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.

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