No more silence: Why our community must address mental health

Op-Ed by Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery County)

Depression. Anxiety. Mood disorders. Dementia.

We hear about these and other mental health afflictions in our regular conversations, on television shows and even in our music, but it remains a consistent public health crisis in the black community because of the stigma surrounding topic.

Phrases like ‘You know how she gets sometimes,’ or ‘he’s always been a little crazy’ belie the awareness that something isn’t quite right with the members of our community, as well as our unwillingness to truly address the root causes that plague people’s dispositions.

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Hatred and Gun Violence Have No Place in Pennsylvania. We Must Act.

Op-ed by Senator Wayne D. Fontana (D-Pittsburgh).

I write today with a heavy heart. Far too many times, we have all watched in horror as mass shootings play out across our nation. That nightmare has now come to pass in our own Pennsylvania backyard.

To our friends and neighbors in Squirrel Hill, we admire your spirit, strength and unity. To members of the Tree of Life Synagogue, we offer our heartfelt sympathy and support as you recover from this harrowing tragedy.

To members of the Jewish faith everywhere, we stand with you in solidarity. To our law enforcement and emergency responders, we salute you and thank you for your heroism.

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It’s Time to Stand Up for the Sex Abuse Victims

Op-ed by Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Pittsburgh).

I was raised Catholic and spent all 12 years of schooling in Catholic schools. As an adult, I was married in the Catholic Church, raised my children in the faith and sent them to Catholic school. I still firmly believe in God, but my trust and respect for the Catholic institution has been shattered.

Now that the church hierarchy has finally admitted that hundreds of priests sexually abused so many children for so many years and that church leaders took part in an elaborate coverup scheme, the church’s continued resistance to changing the law to protect victims is clearly all about the money.

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A Democrat and a Republican agree: Let seniors get quality care at home

Op-ed by Senators Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) and Michele Brooks (R-Crawford).

There are many choices and decisions that need to be made as we age. Medical choices are often the most important, and the most difficult, decisions that people will make for themselves and their loved ones.
One choice that people should never be forced to make is moving out of their home and into an institution because Medicaid will not cover the costs of in-home medical care.

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Workers need a Pa. Workplace Freedom Act

The following op-ed was posted by PennLive.com.

As expected, the Supreme Court voted against unions and working people in the Janus v. AFSCME case. This landmark decision makes it easier for anti-worker extremists to rig the economy and try to divide working people.
The outcome of the Janus case will harm public servants such as nurses, teachers, school district workers, police, firefighters and social workers, in addition to driving down wages for everyone, eliminating health insurance for many working families and making workplace accidents and deaths more likely.

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We must act to stop crumbling schools in Philadelphia, across Pa.

Op-ed By Senator Vincent Hughes

Our schools are crumbling. Before the Inquirer reported on the deplorable conditions in Philadelphia schools, I heard that message from parents and students and even viewed it with my own eyes while visiting city schools. Seeing the conditions in which some of our students learn broke my heart but challenged me to act. And my proposal, the “Public School Building Renovation and Rehabilitation Program,” aims to help K-12 public schools fight this infrastructure crisis.

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Redlining is keeping people of color out of homes

Op-ed By Senator Vincent Hughes

The practice of redlining, which segregated communities and prevented minorities from achieving home ownership as their version of the American Dream, appears to be alive and well in our city and many communities across the nation.

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Veto the Drug Formulary, Governor Wolf

Op-ed By Senator Jay Costa, Jr. & Rep. Frank Dermody

Sitting on Governor Tom Wolf’s desk right now is Senate Bill 936 – legislation that would interfere with the relationship between an injured worker and their doctor, as a way to save money for the insurance industry.

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Inaction is Not an Option

By State Senator Wayne Fontana

Americans are fed up with this nation’s gun violence epidemic. It is intolerable.

Horrific accounts of deranged mass murderers using military-grade assault weapons to indiscriminately spray bullets into crowds of innocent people has become part of the regular news cycle. Lives are lost, families are destroyed and communities paralyzed.

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Action to Address Worker Wages First Step on Long Road to Equity

By State Senator Vincent Hughes

Frustrated by years of resistance from legislative Republicans to raise worker wages, Gov. Tom Wolf announced plans to lift the state’s salary threshold below which Pennsylvania salaried workers automatically receive overtime pay.   The governor’s action is hard on the heels of efforts by my colleagues and I to address worker pay and make our wage and salary system equitable.

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#MeToo is a Beginning – Here’s Why We Can’t Turn Back Now

By State Senator Judy Schwank

My first job in college was working in a university demonstration garden. I had dreamed of being a horticulturist since I was 10 years old, and this was the first time I would get to work in my chosen field.

I was beyond excited when my manager, who was also my professor, called me into his office. I had so many ideas for the garden and was thrilled for an opportunity to share them.

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