HCHR Convening, CSI Fayette close up and upcoming events
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Healthcare is a Human Right Convening 

Reflections from PPF-PA and partner organizations

Last week, the Healthcare is a Human Right national collaborative convened in Philadelphia to continue building our movement. Here's what PPF-PA member, Kim, had to say:

"On June 24 - 25, 2015, I attended a regional conference of Human Rights Groups hosted by my organization, Put People First! PA (PPF-PA). This event was attended by members of Vermont Workers Center, United Workers/Healthcare is a Human Right Maryland, the Southern Maine Workers Center, and the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI). We were hosted for the two day event by the Pennsylvania Federation, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees. We discussed among other things topics such as campaign strategy, base building, holding power holders accountable, political education and leadership development.
Despite the heat and although there where many things discussed that I wish I could remember in more detail the one thing I will remember most is the camaraderie. As a grassroots group spread over such a large state it is easy to feel your efforts are small. After talking to the members of these other groups I will carry with me the knowledge that we are part of something bigger. The new friends I have made will allow me a window into a larger world. The networking I accomplished will provide a broader base of support and allow me to talk out new ideas and plans across a much more diverse group. I am also looking forward to having my organizing committee in York meet and talk with some of my new friends. I hope I can relay this new sense of camaraderie to the other members of the York organizing committee. I hope that I can inspire us with a renewed sense of purpose and drive."  - Kim J Altland, York OC Put People First! PA
"As we talked in groups--large and small--about base-building, it was nourishing for me to hear folks repeatedly stress the importance of developing leaders through genuine relationship-building. There was clearly a deeply shared sense that transformative organizing under a human rights framework requires slow, intentional work to bring ordinary folks into their individual and collective power." - Cait Vaughan, Southern Maine Workers' Center

"Reflecting collectively and strategizing with organizers from across the region reminded me of the power and potential of this work, and the need for coordination in order to take on the powerful interests we're up against." - Keith Brunner, Vermont Workers' Center
"Meeting with powerful and thoughtful leaders of the other HCHR campaigns made it palpable that we  are part of a much larger movement for the right to health care and for a world in which all of us can live lives of dignity. The honest discussions about what we are up against and how we can build power together sent me back to Vermont with renewed energy and inspiration, along with some practical ideas for movement building here at home." - Ellen Schwartz, Vermont Workers' Center

"One of the things that I took away from the HCHR Convening is how much I've learned from others. I was very surprised to hear about Baltimore's "rain tax" and moved by the stories and statistics put together in the "Voices of Maryland's Healthcare Crisis" Report. I am also inspired by PPF PA's Keystone Newsletter and how much PPF PA has grown over the last 3 years.I look forward to strengthening relationships and building this HCHR movement together." - Denise Rixie, Vermont Workers' Center

Thank you to everyone who helped plan, traveled near and fair, hosted people and events, and shared in two days of building community and strategy together in Philadelphia for the HCHR campaigns!

Close up on the Fayette Health Justice Campaign

PPF-PA member Richard tells his story


In SCI Fayette prison and in the community of LaBelle, PA, a coal ash dump and coal slurry pond are causing a wide range of very serious health problems for many people. PPF-PF is working with these families as a part of the effort to address the health crisis at SCI Fayette and the surrounding community of La Belle, PA. Here is the story of why Richard is getting involved in the movement:

"My name is Richard, I’m from Philadelphia. I’m a father, husband and grandfather. I’ve worked since I was 14, I’ve been to college, made bad decisions, got myself arrested and sent to prison. After going through the intake process I was sent to SCI Fayette in February 2008.  Upon arriving at SCI Fayette, I started having trouble breathing. My situation progressively got worse, I lost a lot of weight, I had trouble sleeping, my nose ran for 4 years. I went to medical maybe 50 times, in the infirmary maybe 10 times. I had no idea what kind of illness I was suffering from. I was told by administration that my illness was psychosomatic. I wrote some letters to my wife and children in case I died, cause I got real sick. I shared those with my cellmates to send to my family just in case.

I was sick basically my whole time in Fayette, and I had to file a lawsuit to try to get to an outside doctor, but to no avail. I wrote everyone in the chain of command all the way to Camphill four times a week. I didn’t get the proper medical attention until was I released and able to go to my family doctor. I still have different alignments that I’m suffering from that my doctor cannot explain that I’ve learned to live with.

It was a traumatic experience. I still have a lot of people there who I told I’ve never forget about them and their plight at that prison. I’m partnering with Put People First! PA to fight for better healthcare for the inmates in the prison system."

To support the Fayette Health Justice Campaign, sign the petition here asking Governor Wolf to order and execute an audit of the prison. Contact Sheila Quintana at  to learn more.

Upcoming Events

Kairos Center's Poor People's Campaign National Organizing tour - La Belle, Fayette County and Pittsburgh, July 6th- 8th. We'll be meeting with the Center for Coalfield Justice, the Human Rights Coalition and Helping to Organize and Protect our Environment (HOPE), organizations that we're working with on the Fayette Health Justice Campaign. For more background on what's happening see here. If you'd like to attend all or part of this, contact Sheila;

York OC meeting - July 9th, 2015 at 7pm - 830pm. 3000 Whiteford Rd, York, PA 17402. Contact Eliel for more information: 
Door-knocking in Philly - July 11th, 18th & 25th, 11:30am to 2pm. Meet up for an orientation to doorknocking and then hit the doors to meet future PPF leaders! Meeting up in West Philly to knock on doors in Southwest. RSVP to to let us know when you can come!
SAVE THE DATE: PPF-PA Statewide Membership Assembly, September 19-20th Stay tuned for more information on how to get involved in the planning!
Copyright © 2015 Put People First! PA, All rights reserved.

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