This petition was spearheaded by members of the community and is still circulating. These were the first signatures. If you want to participate in this effort, please contact Roy Hayes at Philadelphia FIGHT.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
We are staff, participants, and allies of Philadelphia FIGHT and wish to condemn in the strongest possible terms, any wicked and selfish plans by aggrieved ex-employees including Elisabeth Long and Danica Moore, to dismantle Philadelphia FIGHT and throw us and our dependent families into disarray while pushing our clients out of essential health services.
We declare that some of us have been employees at FIGHT for close to 30 years and not only hold FIGHT in very high esteem but vouch for the integrity of the organization and of its CEO, Jane Shull, whom we love so much because of her compassion, empathy and non-racial treatment of all.
Jane Shull has spearheaded the fight of equal health for all, especially by taking in those rejected by main health institutions in the early days of the HIV and AIDS epidemic. Jane’s efforts and true compassion for others created a safe space for all. Only those who have not walked the journey of being discriminated against, stigmatized, and denied treatment because of their economic deprivation or color can seek to undermine the glass ceiling roof that Jane Shull has broken in the health care and social services field.
In FIGHT every minute counts, because we are in the business of saving lives and drama and distraction is definitely not a part of our portion or a call to this service to which we are so totally committed.
The recent misrepresentation of FIGHT by a few mischievous and disgruntled elements holds no water but is a scheme to cause chaos and anxiety, especially amongst participants, who have shared their distress with us, after viewing unwarranted claims and false accusations against fellow colleagues and the FIGHT administration, on social media. False accusations of racism and unfair treatment of staff by administration have also been circulated among news magazines.
Most of our participants come from a low income community of color and are on life-dependent medication, treatment and care provided by Philadelphia FIGHT. They do not need any stress that will shorten their lives and destroy all the gains and sacrifices that this committed staff and the institution have made over time to access healthcare to the underprivileged regardless of their status in life. Philadelphia FIGHT offers holistic mental, physical, educational and social services resources, irrespective of whether one has insurance or not.
FIGHT offers healthcare to people of color, many of whom identify as gay, bisexual, gender, non-conforming and/or transgender, people addicted to substances, homeless and people living with HCV. FIGHT is as we speak at the height of HIV clinical trials for the cure for HIV, one of only six such centers in the U.S., and has enlisted some of the clients as participants to what will be a world breakthrough. Is this what these mischievous and heartless individuals have set out to dismantle?
Our consumers come first. We shall protect them within our every possible means to ensure that they continue their services smoothly without threats and disruption by demonstrations in and outside our health centers. We as staff will also protect our jobs and the great human relations we thrive in that makes FIGHT one of the best places to work in. We shall protect our relationship with consumers and the community and the trust we have built over time to ensure a healthier and hopeful community. We intend to protect our partnerships with other health institutions and faith based communities that trust us and support us.
This threat to dismantle services to our consumers must stop with immediate effect. We call on the Black and Brown Workers Cooperative to pull down the slander on their website that attack Jane Shull, Medical Director Dr. Karam Mounzer, Chief Operating Officer Barbara Bungy, HR Director Barry Robinson and our long serving and caring Nursing Manager, Julie Fort.
We also urge the Media to follow in its watchdog role to the public to listen to both sides of a story, including our side, and to capture the truth without fear or favor.
We sign this petition demanding a stop to any further efforts at dismantling Philadelphia FIGHT or demonization of Philadelphia FIGHT at the cost of our consumers’ lives or our jobs.
Craig I. Ashley
DeVante Bell Kershaw
Francessa S. Cross
JaVese Phelps Washington
Kim R. Lawrence
Leon Tyer Jr.
Marlene Boykins Young
Mary Malinky Zaben
Rev. Andrea Lamour-Harrington
Robert S. Pannapacker
Sharif T. Bass
Tyson E. Martin