Philadelphia FIGHT categorically denies each and every allegation that has recently surfaced against us, driven by the Black and Brown Workers Cooperative, as well as a recent letter sent by Elisabeth Long to staff on her last day at FIGHT, and now published to the Internet. We also deny categorically each and every charge made in a Facebook posting by Danica Moore. Please note that Ms. Long was not fired, was not in danger of being fired, was not disciplined in any way, and chose to leave voluntarily and to air her personal feelings to our staff as she exited and later on line. Ms. Moore was terminated as she announced on a public post on Facebook last week.
In response to her termination, Ms. Moore has called for the “dismantling” of Philadelphia FIGHT. Philadelphia FIGHT will not be dismantled. We will continue to be here for our patients, our clients, and the participants in our outreach programs. We will not abandon the people who depend on us.
In the coming weeks, we will be posting responses to the allegations made by Ms. Long, members of the BBWC, Ms. Moore, and anyone else who chooses to distort, denigrate, or in any otherwise deny the validity of the work that FIGHT continues to do to provide health care to over 4500 people without regard for ability to pay, offer opportunities for individuals returning from prison to get their lives together, enter the labor force, obtain public benefits and obtain health care, offer education around health, computer literacy, and Internet literacy all over Philadelphia, and provide assistance, through case management, outpatient treatment for substance abuse, and benefits counseling to hundreds of individuals, both HIV+ and HIV-, who would not otherwise be able to get these benefits.
The majority of our board are people of color and are patients of our health centers. We will not disclose the names of board members who are patients, in order to protect their privacy but approximately 2/3 of our board are African American, approximately one quarter of our board are Caucasian, and approximately 2/3 of our board members are our patients. We want to be careful to note that the 2/3 of our board who are African American and 2/3 of our board who are patients should not be construed as indicating that these are the same people although there is overlap. As a matter of regulation, the majority of the board of an FQHC must be patients. This was also the case when the BBWC published charges on this subject two years ago. Our staff salaries are not a matter for public release; however a statistical analysis conducted by an outside consultant found no evidence whatsoever of racially based salary differentiation. Our senior administrative management team includes two Caucasian, three African American, and one Asian person. We intend to post details about all of the above statements on our website in the near future.
While Ms. Long never filed a single complaint with anyone in the years she worked here, others have, as is well-known. It should come as no surprise that all parties are rarely satisfied with the results of an investigation into an alleged complaint. While each of us is entitled to our own opinion, investigations are based on facts and documentation. While individual perceptions and reality in some cases are the same, in many cases they are not. At the risk of discounting individual truths, we must have a broader perspective which includes the vitality of the entire organization, each of its employees and every single one of the 4,500 patients we serve.
As we grow and become a more matrixed organization, we will continue to place first the needs of the organization and the duties to our patients. We will FIGHT on, as all gladiators and pioneers must, in our pursuits—unfazed by any existential, vindictive threat to our organization’s livelihood and emboldened by our ability to provide the quality of care our patients deserve.