Statewide Call Report Back
Our May Statewide Membership Call had five dozen participants from across the state tuning in for a chance to dialogue with special guests Dr. Armen Henderson of the Dream Defenders and Kristin Colangelo of the National Union of the Homeless. Dr. Henderson made national news when police detained him in front of his home as he was leaving to deliver free COVID-19 testing to unhoused residents. The call covered conditions on the ground in Florida and Pennsylvania, similarities in our organizing models and lessons learned. It also provided a chance to link the National Union of the Homeless which is currently building chapters around the country, with the Dream Defenders, whose recent work has focused heavily on providing services and support to the homeless.
Join our next Statewide Membership Call Thursday June 18th from 7-8:30 pm.
Johnstown HRC takes Covid-19 needs to Johnstown City Council
Johnstown Healthcare Rights Committee prepared and presented a local list of funding and other needs to Johnstown City Council at a virtual meeting on Wednesday May 13th.. Johnstown is expected to receive $760k Covid-19 Relief Aid monies and after several weeks there has been little transparency regarding the use of those funds. Kiki from our Johnstown HRC spoke to council about our concerns with committing funds to meet the needs local resident’s rent and utility forgiveness needs. Johnstown’s WJAC-TV covered our list of needed funds disbursements transparency and the addition of convenient Covid-19 testing sites in the city. The Johnstown HRC is planning follow-up regarding community Covid-19 funding and other needs.
Philadelphia Healthcare Rights Committee
Socialist Alternative invited PPF-PA to speak on a town hall meeting about the Philadelphia city budget on Thursday, May 25. Mayor Kenney is proposing an austerity budget that would slash funding for public programs, when what we need instead is a moral budget that centers the needs of the poor and dispossessed, in this crisis and beyond. Jae represented the Philly HRC, speaking about the fight for Hahnemann Hospital, the need to address the root causes of the problems that harm working class people and how our power comes through organization! Other speakers included city workers, organizers with PASNAP, the Sunrise Movement, and City Council Member Kendra Brooks.
Click here for the video.
Mon Valley, Pittsburgh Healthcare Rights Committee Press Conference
On May 19th, Mon Valley and Pittsburgh HRCs hosted a joint press conference with the Abolitionist Law Center as well as local politicians, Mayor Nickole Nesby of Duquesne and County Councilperson Bethany Hallam. During the press conference, multiple speakers called for expanded COVID-19 testing throughout Allegheny County. We specifically targeted Allegheny County Jail, Kane Senior Centers, and low income communities where there are transportation barriers to testing sites.
Five reporters were in attendance and we received press coverage in multiple outlets featuring quotes from HRC members across the state. Allegheny County Council members, that same day, decided to wait to vote on a bill that would secure testing in the county jail. Both HRCs plan to continue to take action with partner organizations and local government officials to further address the need to expand testing.
Montgomery County Healthcare Rights Committee
This is a statement/Letter to the Editor that Montgomery County HRC wrote that was posted in the Norristown Patch.
Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee
Meeting with Representative Bryan Cutler report back
The Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee met with Representative Bryan Cutler recently to discuss our healthcare as a human right platform. He has agreed to continue to meet with us and work with us in establishing a Public Healthcare Advocate for Pennsylvania. He seemed to have similar views and feelings in regards to St. Joseph’s hospital as we do in relation to when it was St. Joseph’s hospital and not when it was operated by the other entities. He also expressed concern on how the closure of St. Joseph’s hospital has affected the community of Lancaster, PA and is in agreement with us that we need more healthcare resources on the southern end of Lancaster County. Cutler expressed as it stands it’s closer for residents on the southern end of Lancaster County like himself to go to John Hopkins in Baltimore Maryland versus a hospital in Lancaster County, PA.
Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee “Projects of Survival”
Sign up to join the Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee and partners in our “Projects of Survival!” What is a Project of Survival? A Project of Survival is a method of connecting people, both materially and politically.
Put People First! PA has several established “Projects of Survival” from our leadership development across differences, political education to our “Community Care Fund” a fund utilized to meet the material needs of our leaders, i.e. rent, utility payments and other basic necessities. These “Projects of Survival” are essential to our movement in organizing to fight for our basic human rights.
In Lancaster we are expanding on our already existing “Projects of Survival.” ie Lancaster Homeless Union, holding healthcare profiteers and our elected officials accountable. We are now expanding to add a connection to meet material needs & a Human Rights House for Lancaster County, a space to house leaders of the movement and serve as a communal resource for the poor and dispossessed of Lancaster County and the greater movement.
Such a movement combining a plan to both meet the material needs of and development of leaders has the potential to “’expose larger society to moral failures and contradictions, and make demands and claims on the power of the state” (Sandweiss-Back, 2020, p. 6). Read more at: https://kairoscenter.org/beyond-mutual-aid/
To join our “Projects of Survival” fill out our survey at bit.ly/LancasterProjectsOfSurvival