One Year Later: PPF-PA Members Reflect on the Pandemic and the Failures of the State

On the day the United States official Covid-19 death count reached half a million, PPF-PA member Tammy Rojas posted on Facebook reflecting on the Covid-19 demands PPF-PA put forward to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf with endorsement from many other organizations at the beginning of the pandemic. As we mark the passing of one year since the coronavirus began to spread in the US, we lift up Tammy’s reflections and take stock of our experiences of the pandemic, both personally and collectively. Over the next few weeks, the PPF-PA Media & Communications team will post stories about the impacts of the pandemic from PPF-PA members as we reaffirm our demands, recommit to our organizing work and reflect on the failure of our government to meet the needs of poor and working class people during this crisis.

Click here to read our Coronavirus demands to Gov. Wolf from Spring 2020

As Tammy reflects on our unmet demands:

Seeing as the State never enacted universal testing for Covid-19, we don’t know the truth of how far this virus has spread or if folks have gotten it more than once cause you CAN get it again. 

Because corporatized hospitals have been eliminating beds and staff for decades to cut costs and have closed and sold hospitals for real estate deals to increase their profits, our hollowed-out hospital system was not prepared to meet the needs of a pandemic.

Because the State didn’t reopen closed hospitals or bring private hospitals under public control, the healthcare system didn’t have the staff or the capacity to properly tackle this virus. 

Because the State didn’t direct private companies to mass produce proper PPE for EVERYONE, tens of millions got Covid-19 and over HALF A MILLION people have died from it so far. 

Because the State didn’t expand Medicaid to everyone, the TENS OF MILLIONS who have and will contract Covid-19 are not being properly treated or examined. This is because our healthcare is at the mercy of insurance corporations and healthcare conglomerates like University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), Penn Medicine, Geisinger and others across the nation, who are more concerned about profits and securing a system in which they reap the benefits than actually properly fighting back against this virus to save our lives. 

These healthcare profiteers have no desire to truly learn all they can about the virus to fight it. They just want the information that could help them use the virus to make  profits… and the icing on the cake y’all is healthcare profiteers like UPMC and Penn Medicine are the very entities that our elected officials on ALL levels of government put in charge of fighting this pandemic… with OUR labor and tax dollars. That’s the biggest slap in the face our government could give us. This pandemic has shown how healthcare is run by the same corporate class that evicts us from our houses when we can’t pay rent, keeps folks locked up while telling them to socially distance, denies us safe places for young people to get education  and why we MUST unite the poor and dispossessed and demand our basic human rights — because it is the only way the working class will survive. Join us!


We already knew in March 2020 that this oppressive system did not value the health or economic safety of poor people: we were already fighting for our lives. We already knew that no oppressor has ever oppressed everyone in society equally: People of Color, Black and Indigenous people are disproportionately forced into poverty under an economic system that was designed to exploit all of us, but keeps us in check by pitting us against each other. We already knew the connection between poverty and health disparities all too well through our lived experiences, a link that has been made even more apparent as Covid-19 has taken its deadliest toll in the poorest  communities. In March 2020, we knew the ruling class would use this crisis to reinforce the myth of scarcity, that those in power would try to balance their budgets on our backs by cutting public programs instead of taxing healthcare profiteers like UPMC. While we face the compounded crises of health, housing, job loss, education, and voter suppression, the government has used the economic crisis to continue to deny the human rights and basic protections we outlined in our demands. Meanwhile, healthcare profiteers are allowed to make record profits while more than half a million Pennsylvanians were uninsured before the pandemic, and many more have lost employer-based healthcare coverage this last year.

How many lives could have been saved if the Governor had enacted these measures to protect poor and working class Pennsylvanians? How much unnecessary suffering could have been prevented? Can you imagine just how different this cruel year could have been? Throughout this blog series, we will post stories from PPF-PA members reflecting on our pandemic experiences: our health and economic struggles this year, and the ways we are fighting back, building solidarity, supporting each other, and continuing to organize, organize, organize.

