Pennsylvania State House
Pennsylvania State House
Support Safe Harbor Legislation for Sexually Exploited Children
The average age of commercially sexually exploited children is 14. Juvenile victims of sexual exploitation face a life continually threatened by torture, rape, broken bones, fractures, and extreme psychological manipulation to such an extent that most victims develop symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome as a result of having been trafficked. According to the International Labor Organization, 4.5 million illegally trafficked individuals are forcibly sexually exploited, and 21% of those individuals are estimated to be less than 18 years of age. Children who are victimized in the illegal sex trade are still criminalized in the state of Pennsylvania. The state contends that it is legal for juvenile victims of sex trafficking to receive criminal charges for prostitution, public indecency, obstruction of highways and other public passages. According to the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research at the University of Pennsylvania, Shared Hope’s Protected Innocence Challenge conducted a study of state laws in 2015 that addressed domestic minor sex trafficking. They found that Pennsylvania ranked 35th on the effectiveness of 41 legislative components addressing domestic minor sex trafficking. In regards to Pennsylvania’s attempts to address protective provisions for juvenile victims, it ranked 45th out of 51 states, with the addition of Washington D.C. Senate Bill No. 554, the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund, which proposes to provide special relief for juvenile victims of sexual exploitation in order to restore dignity, provide necessary services, ensure safety, and provide a safe harbor for sexually exploited children. Provisions proposed by the bill include: reimbursement of funds for the costs of removing a tattoo or identifying mark left on the victim by their pimp, safe and stable housing, access to education, employment and life-skills training, comprehensive case management, healthcare and trauma-based therapy, access to personal care items and adequate clothing, treatment for drug and/or alcohol dependency, and other supportive services. Supporting this petition will make a difference in the lives of children who have experienced severe trauma and chronic emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. The sexual exploitation of juveniles is both an international and domestic issue. Supporting Safe Harbor Legislation in the State of Pennsylvania will make provisions for vulnerable children who have been exposed to extremely traumatic and chronic abuse. Additionally, this legislation has the potential to create a societal paradigm shift in which victims of forced prostitution can be rightly understood and cared for as victims, rather than as criminals. I urge you to support this bill and encourage Pennsylvania to join the two thirds of the United States that have taken a stance against the sexual exploitation of minors. I have both volunteered and worked professionally with individuals who have experienced crises related to trauma, domestic violence, and sexual assault. This form of trauma shakes people to the foundation of their being. We will not be able to foster and sustain an exploitation-free society, if we are not empowering people to heal. The ramifications of criminalizing children who have experienced trauma in the form of violence and sexual exploitation are severe in terms of the implications they carry for the future of rape culture and the social acceptability of violence.
Safe Air in the Air, Quest for Airlines to Ban NUTS.
In August 2017 I almost lost my life. I have severe food allergies, many of which can lead to a life threatening anaphylactic reaction. On the flight home from our family vacation the airlines served roasted mixed nuts without any announcement. The stewardess stated she was not serving "peanuts" when I told her I was allergic to all nuts. Despite calling the airlines in advance to make them aware of my severe nut allergy. The representative had reassured us that our flights would not be serving any nuts as they no longer do this. She was sadly mistaken. My lips became pallor, my voice started to become raspy and I began to have a difficult time breathing. I took what Benadryl I had and two Epi-pens. The airlines has no protocol for anaphylactic reactions. My husband had to ask if they had oxygen. Another stewardess applied ice to the back of my neck while wearing latex gloves. I'm allergic to latex potentially making my reaction even worse. My husband was asked to make the decision to divert the plane. He did fearing a secondary reaction. I shook violently from the Epinephrine and unable to talk I could not correct the medics when they said I consumed peanuts. Not once did I touch or eat the nuts. In route to the hospital my Glasgow coma scale went down to a 3, the lowest score and completely unresponsive. My husband covered our kids eyes as they wheeled my lifeless body into the hospital as they continued to ventilate my lungs. I was admitted for observation with elevated vitals. My family was stranded with nothing or anywhere to stay. All the shaking aggravated my previous medical condition, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. To no avail physical and occupational therapy and botox injections did not help this time. On December 21st at Johns Hopkins I had a first rib resection, scalene and pectoral minor release. I struggle to this day to hold my son or daily normal activiies. My daughter and I struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and are going to therapy. So many people do not understand the severity of food allergies because they themselves do not know someone that is affected by a life-threatening allergy. The lack of knowledge can fester anger over a mere snack however I believe their feelings would be different if it were their loved one. It's something no one chooses to have or want. There is a huge misconception that a nut allergy is only to peanuts when it can be all nuts. Some reactions can be so deadly that they do not have to be consumed. I'm lucky to be alive today and I believe it's because its to have Safe Air in the Air, Quest for Airlines to ban NUTS. Protocols need to be in place and change needs to happen on what can be served on airplanes. Can we all be safe while flying in the air. Can airlines not serve other snacks besides nuts. Why does it have to be the snack of choice? We protect our children in schools can we not do the same for those who are flying 30,000 feet in the air. Please sign and share my petition and help make the vital changes to the airline industry and help educate those who do not know how detrimental it can be by sharing my story https://www.facebook.com/1411750451/posts/10217183835973944/ Please help me save another life.
