We are ecstatic to release the Spring / Summer 2021 edition of The Keystone, Put People First! PA’s member created, biannual newsletter.
The Keystone is a labor of love produced by Put People First! PA’s Media and Communications Team. Here’s the team “Letter from the Editors” for this edition of the Keystone:
To our Readers:
Put People First! PA (PPF-PA) is a mass, base-building, human rights organization, dedicated to building each other up as leaders to unite the poor and dispossessed in Pennsylvania. We’re organizing across the state to change the systems that deny us our basic needs through our Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign, our 10 local Healthcare Rights Committees, numerous Statewide Teams and members in 19 counties.
You are reading The Keystone, our biannual newsletter, produced by the Media and Communications Team. The Keystone is a gathering of writing and art produced by our members, who are the best people to tell our stories—our struggles with healthcare, our experiences organizing, and how our collectivity in PPF-PA has shaped us. We call the practice of writing our own narratives the Battle of the Story, a term we borrow from the Center for Story-based Strategy. If we don’t tell our own story about the solutions we need, the mainstream media will tell that story for us in a distorted way.
One of our Statewide Teams is the Media and Communications Team, which works to share our work and our narratives with the public, and to bring our members closer together through our shared stories. We do this work through publishing The Keystone, through our biweekly E-News, our social media presence and our work with the press.
This is the Spring/Summer 2021 edition of the Keystone! You’ll hear from leaders on what feeds their organizing work, the importance of building our membership base (base-building), and the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced our commitment to the struggle for healthcare as a human right. You’ll find updates on our campaign for a Public Healthcare Advocate in Pennsylvania, a public office that would fight for the healthcare rights of all Pennsylvanians at the State level, and our struggle to restore a comprehensive dental benefit to Medicaid. You’ll read about how we combat ruling class ideas with our Projects of Survival, which meet our material needs while developing leaders. Not to mention artwork from leaders, reflections on our internal political education, and articles from our sibling organizations.These are our stories—your stories.
All the content in this edition of The Keystone comes out of the context of this moment: an economic crisis amidst a global pandemic. The past year and a half has reinforced what we know all too well to be true: we already knew that this oppressive system did not value the health or economic safety of poor people. 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. This year of COVID-19 has made these truths much more visible, and exposed more cracks in our broken system. So how does PPF-PA combat this oppressive system? We organize! We unite across lines of division under a common demand for our human rights.
We want to dedicate this edition of the Keystone to all of those we’ve lost this year. We dedicate this to those that ignite our struggle, inspire us continuously, and forever live in our hearts.
Thank you so much for being here.
The Media and Communications Team
Want to look at past Keystone editions? Here on the website is our archive.