Members of the Pittsburgh Healthcare Rights Committee offer support with Medicaid and food stamps applications at a Project of Survival in collaboration with House of Manna

A little more than a year after the first Covid-19 deaths occured in the United States, we are still fighting for our lives. In 2021, we continue our struggle for healthcare as a human right as we fight for vaccine equity and access and build our campaign for a Public Healthcare Advocate in PA, a public office that would fight for the healthcare rights of all Pennsylvanians at the State level. Across PA, we are organizing Projects of Survival, supporting our communities to meet the basic needs the government has failed to address while building our collective power to uproot this violent system. We are building the Nonviolent Medicaid Army with organizations across the country and developing leaders to demand our basic needs be treated as human rights! Stay tuned as we look back at personal reflections on the pandemic, and look ahead to where we are going from here. Forward together!

Reposted from the Pennsylvania Poor People’s Campaign, January 26 2021

On November 23, 2020, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival coordinated car caravans across the country to mourn more than a quarter of a million lives lost to COVID-19 in the United States, to demand a smooth and open transition of power and to call for an urgent moral policy agenda from the new presidential administration. In 25 states and the District of Columbia, poor and dispossessed people, advocates and religious leaders gathered in masked and socially-distanced caravans to remember the lives lost and to commit to organizing in their honor for a future where everybody has a right to live.

The Pennsylvania Poor People’s Campaign joined this national day of remembrance in Harrisburg, with a car caravan at the State Capitol, and joining a protest led by former prisoners and family members of prisoners outside the Governor’s mansion.


👉 UPDATE January 2021: We continue to push forward the demands of poor and dispossessed people at the state and national levelwhich remain as urgent as ever under the new administration. US lives lost to COVID-19 have nearly doubled in the two months since the Day of Mourning. Nationally, the Poor People’s Campaign has put forward 14 Policy Priorities to Heal the Nation: A Moral and Economic Agenda for the First 100 Days, which already has the support of over 100 members of Congress. Stay tuned for upcoming Moral Mondays car caravan actions starting in February.

👉 We invite you to contribute a remembrance to the online Memorial Wall, a collective place to mourn and remember our friends, family members, and community members who have been lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic and poverty.

👉 And please be in touch with us to get involved with the ongoing work of deepening and broadening the PA Poor People’s Campaign through working groups and organizations across the state: email pennsylvania@poorpeoplescampaign.org or fill out this involvement formForward Together, Not One Step Back!


Folks from across the state converged in Harrisburg, decorating cars and gathering at a safe distance.

Mourning in Public

Mourners came from near and far, including Allegheny, Berks, Blair, Butler, Dauphin, Lehigh, Philadelphia, Washington, and York counties, and other areas to represent the more than 5 million people in Pennsylvania who are poor or near-poor, and the 140 million people in the U.S. who are just one emergency away from being on the streets. Participants held up the national demands for a just COVID-19 relief package and called on the Pennsylvania Governor and state legislature to protect and expand policies that support poor and low-wealth people, including in the state budget and by releasing aging and vulnerable people held in the Pennsylvania prison system.

Throughout the day, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival hosted a live broadcast that brought together national faith leaders as well as participants from Moral Monday caravans across the country. We heard from veterans suffering lack of health care, immigrant leaders with family members held in ICE detention, parents demanding transparent care plans for children with disabilities, and so many people who have experienced in their families and communities the disproportionate toll this virus has taken on the lives of the poor and dispossessed. Speakers from every participating state honored the names and stories of loved ones lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, and gave testimony to the ongoing pandemics of poverty, racism, ecological devastation and militarism that claimed precious lives long before the coronavirus crisis began and have worsened its deadly toll. Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, introduced the day by underscoring the significance of mourning in public, lifting up that to gather and grieve together is a refusal to normalize the failures of the government’s response to this public health crisis.