Congress: Let all children of U.S. military service members unite with their families!
I’m Jenifer Bass, a U.S. Navy veteran, who served for 10 years, one-third in the Asia-Pacific region. It was due to my travel between ports in countries like Japan and Thailand that I first encountered amerasian children, and descendants, of U.S. service members and civilian contractors previously stationed overseas. Filipino Amerasians are abandoned and neglected biracial children of Filipino mothers and American fathers (mostly members of the US armed forces). In the Philippines alone, more than 52,000-plus children were born and left behind after the U.S. Navy withdrew the last of its military personnel in 1992. Right now, the U.S. government won’t legally recognize them as U.S. citizens, despite having been born to an American parent. The Philippine Embassy won't help them either. As a former US colony between 1898 and 1946, the Philippines was home to millions of US soldiers and their dependents, even after its independence. Until 1992, the country hosted two of the largest US military facilities outside the US – Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, which played major roles during the Vietnam and first Gulf wars. In 1982 US Public Law 97-359, or the Amerasian Act of 1982, allowed children from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, or Thailand to move to the US and eventually become American citizens, but those who were from the Philippines were excluded from the law, an exclusion which was upheld by the US Senate on the basis that many Filipino Amerasians were “conceived from illicit affairs and prostitution”, and were born during peacetime. Today, there are estimated to be more than 250,000-plus children. Many amerasians are caught in a no-man’s land of discrimination and poverty -- most left behind by U.S. service members who are unaware that they’ve fathered children overseas. My friend John Haines is one of these sailors. In 2011, John discovered he was the father of a half-Filipino daughter, Jannette. He attempted to unite with her through the American Homecoming Act -- but was frustrated to learn that the Act did not apply to Filipino children of U.S. service members. Today, all John wants is to be united with his daughter and grandchildren. He, like so many other veterans are living with a “hole in their hearts” as they search for ways to unite with their children. There is hope. The Uniting Families Act of 2018, HR 1520, creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. Currently, blood relationship must be proven by DNA test and the total number of visas granted will be capped at 5,000 each year. The issue takes on more urgency as so many of our veterans from our wars in Southeast Asia are getting older and dying each day -- without the chance to connect, or in some cases, reconnect with their own children. John’s daughter Jannette has already undertaken the DNA testing process, conclusively proving her relationship to her American father. All she’s waiting for is the opportunity to permanently unite with her father. There is a PBS documentary, "Left by the Ship" (2010), documenting a day in the life and the personal struggles as a Filipino amerasian on the never ending search for identity and their struggles to connect to their American military families. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017, HR 1520, now!
Ban Gay Conversion Therapy
Twelve states have moved to ban "ex-gay therapy" for young people -- dangerous "therapy" that tries to change someone's sexual orientation. "Ex-gay therapy" has been linked to suicide, depression, isolation and anxiety, and has been condemned by nearly every medical and psychological body as dangerous, destructive and something no child should be forced to undergo. And yet in 38 states -- including states like New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Ohio -- "ex-gay therapy" remains a practice that's largely legal under the law. But there is national momentum as more and more states move to ban "ex-gay therapy" and protect minors from attempts to "cure" them of their sexual orientation. Hawaii just became the 12th state to ban "ex-gay therapy," and New Hampshire and Delaware are close to following suit. They join states like California, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Oregon. That's nearly 25% of the country! But it's not enough. LGBT kids are still facing dangerous "ex-gay therapy" attempts in more than 30 states around the country. All these states have seen bills introduced to ban "ex-gay therapy". New York -- which touts itself as one of the most LGBT-friendly states in the country -- has seen legislation pass the State Assembly three times; Pennsylvania has had a bill introduced several times; Ohio now has a bill as well that legislators are pushing; and activists in Minnesota have been pushing for a ban on "ex-gay therapy" programs for years. Let's build on this national organizing momentum, and work to get these states added to the list of states stepping up to protect LGBT youth, and banning harmful "ex-gay therapy" that tries to "cure" LGBT people and change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Save Graffiti Highway
PennDOT wants to cut public access to Graffiti Highway. They claim that the road is much too dangerous, even for foot traffic. This is not the case. Graffiti Highway is a gathering spot for tourists and residents of NEPA. The road itself is no more hazardous than a common PA hiking trail. Graffiti Highway is an outlet of expression for artists of all kinds; it should not be shut down.
