June 1, 2020

PennFuture issues statement in reaction to recent protests and peaceful unrest

On June 1, PennFuture released the following statement in reaction to the ongoing protests and peaceful unrest nationwide in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

"PennFuture stands in solidarity with our staff team, our colleagues, and communities throughout Pennsylvania and the country who are standing against the hate and bigotry that plagues our society. 

The injustices that manifest themselves through events as momentous as a pandemic and as perversely commonplace as the ongoing deaths of people of color at the hands of law enforcement and other institutions that are charged with protecting them and all of us, must stop.

Our planet is dying and our people are dying. We have been unwilling to address the ecological issues of our time for decades, and societal inequality for hundreds of years. This must change.

June 2 is Election Day. The importance of voting as a peaceful channel for voicing our hurt and demands cannot be overstated. Only when everyone who is eligible to vote is registered and consistently voting will we take back our government, by electing true leaders who will work with all of us to shape—once and for all—a prosperous, sustainable and just future.

The peaceful unrest of our brothers and sisters protesting and mobilizing is being fueled by an oppressive and dysfunctional power dynamic in government, industry and institutions. Throughout the pandemic, elected officials in Harrisburg have prioritized passing bad legislation, including rolling back rules and investments that would protect our health, while the state Capitol—the People’s House—has been off limits to regular people.

Legislative leaders in both houses have proven their untrustworthiness when last week, it was brought to light that members of the Legislature tested positive for COVID-19. This information was shared based on political expediency, rather than how best to protect all people working in the Capitol right now, and their families. This chilling abuse of power is indicative of how broken our politics are and will stop only when a new crop of legislators is elected.

And while not overt, the peaceful unrest is fueled, in part, by decades of our black and brown brothers and sisters and the working poor being exposed to pollution at work or in their communities. The disproportionate impact of pollution on environmental justice communities is exacerbated every day we do not act on climate change or hold polluters accountable. These communities are made more vulnerable because of weaknesses in the natural systems that sustain life, most notably the air we breathe, the water we drink, the quality of the places we live and the kind of food we eat. 

We call for a new reliance on good public policy informed by science, equity, and a shared understanding of the persistent pain and hardships many of our citizens feel every day. We hope for the safety of those in the streets, and for those that will vote on June 2. 

PennFuture stands by to amplify your voices."