Since the current national leadership has not stopped to have a day of mourning and eulogy, we will do that. We say to the nation: you will not pass over these lives easily.
— Rev. Dr. William Barber II

The Moral Monday national broadcast rallied mourners to carry their grief for those who have been lost into a moral mandate for change. Rev. Dr. Theoharis reminded us,

“Out of 257,000 who have died [as of January over 400,000], 210,000 did not have to die… We will commit ourselves every day to making their memory be a blessing, a blessing on a movement that is growing in power and scope.
—Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis

The organizers shared a petition to call on the president, Congress, and the president- and vice president- elect to enact a comprehensive, just COVID Relief bill now, and pointed to the Poor People’s Campaign Moral Justice Jubilee Policy Platform as the next steps and blueprint for the new administration’s first 100 days.

Thirty cars circled that Capitol building in Harrisburg for two hours, honking and drawing attention to our urgent demands.

The state budget must not be balanced on the backs of the poor and dispossessed

In Pennsylvania, mourners also tuned in to a local broadcast with the Pennsylvania Poor People’s Campaign. Jacob Butterly, PA theomusicologist led the mourners in song and the Jubilee Justice Platform was read aloud as scores of vehicles circled the State Capitol. Signage and decorations on the cars echoed the national demands for a “Full and Just Stimulus Relief Package” on the federal level, and also focused on what Pennsylvania’s Governor and state legislature can do to end this crisis on the state level. Speakers sounded the alarm that the state budget must not be balanced on the backs of the poor and dispossessed. They called for a continued moratorium on evictions and the enactment of a budget that supports the needs of the working class in Pennsylvania, and demanded there be no cuts to Medicaid or any welfare programs. They also highlighted COVID-19 crisis within the prison system, and demanded the release of elderly and vulnerable people incarcerated in Pennsylvania.

Nijmie Zakkiyyah Dzurinko, state co-chair of the PA Poor People’s Campaign & National Steering Committee member, speaks to the media. Lorraine Haw of the Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration (CADBI) stands by.

Pennsylvania speaks out against state violence and family separation

Pennsylvania’s testimony to the national broadcast was given by Jennina Rose Gorman, coordinator of the Altoona Healthcare Rights Committee with Put People First! PA, who spoke to the connections between forms of state violence that have put incarcerated and many other marginalized people at grave risk during the pandemic.

“I am here today because my son contracted COVID-19 in a foster care facility four hours away from me. I am here for all the families separated from loved ones whether through the child welfare system, through incarceration, or through immigrant detention. Staff who tested positive for COVID-19 cannot afford the time off and are allowed to return to work, which puts all of our loved ones in danger, and in rural PA, where I am from, the few hospitals that haven’t been closed are overflowing with COVID-19 patients.
— Jennina Gorman, PPF-PA Member

Jennina Gorman, Put People First! PA, speaking to the National broadcast.

Governor Wolf, Free the Vulnerable!

Later in the afternoon, mourners moved to the Governor’s mansion to join an action led by the Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration (CADBI), an organization on the PA Poor People’s Campaign State Coordinating Committee, and the Abolitionist Law Center. People stood vigil in front of the mansion with signs remembering the names of over 20 incarcerated people who died from COVID-19 in Pennsylvania prisons, and with banners calling on Governor Wolf to expand the use of his power to grant reprieves in order to release non-violent, elderly, and medically vulnerable prisoners.

The action lifted up the urgent release of Russell Maroon Shoatz, a political prisoner who has been held in PA prisons since 1970, is currently battling cancer, and has tested positive for COVID. “He is 77 years old. It is inexcusable that he is still in prison and we are asking for him to be immediately released,” said Saleem Holbrook of CADBI and the executive director of the Abolitionist Law Center, a former juvenile lifer who won his freedom a few years ago. Saleem shone a light on the desperate situation for prisoners across the state. “Right now as we speak SCI Houtzdale has over 300 prisoners who have tested positive for COVID-19. That is over half the population of the prison. And this is the senior citizens home of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.”

👉 UPDATE January 2021: The number of state prisoners who have died of COVID-19 since November has more than tripled to over 70 people. Governor Wolf and other officials continue to refuse to release vulnerable and elderly prisoners, and the state Department of Corrections is defending their policy of not always informing family members of prisoners who are sickened or killed due to COVID-19.