Save Upper Darby Arts (www.saveudarts.org)
A PETITION FROM THE CONCERNED CITIZENS OF UPPER DARBY TOWNSHIP & THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA TO THE HONORABLE TOM CORBETT AND THE PENNSYLVANIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY WHEREAS, the Governor has expressed his conviction that state money should “follow the students,” and WHEREAS approximately 90% of Pennsylvania children attend public schools; WHEREAS, the $860 million in funding slashed from public schools in the 2011-2012 budget and the additional $100 million in cuts to public education proposed for 2012-2013 have decimated Pennsylvania public schools’ mandate to provide a complete, rigorous, and holistic education to all children; WHEREAS, the Upper Darby School District and its approximately 12,000 students, in spite of significant and remarkable progress toward standardized AYP goals, have suffered directly and indirectly under the stipulations of these budgets; WHEREAS, the loss of state reimbursement for the education of charter school students has cost the Upper Darby School District approximately $10 million over the course of the last five years; WHEREAS, the District is now faced with the need to eliminate art, music, library science, and physical education classes and their associated instructors from all District elementary schools and technology and foreign language classes and their associated instructors from District middle schools; WHEREAS, the academic, emotional, social, and cultural benefits of these programs to elementary and middle school-aged children are widely recognized; WHEREAS the loss of these beloved and enriching programs must be considered a blight upon not only the students of the Upper Darby School District but upon their parents and upon all citizens of Upper Darby Township whether publicly or privately educated, and; WHEREAS, the dismissal of certified, subject-specific instructors and the redistribution of their lesson plans and responsibilities to classroom teachers will marginalize the art, music, library science, physical education, technology, and foreign language curricula insofar as to make compatibility with the academic standards set down in Chapter 4 of the Pennsylvania Code vastly unachievable; BE IT RESOLVED, we, the undersigned parents, students, alumni, teachers, and taxpayers of Upper Darby Township and the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania respectfully but emphatically call upon the Governor and the General Assembly to restore the millions of dollars slashed from funding public schools and public schoolchildren. We demand that our school district be funded in such a way as to enable it to do full justice to the academic, artistic, and fitness-related needs of our children and to properly prepare them for success in diverse communities both within and beyond the classroom. www.saveudarts.org
South Newton Township, Cumberland County, Pa: Stop their plans to kill all feral and free roaming cats by a paid trapper on September 7th & 8th,2013
These cats are clearly being marked for extinction through the Townships' witch hunt of these innocent animals! South Newton Township in Pennsylvania is going to have a feral cat "cull" trapping and killing free roaming farmcats because of an incident with a cat having rabies in the area. They have hired a local "trapper" who will trap and kill (and I am not talking about a TNR trap, ie leg hold and other methods) and will be killing any cats caught. Residents have been warned to keep their pets indoors during the timeframe of September 7-8th. ALL cats, healthy or not will be killed!! Please visit our Facebook page...https://www.facebook.com/Savethenewtontownshipcats
Demand Release of All Incarcerated Persons with Pending PCRA Petitions
Last week, a Philadelphia judge ordered the release of a list containing the names of dozens of former and current members of the Philadelphia Police Department whose credibility has been fatally undermined by corruption, false testimony and other forms of misconduct. The existence of the List is a critical moment in this City’s history, especially because, today, dozens and perhaps hundreds of men and women are behind bars based on the tainted testimony of the officers on the List. But the List is just the latest manifestation of a long-standing crisis of police misconduct in Philadelphia. In 2014, federal authorities indicted 6 officers on charges of corruption and brutality. Over 800 people had been sent to prison based on the testimony of those same officers. Faced with those facts, then Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams appropriately called for all 800 convictions to be overturned. A judge agreed, and the scales of justice were made more level in this important way. With the newly discovered evidence, we are demanding the immediate release of Meek Mill, and all of the people convicted based on the wrongful conduct of the officers at issue. Let your voice be heard and join us to fight these injustices!
NFL and Philly PD Investigation and possible charging of the Fans during NFC Championship
Multiple Video posts show the harassment and assault of Fans trying to attend the NFC Championship game last Sunday. From spitting to throwing full beer cans to verbally assaulting people who were there is absolutely uncalled for and something should be done to criminally charge the assailant's. People may never attend a NFL Game again because of the way they were treated. People may not go out in public after theses incidents of bullying and assault. People may develop PTSD from the acts that were commited towards them. This is totally uncalled for and sad that Philly PD and the NFL allowed this to happen! I believe with enough signatures there should be an investigation and further litigation against these people that performed these assaults. It's stuff like this that makes those attendance numbers drop and viewers not watch games knowing this is happening behind the scenes! Let's stand up to bullying in any form against anyone!
Marriage Equality for Pennsylvania
The LGBT community in other states is winning the right to marry. As defined by the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, we should not be denied the right to wed without "due process of law." Furthermore, as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Proposition 8, we have reached the point in this state that all people should be treated equally.