Statement on Black Lives Matter 6/8/2020
The statement that Black Lives Matter does not mean that Black lives matter at the exclusion or expense of anyone else. Instead, it is pushing back against all of the work done by both political parties since before even the birth of the nation to dehumanize Black Americans. If the phrase Black Lives Matter seems, to you, to be too radical, too dangerous, too incendiary, it’s because you’ve spent a lifetime thinking of Black Americans as something less than. It’s because you can’t see your own life as worthwhile without degrading Black Americans.
What world have we created where a statement acknowledging someone’s humanity has somehow become a divisive, partisan, political statement? Shame on us all for allowing this to happen. Shame on us all for needing to see these tragedies play out over and over before finally opening our ears and eyes and minds and hearts.
For those of you reading this looking for action, we have four assignments for you. First, be quiet and listen. Listen to the people protesting in the streets now. Listen to the people who have been protesting for generations. Don’t insert yourself into the conversation. This isn’t the time to play Devil’s advocate.
As if the Devil needed any more help.
Second, educate yourself. There are volumes of work by Black authors and artists – Angela Y. Davis, James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ava DuVernay, Michelle Alexander, Bryan Stevenson, Ibram X. Kendi, Crystal Fleming, Eve Ewing, and so many more. Search beyond the surface of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and learn about Fred Hampton, The Black Panther Party, about the
Soledad Brothers and the Attica Prison Riots. You’re not going to reach out to your Black friend you haven’t spoken to in ten years and ask them to educate you on what’s going on. You’re going to do this yourself.
Third, put your money where your heart is. Donate to the Philadelphia Bail Fund, and other bail funds across the United States. Spend money at Black owned businesses, buy art by Black artists. Support candidates who have a vision for a just and equitable future, not those that make you comfortable or who you’re holding your nose to vote for because you think they’ve got the best chance of winning or who promise to maintain the status quo. That’s not how we get to a better future together.
Fourth, we implore you to hold all of our elected officials, from the Governor to the many magistrates, township supervisors, and school boards throughout Pennsylvania, Democrats and Republicans, conservatives, moderates, and liberals alike, responsible for the tragedy unfolding in our streets day to day, week to week, and year to year. This is a grave injury to our society that has been perpetuated for over 400 years, in a cycle of rising anger boiling over and met with furious resentment, those delighting in the chance to wreak havoc using bad faith arguments and violence to sow division among people and guarantee that the cycle of violence and hate continues for another generation. That’s how we repeat the mistakes of so many who have come before us, and set the stage for another round of explosive, violent riots for the next generation to deal with as we hold our heads in shame. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Riots are the language of the unheard.”
We are asking you to be brave and show the courage so few white people before us have been able to. This isn’t the time to hide in the basement and turn out the porch lights and pray no one knows you’re home. It’s time to work.
We offer this statement knowing we are far from perfect, and that we have miles and miles to travel on our own path to understanding justice and equity. We hope that you will make this journey with us.
Statement on HB1100 3/13/2020
Action Together NEPA urges PA legislators to put the health of their constituents above corporate profits and reconsider their ill-advised passage of the so-called “Energize PA” bill, which gives away billions of dollars in subsidies to the polluting plastics and fracking industries.
At a time when our elected officials should be implementing a severance tax on natural gas drilling and using those funds on infrastructure projects, they have instead passed a package of bills (HB 1100) that provide tax breaks and subsidies for petrochemical companies to build cracker plants that will use fracked gas to produce plastics. The program will cost the state approximately $22 million per plant per year, until 2050.
Proponents claim fracking and cracker plants will lead to job growth; however, the natural gas industry has been claiming a boost in manufacturing jobs since it began fracking, and none have materialized. Although a cracker plant built in Beaver County by oil giant Shell (after receiving $1.6 billion in subsidies) may support a large number of temporary construction jobs, it will only lead to an estimated 600 permanent jobs in that region – a cost of $2.75 million per job. That money could be better used as an investment in rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, replacing lead water pipes and other infrastructure projects – providing jobs that improve our communities and do not contribute to pollution, environmental waste and diminished property values.
More alarming than the economic cost to taxpayers, there are serious health and environmental concerns. It’s estimated that Shell’s Beaver County facility alone will be allowed to spew 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide and other volatile organic compounds into our air annually and will erase 30 years of improvements in regional air quality.
The health problems linked to fracking are also concerning, including asthma, high-risk pregnancies, migraines, and skin disorders. After Louisiana rolled back environmental regulations and offered tax incentives and subsidies to the natural gas and petrochemical industries on the promise of jobs, the result was its residents who live near the plants (now referred to as “cancer ally) facing a cancer risk 50 times higher than the national average.