Outside the Governor’s mansion remembering prisoners killed by COVID-19.

Lorraine “Ms. Dee Dee” Haw, another leader with the Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration and the Nonviolent Medicaid Army whose son is facing life without parole, directly addressed the Governor, the state legislature, and the Department of Corrections with a list of demands to alleviate the COVID-19 crisis in the prisons.

Governor Wolf, we need you to stop worrying so much about saving breweries so that people can go out and drink. Start worrying about our insiders, who are losing their lives to COVID-19 unnecessarily.
— Lorraine Haw

She called for immediate decarceration to reduce the prison population and enable social distancing within overcrowded facilities, which could be done by prioritizing the release of elders, expediting commutations, and expanding compassionate release, parole, commutation and early release.

More than any time in our lifetime, the government’s response to COVID-19 has shown that we live in a failed state. We are here to make sure that people who are inside the prisons are not only protected, but that those that are charged with protecting them are held accountable for their failure in this moment.”
— Saleem Holbrook

Lorraine Haw, Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration (CADBI)
Saleem Holbrook, Abolitionist Law Center. Rally organizer Yusef Jones of CADBI looks on.

We light candles in remembrance, but also in deep commitment

At the end of the day, the National co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign led a virtual Interfaith Memorial Service. 2,500 candles were lit on the steps of National City Christian Church in Washington DC, each one representing one hundred lives lost to the coronavirus. Mourners from across the country contributed to a digital Wall of Remembrance with names and pictures of loved ones lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to the underlying pandemics of poverty, racism, ecological devastation and militarism that have taken so many lives. (You can contribute remembrances to the memorial wall here.)

We light candles in remembrance, but also in deep commitment. Because to mourn is to care deeply and to care so deeply that you seek to do something about the situations that cause the mourning in the first place.
— Rev. Dr. William Barber II

👉 Please be in touch with us to get involved with the ongoing work of deepening and broadening the PA Poor People’s Campaign through working groups and organizations across the state: email pennsylvania@poorpeoplescampaign.org or fill out this involvement formForward Together, Not One Step Back!

On January 10, PPF-PA hosted a virtual “People’s Poetry” workshop followed by Arts and Culture night. The event was put on by the Community Care and Base Building teams, with the idea that expressing ourselves together can be a way of taking care of each other in painful, isolating times, as well as developing our connectedness, clarity, and commitment to the struggle.

The first hour was a poetry workshop, where we looked at the words of past leaders in our movement – Albert Turner, Ella Baker, Fred Hampton, and Martin Luther King, Jr. – as prompts for our own writing, which we then shared. The next hour and a half was Arts and Culture night, where people continued to share their poems, alongside other pieces of culture from PPF-PA members and others: songs, videos, writing, visual art. 

The event felt like a big success, with dozens of attendees, from longtime PPF-PA members to brand new contacts. Even through the virtual medium, there was a strong feeling of love and support for each other, in the zoom chat, in our faces, expressing our joy at witnessing and learning from each other. Through it all was the understanding that sharing arts and culture is not a nice sideline to organizing, but it is organizing: fortifying each other for present and future struggles, remembering what we share, what we need, and what we’re fighting for. 

Reflection from Beckett, Philly Healthcare Rights Committee (HRC) & Base-building team

Poems from the Workshop

Poor Revolution
Kenneth Daly, Philly HRC

People say we need to have money.
People say we need to have media.
People say we need to have guns.

They’re talking about a revolution for the haves.
We’re talking about a revolution by the have-nots.
 
A poor revolution.
For that we first need
ourselves alone.
Thank you, Chairman Fred
Brother Mark, The People-Pueblo Party

Thank you, Chairman Fred
Although you were only 21 years old when they ended your life
you are still with us today.
You are still speaking to us, 
showing us that the way to defeat Counter-Revolution,
disease and death is through Love, Unity, Political Education, and Action.
All Power to the People!
Borderlands
Fran Gilmore, Montco HRC

They say the borderwall
is like a scar
on the heart
 
That some who went around
or through or over died
nameless in the desert sand. 
 
