The recovery is starting. We need to make sure no one in our community is left behind. That’s why we’re launching the People’s Recovery.

There will be many ways of getting involved as part of this grassroots effort. But we’re starting with a program to check in with our neighbors across Lancaster County. Our People’s Recovery Canvass Kickoff is on April 17 – join us!

Why a People’s Recovery?

The COVID crisis has been all the worse because our nation was already in the midst of multiple unfolding crises. At the root of these crises: economic and racial inequality. In terms of “bread and butter” issues, the cost of life essentials like housing, healthcare, childcare, and higher education have been increasing exponentially, while wages for working-class people have remained stagnant for four decades. Here in Lancaster County, a housing crisis was already well underway prior to 2020, and it will still be with us (and getting worse) as we come out of the COVID crisis. Structural racism compounds this situation for people of color.

We now see a light at the end of the COVID tunnel. Vaccine production and distribution is rapidly ramping up. The American Rescue Plan Act is delivering billions in desperately needed relief to working-class and poor people, and it is projected that the bill will seriously cut the poverty rate.

As we begin to recover from the havoc of the past year, we need to make sure that no one in our community is left behind. That’s why this month (April) we’re calling our neighbors across Lancaster County to check in and to make sure they know about critical resources that are available now (from vaccination information to rent and utility relief).

What is the People’s Recovery Canvass?

In the People’s Recovery Canvass, we’ll be talking to our neighbors about how they’re doing in this moment and connecting them with opportunities such as the rental assistance program and ways to get vaccinated. We’ll also talk to them about how to make sure our elected representatives are fighting for everyday working people—for all of us—during the recovery. We must make sure that everyone has access to basic needs like the vaccine, good housing, expanded unemployment benefits, and as the economy recovers, a good job. It’s up to us to hold our representatives accountable, and we’ll ask our neighbors if they want to join that fight.

What else will the People’s Recovery campaign do?

The People’s Recovery campaign will start with this important first step of checking in with our neighbors and connecting people to resources. But we won’t stop there. The opportunity we now have is to begin to confront the longer-term crises that had already been pushing our communities over the edge prior to the pandemic. 

We’ll push on national legislation. We worked hard to defeat Trump and to deliver a Democratic majority in Congress, and we can’t afford to squander this opportunity. Now is the time for Congress to act to confront runaway inequality, fix our broken criminal justice system, fix our broken healthcare system, deliver affordable housing, confront the climate crisis and invest in new energy infrastructure, and more. We know that we will need to do our part to push them to act. One way we can do this is by pushing Senator Casey to be a champion on these issues (and that starts with Filibuster reform). Senator Casey has influence with the Biden Administration and with his Senate colleagues—and we have influence with Senator Casey.

We also need to focus our attention here locally, in Lancaster County. As we recover, we need to work to make our elected leaders work for us—all of their constituents—not for big donors and the economically powerful. That’s why, as part of the People’s Recovery, we’re relaunching our No Backroom Deals pledge, asking officeholders and candidates to declare that they will not take money from development companies and big corporations—because they are working for everyday working people. And when elected officials show consistently that they’re not working for their constituents, we will work to replace them. (Check back soon for more information about the No Backroom Deals pledge.)

As we engage with our neighbors, as we learn more about each other’s struggles in this moment, we will work to build people power together—that is, the ability to act together to shape the policy decisions that affect our lives. At the local level this might involve fighting evictions, or working to pass affordable housing policies at the municipal, county, or state level.

Yes, we now see a light at the end of the COVID tunnel. But we have a part to play in ensuring that the recovery leaves no one behind. We can be part of a people’s recovery that delivers for all of us.