Gov. Wolf has vowed to veto HB 1100; however, the legislation passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority can override a veto. We urge residents of NEPA to contact their legislators today and ask them to prioritize the health and well-being of their constituents over the agendas and profits of the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries.
Statement on the National Women's March 12/2018
Although Action Together NEPA’s local women’s march is being independently planned, funded, and implemented 100 percent by AT NEPA members not the National Women’s March, it is listed as a sister march on the National Women’s March’s website.
We did not take the accusations against Linda Sarsour lightly and researched the matter. The Women’s March has repeatedly made statements condemning anti-Semitism and condemning the anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ language of Louis Farrakhan. The Women’s March has also updated their unity principles to reflect that they oppose antisemitism. It is important to note that the Women’s March organization follows the principles of Kingian non-violence, and principle 3 states to attack the forces of evil, not people doing evil; therefore, they do not condemn human beings, instead choosing to root out the causes of oppression and attack the systematic causes and actively fight white supremacy for all marginalized and impacted communities.
We feel the Women’s March organizers have clarified their strong stance against antisemitism and discrimination. Obviously, Action Together’s principles and mission include staunch opposition to hate speech and all forms of discrimination. This distraction is only helping the real haters to divide our collective progressive voice. We need to stand up to these forces trying to divide us and will continue with the planning of our local march to support women of all backgrounds across NEPA.
Statement on Supreme Court Nomination 9/2018
Action Together NEPA opposes the nomination and confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. We have dire concerns about both the nominee’s record and the confirmation process itself. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has come forward to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault, and there should be a full and fair official investigation into these allegations and a subsequent public senate hearing during which both Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Blasey Ford can testify under oath. Additionally, thousands of pages of documents from Kavanaugh’s tenure as a White House staff secretary during George W. Bush’s presidency were withheld from the Senate Judiciary Committee, making it impossible for senators to perform their constitutional duty to fully provide “advice and consent” on the nominee. Action Together NEPA also objects to Kavanaugh’s record as a far-right appellate judge on everything from women’s reproductive rights and the environment to the ACA and civil rights. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote a column earlier this month titled “Kavanaugh Will Kill the Constitution” and noted that “his anti-labor views are especially extreme, even for a conservative.” Finally, several democratic senators, including Sen. Patrick Leahy, are on the record as saying Kavanaugh misled the senate under oath during his confirmation hearings about his involvement in several George W. Bush-era controversies. Call Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey at the numbers below and tell them to vote “no” on Brett Kavanaugh.
Sen. Pat Toomey
Sen. Bob Casey
AT Statement To Congress On Gun Control 2/15/2018
Enough is enough! Action Together NEPA urges Congress to take immediate action on sensible gun violence prevention measures that are supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans. Silence is not an acceptable response to the multiple mass murders committed by domestic terrorists with inexplicable access to military-style firearms, high capacity magazines and unlimited rounds of ammunition. Our elected officials can and must stand up to the gun lobby to protect innocent Americans from this readily identifiable threat.
Sadly, rather than taking steps to reduce gun violence, America is moving in the opposite direction. It is inarguable that the frequency of mass shootings has increased since the assault weapon ban was allowed to lapse in 2004. In February 2017, President Trump signed a law making it easier for people with a history of mental illness to purchase guns. And plans are now underway for passage of a new law that will make it easier to import assault rifles, transport weapons across state lines, and purchase silencers - which have been banned since the 1930s.
We believe that now is that time to stand up to the bullying gun lobby, and we strongly support measures that will implement universal background checks, close the gun-show loophole, control online sales, limit the size of ammunition clips, monitor inordinate purchases of ammunition, improve our mental health system, authorize research to study and share information about gun violence, increase product safety, and control access to weapons of war and devices that make them even more deadly. We call on Congress to immediately establish a bipartisan committee to research gun violence and enact common sense legislation to help end this crisis.
AT Statement On The NFL 9/29/2017
Action Together NEPA supports the First Amendment rights of NFL players and all Americans to peacefully protest and express their views. We will continue to fight for freedom of speech protections; advocate for racial justice and call out police misconduct where we see it; and encourage policies that support and honor our veterans and military servicemembers.
AT Statement On DACA 9/5/2017
Action Together NEPA stands with and will protect our Dreamers. They support the American economy, reflect American values, and serve in the armed forces. For so many of them this is the only country they've known. Congress must act now to pass a permanent legislative fix that includes a path to citizenship so the 800,000 DACA recipients will be permanently protected.