We come to this place
with arms around each other’s shoulders,
learn to hold our scars beloved,
wisdom lines.  We bring water
and love to heal them.
 
We seek the tracks of our heroes,
Tubman, DuBois, King and Hamer
Davis, Hampton and Baptist.
 
We listen to the music of our bards,
Langston, Woody, Pete and Jacob.
 
We listen to the music
of the clouds and stars, coax
a song from the furrowed earth,
a chorus of corn and wheat and kale,
food for all, as we honor the fallen
buried deep below.
 
We draw power from the wind and sun,
from the tides, from our collective will
to live, to heal, to be among each other,
among the future born.
Untitled
Frank Scarsella, Johnstown HRC

If we are to Uplift the People, we first have to understand How we Got Here.
Teaching the People means Hearing them. Seeing them. Being them! Being of the people! Because no Outsider will ever Uplift US.
We must see the past Clearly! The valley was shaped by the river but cannot see the changes in itself that it brings.
What we must do is rise above it, see the changes. See the years that shaped the valley - that shaped the People - and then Redirect the River.
Up in the Limbs and Leaves
Gabrielle Angelino, Montco HRC

This tree I live in is very old.
It’s withering and rotting from the inside out. 
It was here long before our ancestors were brought here
Chained
- ankle to ankle, wrist to wrist-
in the humid hulls of ships:
built with the carcasses of our tree’s own ancestors. 
Up in the limbs and leaves
-the skin and bones of our tree-
curls and leans underneath the pressure of oppression.
The skin hates the bones for not holding it up;
the bones hate the skin for sagging.
Neither blames the roots who have carried poison throughout this tree for years under the cloak of nutrition. 
This tree I live in is scarred by war and marred by self-loathing.
If only it could look down at what lies just beneath its feet.
Rooting for Gold
Harrison Farina, Montco HRC

We gotta get to the roots
Don’t play with no leaf or no limbs
We gotta take back our fruits
And give them out 1 by 1.
Go down to the root
Like Albert Turner said
A doctor that can shoot
A dose of reality to the head
Cause we’re making room
And we gotta Zoom, now!
But not too fast, without looking
Cause then we’ll fall down and not know how.
But there’s something solid
We’re standing on
It doesn’t go down with the dawn
That’s our dignity, always under us though some times
We need a remindin’
But that’s where our collective
Rushes in with the findin’.
Cause we’re looking for gold
Just like you
Not just roots but gold, gold!
And not just a few.
Cause there’s a lot of us
And we’re here to stay
And we can’t afford to play
With falling leaves and branches.
Not just gold, but roots are important too
Grasp them if we want to get through
And make sure to wear gloves…
They’ll poison you while you say ah-choo!
We’re up against something big, but we can dig
Get to some solid ground
And look there! Roots
Turnips, beets, and all kinds of fruits!

Take em’ out, and take a bite
And kick the ass of the ruling class
With all our might!

Count Every Vote & Poor People’s Hearings

This past week Healthcare Rights Committees across the state demanded that every vote be counted and a full democracy for the poor and dispossessed!

It is our duty to make clear that as we support the democratic process, we won’t experience democracy as the poor and dispossessed – across party lines – until we actually have healthcare, housing, living wage jobs, transit, education, and freedom from discrimination, criminalization, incarceration, and detention.

We have been in crisis – before COVID, since COVID, before the election, and that crisis will continue after the election. To achieve democracy, in addition to voting and counting every vote, we need to: 

  1. Organize, organize, organize to build power for poor and dispossessed people across race and geography in Pennsylvania.
  2. Unite to overcome the divide and conquer strategies that pit white people against people of color and urban, suburban and rural people against each other.
  3. Build clear, competent, committed and connected leaders from every race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ability, immigration status, and region.

