March to Make Corruption Illegal
After months of organizing, on Saturday, April 27, we kicked off the March to Make Corruption Illegal from Thomas Paine Plaza in Philly. We are DEMANDING action on HB 1291: Gift Ban for Public Officials, which would make bribery illegal in Pennsylvania!
“MarchOnHarrisburg has marched 141 miles, lobbied 250 out of 253 legislators, organized 12 nonviolent direct actions, forced five committee hearings, and launched two bills out of committee. The road to making corruption illegal and taking democracy where it’s never been before is a long road. Today, we march down that road once again,” said Rabbi Michael Pollack, MoH Executive Director, to open the rally.
“We are building power and community with every single step, and we are scaring the hell out of our state legislators, who thought that we were going to go away,” added Emmie DiCicco, MoH organizer.
“This is a magical thing. The community and solidarity that marching creates is something that stays with you for a very long time,” Leon Tyler, said, who marched from Philadelphia to Harrisburg with Decarcerate PA in 2012.
After the rally and lunch, we marched 10 miles out of the city, flyering along each block. We spent the evening at the homes of volunteers with HCAN, who gave our marchers a much deserved, plentiful meal.
On Sunday, we marched another 15 miles from Haverford into Collegeville and spent the evening putting together ‘GiftBan.org’ yard signs to leave along our route, to make sure that the communities we pass through know we were there and call their legislators.
On our third day, we marched another 16 miles into Pottstown. There happened to be a bowling alley along our route, and of course, we stopped for pizza and a round of bowling. In Pottstown, we were hosted with open arms by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Pottstown, and they even treated us to a guided meditation.
On Tuesday, we marched out of Pottstown and into Reading - another 18 miles! It was a long, hot day along the Schuylkill River Trail, but the beautiful scenery made it fly by. (Bonus: no tick attacks this time!)
When we arrived in Reading, we hosted a panel: Corruption Fuels Climate Change, with guests from Uwchlan Safety Coalition, Lancaster Against Pipelines, Better Path Coalition and the Sunrise Movement.
“Fracking is violence. People have died from the dangerous explosions these pipelines can cause. Failure to address violence is violence. Silence is violence,” said Karen Feridun, with Berks Gas Truth.
“The system isn't broken, it's working exactly as planned. This is why it doesn't matter which party we are going after. They are all playing the game!,” added Malinda Clatterbuck with LAP.
On our ‘day off,’ in Reading, we joined the May Day strike in Reading organized by Make The Road PA, Shut Down Berks Coalition, and Indivisible Berks to demand a $15 minimum wage and to #ShutDownBerks.
We spent the rest of the day making Citizen Billboards for our state chapters to take home.
These Billboards will be used around the state to raise awareness about the Gift Ban and encourage citizens to call House leadership and demand that they Ban Bribery!
We closed out the day celebrating one of our marcher’s birthday, Marty, and text banking volunteers to show up for our May 6th action at the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg.
On Thursday, May 2, MarchOnHarrisburg kicked off from Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County and we marched 15 miles into Womelsdorf, PA!
We spent the evening writing postcards to Speaker Turzai and Minority Leader Dermody, asking them to pass HB 1291: Gift Ban for Public Officials (and we mailed them the very next day!)
On Friday, we marched 14 miles to Lebanon, PA - passing by small farms and Amish shops all along the way. For the first time, we stayed in a hotel room, with a BED and a SHOWER for each marcher! The rooms gave our marchers some much needed relaxation as we neared the end of a very long journey.
After Lebanon, we marched into Hershey, PA - the sweetest place on earth! At least, our hosts were the sweetest! Volunteers from Hershey Invisible provided a massive feast inside the Chocolate Workers Union Hall and then opened their homes to our marchers! They even made breakfast for us before we kicked off for our FINAL day of marching!
On Sunday morning, after breakfast with our hosts, we left Hershey in the pouring rain and even though it rained all day long, the warm welcome from Harrisburg - with food and music - warmed us up! On Monday, May 6, we head to the State Capitol Building for a nonviolent direct action to demand a Gift Ban in PA! It’s been a long, challenging, wonderful, tiring, journey, but we’re not giving up until we pass a Gift Ban and end Pennsylvania corruption! (And then win on all of the other social justice fights….)