We helped launch the PA Safety Alliance, a statewide coalition for sensible, evidence-based gun policies

The launch of the PA Safety Alliance in Harrisburg. Each x represents a Pennsylvanian lost to gun violence.
The launch of the PA Safety Alliance in Harrisburg. Each x represents a Pennsylvanian lost to gun violence.
Pennsylvania has some of the highest rates of gun violence in the country. Policy solutions exist that work and that are supported by a majority of Pennsylvanians, but for too long, our leaders have failed to take action. In Harrisburg on July 29, along with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Ceasefire Pa, educators, faith groups, municipalities, medical professionals and students, we helped launch the PA Safety Alliance, a diverse coalition of organizations across the commonwealth, coming together to raise awareness and push for legislation that will increase gun safety laws and save lives. 

Members of the coalition spoke to the devastating impact that gun violence has across the Commonwealth. In 2018, 1,654 Pennsylvanians died due to gun violence, with thousands more facing lifelong injuries and trauma. Each community has its own needs and faces different risks, but a proactive and preventative approach--ensuring that every person who purchases a gun is legally allowed to do so--would protect the safety of our neighbors while respecting the rights of lawful gun owners.

"We are doctors, teachers, gun owners, businesses, families and children, and we all share the same vision: we are committed to saving lives by implementing sensible firearm policies," Jennifer Clarke, our Executive Director, said at the launch.

Read more about the new coalition in coverage from PennLive and ABC 27 News. Learn how your organization can join.

An initiative of the Richard Berkman & Toni Seidl Health Care Justice Project.

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We're representing voters and civil rights groups in a challenge to Trump campaign voter suppression efforts in PA

A voter voting by mail-in ballots
In a lawsuit filed June 29, the Trump presidential campaign and the Republican Party is seeking to block Pennsylvania voters from using drop boxes to cast mail-in ballots, curtailing their access to the ballot box. We're challenging them in court.

We joined the ACLU, ACLU of Pennsylvania, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and WilmerHale to file a motion to intervene in the case July 15, on behalf of the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference, Common Cause Pennsylvania, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, and several individual voters.

The Trump campaign lawsuit seeks to limit "Pennsylvanians' constitutionally protected right to vote by preventing the use of ballot drop-off locations," our filing charges. "A limit on the use of mail-in ballots would place unlawful and unwarranted restrictions on the time, place, and manner of voting in the November 3 elections."

"We will not allow this partisan lawsuit to block Pennsylvania citizens' access to the ballot box," said Staff Attorney Ben Geffen. "Elections should be about maximizing voter participation, not about forcing voters to choose between their health and their suffrage." Read more about the filing in coverage from Public News Service

An initiative of the Jeffrey Golan & Frances Vilella-VĂ©lez Voting Justice Project.

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Our amicus brief was cited in a federal court decision affirming the right of communities to stand up to polluting industry 

An open landfill
Last year, Robin and Dexter Baptiste sued the Bethlehem Landfill Company on behalf of themselves and other residents of Freemansburg, PA, which had faced uncontained noxious odors from a landfill site. They asserted claims of public nuisance, private nuisance, and negligence. The District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed the suit, holding that the Baptistes and their neighbors could not file a private nuisance claim because the odors affected a widespread area and a large group of people.

On July 13, in a precedential decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed the decision, ruling that the private nuisance claim was valid under Pennsylvania law and sending the case back to District Court.  In its decision, the Court cited an amicus brief we filed in the case--joined by Philly Thrive and represented by pro bono counsel from Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C.--detailing the importance of private nuisance for communities that have faced environmental racism.

Private nuisance claims, we argued in our brief, have for centuries given homeowners and renters a tool for resisting pollution generated within their communities.

"Communities that suffer most from pollution are disproportionately poor," our brief reads. "Without the ability to pursue private nuisance as a class, individual members of those communities often lack the knowledge and resources to vindicate their rights against polluters." 
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Join us August 6 for a night of poetry with Philadelphia poet laureate Yolanda Wisher

Yolanda Wisher
Yolanda Wisher

You are invited to a poetry reading with Yolanda Wisher, Philadelphia-based poet, singer, educator and curator. Wisher is the author of Monk Eats an Afro and the co-editor of Peace is a Haiku Song. Wisher was named Poet Laureate of Philadelphia in 2016. Read more on her website.
In 2019, Wisher performed at our annual gala, and we are grateful to welcome her back for this virtual event.
You will also hear an update on our current work from Executive Director, Jennifer R. Clarke.
Thursday, August 6
4:30 - 5:30 p.m. EDT

Advancing Justice Together - Our 2020 Annual Celebration

Advancing Justice Together_ A one night only virtual event to support the public interest law center. Illustrations of Law Center clients
Illustration by Symone Salib

On October 1, join us for a one night only virtual event celebrating those who help us Advance Justice Together. Our allies will come together from across the country to recognize all those who help us take on discrimination and poverty: pro bono partners, supporters and friends, and clients who stand up to the injustice they see in their own lives and the lives of their neighbors. 

Thursday, October 1, 2020
6 - 7:30 p.m.
Streaming virtually online

The event will feature performances from some of Philadelphia's most talented musicians and artists, including Amos Lee and BalletX.

Both free and premium tickets are available for this event, but registration is required to attend. For more information about tickets, sponsorship, and accessibility, please contact Michael Berton at mberton@pubintlaw.org or 267-546-1303.

Tickets _ Information
Artist Spotlight: BalletX

BalletX dancers in motion

BalletX, Philadelphia's premier contemporary ballet, whose dancers were named "among America's best" by The New York Times, commissions choreographers from around the world to create dance that is "fresh, inclusive, and connects to what people want" (Philadelphia Citizen) while "positioning Philadelphia on the cutting edge of contemporary ballet" (The Dance Journal).

Founded in 2005 by Christine Cox and Matthew Neenan, BalletX is led by Cox, whose tenure as Artistic & Executive Director has produced 84 world premiere ballets by 42 choreographers.  Learn more on their website.