On Wednesday, Karim Nathan from the Philadelphia HRC spoke at the Count Every Vote Action in Philly. Here is a live stream of Karim’s remarks:

https://www.facebook.com/PutPeopleFirstPA/videos/1231479130572726/

Pittsburgh/Mon Valley HRC took action the day after the election with Socialist Alternative in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh and Mon Valley HRCs were represented by Briann Moye during the Socialist Alternative’s Event: Don’t Let Trump Steal the Election! This event took place the day after the election and was held in order to advocate for all votes to be counted in Pennsylvania, regardless of the outcome of the election. The event called for the rejection of the two party system and the dangers inherent in the parties being run by corporate interest. Below is an excerpt from Briann’s Speech, and a link to the speech on Facebook:

“Every two to four years, every election we face is the next biggest crisis… but we recognize that the day after the election nothing in our lives fundamentally changes… I want to pose a question to everyone here in this crowd: What, to the poor and dispossessed, is democracy? What to the 140 million poor, near poor, dispossessed, working class folks in the United States is democracy? When these elections happen and the balance of power shifts from one ruling class to another, we realize our lives aren’t any different!” 

Link to video on Facebook: Briann Moye’s Remarks on the Outcome of this Election

Briann urges us to think critically about how the two-party system, despite the outcome of the election, will  never be a democracy for the poor and working class Americans. This is why we must reject partisan politics, reach across the aisle, and speak with each other so that we can work TOGETHER for a better America. If we do not do this critical work, our country will continue to divide over issues that, in the end, only benefit the ruling class. The two party system has no place in the politics of the working class and poor people of the United States. 

Remarks from Denyne of the MonValley HRC on recent actions and upcoming Poor People’s Hearing:

The MonValley HRC has been teamed up with Pittsburgh HRC and we are an incredible force together. Our team has been able  successfully perform several live actions together in a safe manner during this Pandemic. All of which helps develop us through the leadership pathway and strengthen us as an organization. We have even gained new members to both HRC’s and the amount of enthusiasm in these newcomers is enough to prove that we must Continue the work that we do. They’re out there waiting to hear the words…. of the movement they’ve been waiting for…..People are fired up and ready to act…..We must continue to educate ourselves and develop ourselves to be ready to move people along…. we must read it , research it,  study it, just do it so they do not lax into boredom…. Lets Go!!!! — Denyne Pollard, MonValley HRC

Last week, Members of the Northeast PA Healthcare Rights Committee took action. At the #CountEveryVote action in Wilkes-Barre Rose Yanko of the NEPA Healthcare Rights Committee, demanded true democracy for the poor and dispossessed. Watch the livestream here:  https://fb.watch/1HC2S2h7RR/ .

Here are remarks from Alex in Wilkes-Barre:

“It’s going to take social movements for the foreseeable future, to make sure that Northeast PA [interests] are protected by whoever is in power… for too long Harrisburg has not prioritized the needs we have. We have low wage jobs… non-union jobs… and the fact is this [happens] even when our [people] power was the most significant in our society and in PA…”

  • Alex Lotorto from NEPA HRC

On Saturday in Philly, Nijmie spoke at the Voters Decide: a Rally for Life, Liberty and Democracy Here are Nijmie’s remarks and the live stream of the event: https://www.facebook.com/phillywerise/videos/407904960379043/ 

My name is Nijmie Zakkiyyah Dzurinko and I am a co-founder and co-coordinator of Put People First – PA and co-chair of the PA Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. As we stand here on Lenni Lenape land today I bring you greetings from my tribe, the Occaneechi band of the Saponi nation. 

I grew up on the other side of the state, in Westmoreland County, and I was raised by my grandparents. My grandfather was a steelworker. The first award I ever won was in 4th grade when I wrote an essay about the importance of unions, so I salute all of my union siblings here today.

I want to thank everyone who worked, who organized, who mobilized, who gave 1000% to ensure that those who COULD vote did and to protect our democratic right to vote!

