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Image by John Hain from Pixabay

In February, RCPA members joined organizations across the nation in celebrating Black History Month. There are countless ways to celebrate Black History – the sky is the limit! Below are several highlights to acknowledge these efforts and inspire more opportunities to celebrate and learn!

Step by Step, Inc. used an established internal communication mechanism, “TRE-Bits” (Trauma-Informed, Resilience-Oriented, Equity-Focused), to share articles with all staff. They shared information about the history of black history month, why history matters, and intergenerational trauma. Read one shared article here: TREbit HISTORY MATTERS.

Apis Services, Inc. hosted a panel conversation “What’s It Mean to Lean Into DEI?” based on the work of Dr. Robert Livingston, author of The Conversation: How Seeking and Speaking the Truth About Racism Can Radically Transform Individuals and Organizations. They also shared targeted ways to celebrate – encouraging staff to read Black literature, volunteer, support Black artists and black-owned businesses, organize events, and learn about Black History. View the infographic for 13 unique and exciting ways to get involved; you can also celebrate through the five actions of volunteering, reading, donating, supporting, and learning.

The AmeriHealth Caritas BAND (Black Associate Network for Diversity) shared inspirational images and quotes by Black Americans on their internal website. See examples in their BAND Associate Campaign. AmeriHealth also hosted a panel discussion with senior leaders in the company to reflect on the poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou. Participants shared their stories and experiences of strength, perseverance, and ambition.

The Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital (an IPRC Member) Pediatrics Department hosted a 1,248 foot march commemorating the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, recruiting hospital staff and patients to join along the way. When the honorary march concluded, patients and families discussed the importance of Black history and the civil rights movement, and they held an age-appropriate discussion of what transpired after the 1965 march. Learn more here.

Have you heard of “Beyond28?” More than just the title of a popular podcast, Beyond28 has become synonymous with the campaign encouraging the celebration of black history all year round, as 28 days just isn’t enough time to celebrate the rich history of Black Americans.

The Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee encourages all RCPA members to consider new ways to celebrate Black history next February and all throughout the year!

The Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association Political Action Committee (RCPA PAC) is asking members to consider making a personal contribution. With these donations, we are able to provide financial support to state legislators or representatives who have demonstrated a strong, consistent, and positive interest in our legislative priorities.

With support of the RCPA PAC, we have been successful in supporting legislative leadership who understand the severe challenges facing many of our providers and who are willing to stand up for our issues as we fight to move Pennsylvania forward. Recent efforts we have closely followed include:

  • The passage of Act 25 of 2018;
  • Testifying at numerous House and Senate Committee meetings on gun violence, autism, community participation, and other issues affecting RCPA members; and
  • Assisting with language for the 2021/22 fiscal budget to delay the implementation of ASAM requirements on drug and alcohol providers.

As we move into a new legislative year, efforts are now underway in multiple areas, including:

  • Advocating the General Assembly to release federal funding that they placed in reserve for direct care workers (see RCPA media campaign);
  • Drafting legislation to eliminate prudent pay for IDD providers;
  • Working with legislative leaders and family advocates for children and adults with severe autism;
  • Working with House and Senate leadership on rate increases for brain injury providers;
  • Providing information to House and Senate leadership regarding how Drug and Alcohol Opioid Settlement Funds allocations should be distributed to drug and alcohol providers;
  • Advocating the Governor/General Assembly and collaborating with the County Commissioners Association of PA (CCAP) and the Hospital Association of PA (HAP), as well as other organizations, to increase County Mental Health Funding;
  • Working with legislators to Amend Act 25 of 2018, which RCPA helped draft, by introducing new legislation regarding outpatient psychiatric issues (HB 2294);
  • Assisting legislative staff with their constituent issues regarding human services issues, such as consumer placements for services; and
  • Advocating legislators and staff on rate transparency.

We urgently need your support to continue with these ambitious projects. While the request is voluntary, we encourage you to make a contribution of $100, $250, $350, $500 or more to RCPA PAC. For your convenience, you can now make an online contribution.

Thank you for your participation and support. If you are interested in learning more about RCPA PAC or donating, please visit our website, download the PAC FAQ CardDonation Card, or email Jack Phillips, Director of Government Affairs.

Your participation in the RCPA-PAC is completely voluntary, and you may contribute as much or as little as you choose. Donations are not tax-deductible and will be used for political purposes. You may choose not to participate without fear of reprisal. You will not be favored or disadvantaged by reason of the amount of your contribution or decision not to contribute.

As someone on the frontlines, you already know that the workforce crisis affecting Pennsylvania’s human services is worsening. Unless lawmakers act swiftly, vital supports for individuals and families will be in jeopardy. Without additional state funding for human service professionals, providers may have no choice but to cut services or eliminate programs due to this increasing shortage of workers.

State government currently has billions of federal dollars and “rainy day” funds that could increase wages to help retain workers and attract and train a new workforce. Yet, even amid this worsening crisis, the money remains unspent as the needs of our most vulnerable residents go unmet.

That’s why we’re taking action — and we hope you’ll join us.

RCPA is partnering with other associations to urge lawmakers to increase funding and support human services professionals, so individuals and families in need get the assistance and care they deserve. View our official press release.

You can help.

  • Visit the coalition’s website to learn how you can help.
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay informed of our progress.
  • Share this message with your own network of providers, professionals, and families and encourage them to do the same, using the hashtag #DirectCarePA.
  • Most importantly, TAKE ACTION TODAY. Tell lawmakers to release funding to address the workforce crisis facing Pennsylvania’s health and human services.

As always, thank you for all you do – for the support and care you provide to our most vulnerable residents. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We appreciate your support.