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Reflections After a Tragic Fourth

Message to PFT Members

July 6, 2022

Dear Members,

In the wake of a tragic fourth of July, I write today to share some reflections on the state of our nation. 

Our nation is once again reeling from the horror of a deadly mass shooting. There are no words that could possibly suffice when, amidst a celebratory parade, seven people were murdered and dozens more injured. My thoughts and my deepest sympathies are with those who suffered an unbearable loss in the mass shooting in Illinois.

Further, right here in our beloved city, two police officers were shot amidst the festivities on the Ben Franklin Parkway. I am thankful that they are recovering. 

The scourge of gun violence across the nation is unbearable. In the first five days of July alone, 11 lives were stolen in Philadelphia, cut short by gun violence. In the last 72 hours alone, there have been 439 shootings in this nation.

Our nation is deeply broken. Consider just some of what has unfolded in our nation in the past two weeks:

  • The Supreme Court deemed guns more worthy of protection than women's bodies.
  • SCOTUS ruled that our rights to environmental regulation are superseded by the rights of wealthy lobbyists.
  • Police murdered 25-year-old Jayland Walker, an unarmed Black man, in Akron, OH, firing more than 60 shots. 
  • The Republican controlled General Assembly in PA doubled down on bigotry, with the Senate passing racist, anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation.

None of these happen in isolation and reflect systems of oppression so deeply rooted in every facet of society. Each of us must continue to speak out, and we must continue to push for action.

And there's action that the General Assembly can and must take today.

Right now, right here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a Republican controlled General Assembly is squirreling away more than $12 BILLION dollars in extra funding.

Yet, the General Assembly has failed to pass a budget by the June 30 deadline because the Republican leadership chooses to prioritize and pass anti-LGBTQIA+ and racist legislation to perpetuate systems of bigotry that harm our young people every day.

The General Assembly is more interested in corporate tax breaks at the expense of public education than it is in actually investing in our students.

Further, the General Assembly refuses to enact commonsense gun reform that would help stem the devastation wrought by the proliferation of firearms. 

Action by the General Assembly today will not undo years of disinvestment. But they can do a lot, and they can do it now. 

Your elected officials need to hear from you today. Write a letter here, and then make a phone call to your State Representative and State Senator. 

We continue onward, with our collective fight towards a better tomorrow. We mourn those we have lost, and we deepen our commitment towards equity and justice.

Solidarity Forever,

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