In the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, we connected with two million poor voters of all backgrounds across this country through our program of Mobilizing, Organizing, Registering and Educating which trained THOUSANDS of everyday people in organizing conversations and registering people for a MOVEMENT, who will vote. 

Today is such an important day! It’s a day to celebrate the working class power that we demonstrated through this election. It also seems to me a great synergy that today is the 103rd anniversary of the Russian Revolution, one of the great examples in history when the working class kicked the ass of the ruling class!

And as we celebrate today we also must remember that Democracy for Indigenous people, for Black and Brown people, for AAPI people, for houseless people, for disabled people, for immigrants, for queer and trans people, for ALL poor and dispossessed people in this country – over 140 million of us and counting – is still a distant dream.

Our political rights and our civil rights will not and CANNOT be fulfilled until healthcare is a right! Until housing is a right! Until clean water is a right! Until quality education is a right! Until freedom of migration is a right! Until freedom from incarceration and detention is a right! Until freedom from state violence is a right! 

That’s why I’m so glad that we continued with today’s action. Because the wealth of billionaires grew by over 800 billion dollars while our class is being thrown into the streets. Because hospitals like Hahnemann right down the street are CLOSED as we have another huge spike in COVID cases. Because Walter Wallace Jr. was killed by police in MY NEIGHBORHOOD while mental health services are stripped away. 

Because we must ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE the WHOLE WORKING CLASS across all lines of division and across urban, rural and suburban places in every county in this state and across every state in this country. Not just on election day, but every day! When I say “All power” you say “to the working class”! WE ONLY GET WHAT WE ARE ORGANIZED TO TAKE. Join us! THANK YOU!

On Sunday, the Montgomery County Healthcare Rights Committee took action with a Poor People’s Hearing on Democracy in Norristown. Here are photos from the event and Remarks from Serissa Homa:

I’m 15 years old and I am a part of the Montco HRC of Put People First – Pennsylvania. Being 15, I know what it’s like to not be heard because of your age, a lot of people don’t understand that kids are more mature than they think and that we are more aware of what goes on around us. I believe that we all need to organize to make change. And the change I want is healthcare for everyone. My mother Stephanie and I have been denied the healthcare we need and deserve for a very long time, like most of you here today. From our medications we need to survive like heart meds and inhalers to braces and oral surgery, etc. We have had Aetna my whole life and they barely have ever helped us. We have paid thousands of dollars over the years on hospital visits and medications. That should not be the case. I know many of you have this struggle and I’m so sorry that the system  has screwed you over as well. They have made so much profit over the working class people and I’m sick of it! Under a democracy we would have health care and not have to worry about dying because you can’t afford your medications! I hope that more of today’s youth like me will also stand up for what they know we need HEALTHCARE! — Serissa Homa, Montgomery County HRC

Photos https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.203024501344589&type=3 

On Sunday, the Philadelphia Healthcare Rights Committee took action with Poor People’s Campaign partners, Co-Emceeing the event with Act UP! Here is the live stream of the event and remarks from the Poor People’s Hearing in Philadelphia:

“It’s time for everybody to come together…this is for the poor people, the struggling people, the people who are willing to put their lives on the line to see that justice is served. No longer will we be coming to City Council begging…for a human right!…Our ancestors thank you for giving us the light to travel and withstand all of this oppression: police state, national guards! Instead of tripping on each other…on which white person in power is going to take care of us, it is time for us to take care of each other!” – Sam Druton

https://www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPPC/videos/1052831098515948/?vh=e&d=n

Yesterday, PPF-PA joined the Movement of Immigrant Leaders in PA and other organizations for the Unity in Power Parade in Harrisburg where we celebrated our community power. Here is the livestream of Desi from MILPA speaking: https://www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPPC/videos/386736309116325/?vh=e&d=n 

During this time it is more important than ever for us to be united as a community and fight for our Human Rights!

Unete con nosotros para celebrar el poder de nuestra comunidad cuando nos unimos! Durante estos tiempos es mas importante que nunca que nos unamos como comunidad y luchemos juntxs por nuestros Derechos Humanos!