ACT UP Philadelphia to hold protest against GA cuts on Weds, 8/29 in Harrisburg

ACT UP Philadelphia released the following press release this morning.

Contacts:

Waheedah Shabazz, 267-231-2647, iamshabazz@yahoo.com

Jose DeMarco, 267-888-0686, josemarcos9@yahoo.com

WED, 8/29: PENNSYLVANIANS FACING GA CUTS HOLD MASS PROTEST FUNERAL AT GOVERNOR’S MANSION

Harrisburg, PA—On August 1st, 2012, Governor Corbett’s plan to eliminate General Assistance (GA) went into effect. Last week, the Philadelphia Inquirer also reported that the Department of Public Welfare eliminated a Philadelphia program to help obtain Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for homeless or near-homeless people who had exceeded their five-year limit for welfare benefits.

On August 7 th, Governor Corbett’s office in Philadelphia refused to meet with activists and advocates for a planned meeting to discuss these drastic eliminations of life-saving programs. So what message is Governor Corbett sending? “It is quite clear, he is saying that people with HIV/AIDS, people with chronic illnesses, and people with disabilities don’t matter,” said ACT UP member Jose DeMarco. “We are better dead than alive to him. He thinks he can balance budgets on our backs. He thinks he can ignore us, particularly us in Philadelphia. Well, he better think again.”

In response, on Wednesday, August 29th ACT UP Philadelphia and allies will be holding a mass political funeral in front of the Governor’s Mansion in Harrisburg, complete with wooden coffin, tombstone, body bags, flowers, drums, and signs telling the effects of eliminating GA. The funeral will represent the death of GA at Governor Corbett’s hands, and the certain deaths to follow of thousands of people, especially people with disabilities and chronic illnesses such as HIV, if GA is not restored. ACT UP will bring 250 people from Philadelphia to protest, and be joined in Harrisburg by another 50 people.

“As if that were not enough, arrests for peaceful civil disobedience are also expected to truly get his attention and demand that GA be restored now!,” said ACT UP member Yetta.

What: Mass funeral procession to protest elimination of General Assistance

When: Wednesday, August 29th, 12:15pm

Where: Harrisburg, PA, starting near Mclay and N. 6th St., ending at Governor’s Mansion on N. 2nd St.

“Corbett wonders why his approval ratting keeps dropping, with the last poll giving only a 28% approval rating,” said ACT UP member Waheedah Shabazz-El. “It is in large part because Pennsylvanians are rejecting his radical agenda of corporate tax breaks and building new prisons, while increasing the cost of education, suppressing the vote, and balancing the budget on the backs of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable residents. Pennsylvania will not be made into the next Wisconsin, a testing ground for radical Republican efforts against poor and working people, including people living with HIV/AIDS. Governor Romney and President Obama should also take note that people living with HIV/AIDS and their allies will not sit idly by this election year, certainly not when science now tells us that we can truly end AIDS. We will ACT UP and FIGHT BACK! We will not Rest In Peace, we will Rise In Protest!”

Facts: GA is a last resort welfare cash assistance program for Pennsylvanians with disabilities, domestic violence survivors, and people in drug and alcohol treatment programs. GA pays only $205 per month in most counties. This amount is less than 25% of the federal poverty line and has not been increased since 1990. This small sum, however, helps people pay rent, take the bus, keep medical appointments, stay in recovery programs, afford co- pays, buy food, do laundry, etc. All adult GA recipients without children, nearly 67,000 Pennsylvanians, have now lost their GA, for many their sole source of income. GA represents less than 0.5% of the overall PA budget.

### ACT UP Philadelphia, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, is an all-volunteer organization. We are a non-partisan group of individuals united in anger and dedicated to ending the AIDS crisis through direct action.

ACT UP Philadelphia Phone: 215-386-1981

Email: actupp@critpath.org

Web: actupphilly.org

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