshop I attended was the one about organizing the homeless where I was able to hear more about the great work of the California Homeless Union and others who have organized around homelessness. I’m excited to say that I was able to witness the official kick off of the Committee to Re-Establish the National Union of the Homeless! In the afternoon I was asked to come to the front of the main gathering room to share with the nation why I decided to become a leader in the Pennsylvania Poor People’s Campaign a National Call for Moral Revival, I was very nervous but pushed through the fear because someone out there may have to hear the message, don’t give up, we can fight for a better society, together, you’re not alone. (Link to video footage of my remarks here.)

Later in the afternoon on day two I was able to take part in being on a panel about organizing around Healthcare and Welfare Rights. It was amazing to be able to share with people from across the nation how the Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee has been taken action against UPMC for closing our hospital and speaking truth to power. I was able to share with those in attendance how taking action the way we did actually gained us power in the local arena and helped develop more leaders within the HRC. (Link to video footage of the entire workshop here.)

On day three we watched on a large overhead screen the live footage of the hearing before the House Budget Committee where the Poor People’s Campaign had Moral witnesses and presented the Poor People’s Campaign Moral Budget. A part of the panel of witnesses were two Pastor’s on the end who were there on the ask of the powers that be. Our very own Put People First! PA  leader Savannah Kinsey was one of the Moral witnesses there with the Poor People’s Campaign a National Call for Moral Revival. ALL of the witnesses did a fantastic job and our Moral Budget was put into record and parts of it were read out loud. After the hearing the witnesses came back and we celebrated our success and began to get hyped about the June 20th 2020 March on Washington D.C. (link to full hearing here) https://youtu.be/83775Wf8sGQ

Three members of the Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee attended the three day Moral Action Congress and ever since we have been back we jumped right into work. I made connections while in Washington D.C with those who are a part of the Committee of the homeless Union and we are hoping to connect that work here with what we are already doing in Lancaster, PA. Many hopeful possibilities came to light for me over those three days and it helped me solidify my purpose within the movement. It came clear to me when asked during an interview what exactly my purpose is within this movement. I believe I’m here to help grow the movement through base building, developing other leaders through pushing our campaign plan forward and use my love for art & writing to tell our stories, to help sway the distorted moral narrative around poverty while we strive for a Lancaster County Moral Revival! 

Put People First! PA Leaders Reflect on the Poor People’s Campaign Moral Action Congress (Series)

By Savannah, Johnstown

Hello, my name is Savannah Kinsey Co- Coordinator of the Johnstown Healthcare Rights Committee, and part of the base building, and fundraising teams. After attending the Poor People’s Campaign Moral Action Congress in D.C, I along with a few others was asked to give a reflection. I think a majority of us would say the turnout was a great and a positive experience. 

For myself being there and being invited to something that huge with such a great turnout on Monday for the presidential Forum was a blessed opportunity, that I will forever be grateful for. On Tuesday many of us got to experience different workshops. I was amazed by how well the LGBTQ and women rights workshop was planned out. It was quite difficult to hear about all of the struggles that are faced in today’s society regarding homelessness, addiction, poverty, and the ways that they tie into the LGBTQ society. Listening to folks on the panel for that workshop definitely puts into perspective what women and LGBTQ folks face daily. 

Being asked to testify in front of the house budget committee was a huge deal. It felt so surprising to be face to face with people in power, having them listen to us for once. Getting to tell my story about the poverty and economic issues of Johnstown, Pennsylvania was sad yet electrifying. Being included among such strong leaders from other states especially Rev. Dr. Barber, and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis made me feel like I do have a say in politics. 

Having such a strong connection with the Poor People’s Campaign, it was definitely hard to listen to people in power right there at your fingertips tell you that what you are doing isn’t going to work. I am very grateful that I had my Poor People’s Campaign Family and Put People First Family right there by my side to help me get through being nervous and also to help me strive in becoming a better leader through this process. (​Complete footage of hearing here– Savannah speaks at 55:16)

Thank you,

Savannah Kinsey