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News You Can Use - Jan 11, 2022

January 11, 2022

News You Can Use - Jan 11, 2022

On Monday January 17, our offices will be closed for MLK Day. It’s important to remember that as much as our work is built on learning from the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King’s legacy is built from slave revolts and the work of people like Bayard Rustin, who couldn’t take front and center because they “weren’t respectable enough.” Here at PA Stands Up, we don’t subscribe to respectability politics, and look forward to celebrating the work of the good Reverend Doctor by taking the time to rest and reflect as we build the world we dream about.

You can join one of Reclaim Philadelphia’s neighborhood groups online to discuss some of his work and a SURJ group is organizing white folks to stop another Jan 6th.

Redistricting:

Pennsylvania Republicans seek a new constitutional amendment that would give their party the power to draw new district lines. They propose a new redistricting commission, but would give the ultimate deciding power to the State Legislature - currently controlled by the Republican Party. If the proposed amendment passes both this year and next, it could be on the ballot for voters as early as spring of 2023. If passed, the amendment would require new maps be drawn for the 2024 election cycle.

As for the maps that will be used in the 2022 cycle, the public comment period continues for the proposed maps. The proposal for the State Senate is full of substantial problems – most notably it divides the city of Allentown into two different districts and separates Lancaster City from some of it’s core suburban areas. If you live in Lehigh or Lancaster counties, please submit your comments!

Surprising but true:

State Rep. Manny Guzman has officially been blue-pilled. In comments made after endorsing Lancaster City councilperson, Janet Diaz, Guzman decries what he calls the “hyper-progressives” in the state house and admits that he favors a more “pragmatic” choice for Lancaster’s newly drawn 50th State House district. These comments appear to be a direct commentary on the deep, true progressive values of LSU endorsed candidate Izzy Smith-Wade-El . These surprising comments from Rep. Guzman show why we must redouble our efforts to elect true transformative champions like Izzy, who will fight unwaveringly for the needs of their constituents, to the PA State House. Get involved with Izzy’s campaign here.

Not over Covid:

The cases last week are out of this world, or at least the country. Record numbers of people are being hospitalized, even more than under the Trump administration. In Delaware county, they had to close their emergency room and school districts are still closing across the state. Instead of closing preemptively, however, many are closing only after teachers, bus drivers and admin are getting sick. In Lancaster County, our organizers have found that the district is intentionally lowering the positive rates to keep schools open. You can help keep the school boards accountable here.

We’re seeing a lot more support for school safety from teachers unions that are advocating for closures, against White House advice. Speaking of which, the advice coming out of Biden’s office has been dreadful across the board. After a year in office, they only have a plan to get at home tests to the insured. We are securing ways to hold Biden accountable to the millions getting sick so stay tuned!  You can find PCR tests near you using this map from Gov. Wolf’s office.

Housing Justice

If you got your coat out for the first time last week, you’re not alone. Heavy snows hit us across PA and even some folks who have homes are having trouble staying warm. We saw the devastating reality of that when a landlord didn’t have adequate safety in a housing complex in Philly and 12 people died in a fire as a result. There’s community support for the families that lost their homes and loved ones, and we’re also supporting Senator Nikil Saval’s plan for a Green New Deal for Housing. It won’t repair the tragedies we’ve already seen, but sign up for more info on Reclaim Philadelphia’s Housing Justice Taskforce!

Remember, you can join any of our chapters to keep this work going!

Use this News,

Ashleigh, Lev, and Onah