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Senator Hughes

 ‘Legislature must take steps to safeguard marginalized communities’

PHILADELPHIA, June 18, 2020 – Philadelphia lawmakers today held a virtual news conference to lay out the steps the Pennsylvania legislature must take to create a just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure the calls for racial justice demanded by Pennsylvanians across the state are acted on.

State Sen. Vince Hughes and state Reps. Jordan Harris and Jason Dawkins each addressed aspects of a plan to ensure a living wage and a fair return to work for all Pennsylvanians, great schools and a superior education for all from pre-school through college; career and technical training; access to quality health care and testing; a roof over every head; tax cuts for working families to ensure no one is taxed into poverty; and safe voting options and integrity to guarantee every voice is heard and every vote is counted.

The lawmakers said all of these things should be available to all Pennsylvanians, especially marginalized communities that have suffered most during the COVID-19 pandemic and at the hands of a systemic system of bigotry and racism in not just law enforcement, but also in education, health care, housing, wages and working conditions.  

“The current crisis, both the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest stemming from systemic racism, have shown that the way things were simply wasn’t working for too many Pennsylvanians,” Harris said. “We can’t go back to a broken system. Instead, we must reform nearly all aspects of our way of living to ensure all Pennsylvanians, regardless of background, operate on a level playing field with the opportunity for quality health care, a proper education and equal treatment under the law.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the realities that many of our people have inadequate resources and protections in times of need,” Hughes said. “Our job is to right those wrongs and enact policy that helps provide paid sick leave, comprehensive and affordable health care, a living wage and so much more. Hardworking people in poor, black and brown communities have struggled because the legislature has been unwilling to prioritize their existence. Now is our opportunity to change that with a plan for a just recovery.”

“We have a vision for a Pennsylvania where hardworking people earn what they deserve. A Pennsylvania where people are treated with respect regardless of their income, identity or skin color,” Dawkins said. “It’s important that we keep frontline workers and marginalized communities at the forefront of our reopening plan so we can begin dismantling the systems holding them down.”

The legislators said that economic recovery following the pandemic cannot be truly achieved until and unless the legislature first changes the systems that have long kept communities of color from true justice and equality in education, health care, wages, housing, law enforcement and more.

Details of the Democrats’ “Just Recovery” plan is available at this link: https://www.pahouse.com/News/?id=115403

Their package for police reform can be found here: https://www.pahouse.com/files/Documents/2020-06-02_031452__Updated%20Police%20Reforms%20(3).pdf

The full news conference can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/WeThePeoplePA/videos/740518960093609/

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