By Julie Collins
On Friday, March 13, 2020 Governor Tom Wolf closed all schools throughout the state of Pennsylvania, the state we moved to a year and a half ago from our home, San Francisco, CA. From what we understand, teachers unions in Pennsylvania are still pretty strong which is good, since teachers will continue to get paid. This closure of schools, though, is a sign of darker times to come.
We’re sure of it.
Forced time off due to manufactured hysteria and panic over a virus (that our current Administration refuses to routinely test accurately) in order to manipulate budgets and austerity measures that further deplete the middle and lower classes of their incomes, as well as move us closer to chipping away at our autonomous rights such as freedom to move, freedom to gather and freedom to speak aloud is our final, hard shove into fascism at the hands of the ruling class.
We are now without an income as our medical benefits have deteriorated, and our only source of income as a bus driver (bus drivers don’t have union protections) has been removed through this latest move by Governor Tom Wolf.
We are asking for support from our leftist community. We make leftist content on our “Book of Ours” platform you as you can see here: Book of Ours is on YouTube
To give a little history for six years JP has struggled to find work in his field as a UX Designer after he was unceremoniously fired from Moody’s Analytics in 2014. Since then he has gone on hundreds of interviews and each and every interviewer has rejected him. After six years of rejection, you can only imagine what that does to a person’s self esteem.
After being renters in San Francisco for decades, we decide to take 2016-2017 to travel the country and look for an affordable place to buy a home and begin a fresh new perspective on how we could engage the public in modern, creative leftist ideology and work out of our own home without getting into a mortgage. We ultimately chose a small, underprivileged neighborhood in Pittsburgh.
Here we transparently illustrate some of the work we have done in our neighborhood. We have opened up this video, which you can’t find on our YouTube page, to the public. We demonstrate in real time, the classic leftist components of mutual aid and direct democracy. You will see a largely black population, rubbled out sidewalks in great need of repair, but you will also see resilience in a community in Pittsburgh that has withstood years and years of systemic oppression not unlike we see in third world countries. Please watch: https://www.patreon.com/posts/story-of-647-32064585
If not for support of friends who believe in our work we would not have been able to pay last month’s gas bill after we received a 10-day shut off notice. We are the statistics you read about.
We always have to come to that final decision every month: let utilities slide this month or pay the cell phone bill? Cut down on groceries this month or purchase prescriptions? I am a marginalized component of society living in a great deal of pain (which I mask) due to an aggressive and rare autoimmune illness. I have had multiple joint replacements, retina detachments, have lost the use of some of my muscles and am under the care of half a dozen specialists. It’s not something I talk openly about but as I see the disability community affected so adversely by the Coronavirus forced quarantine, I feel I should be more bold and transparent in who I am. I am on Medicare, but it doesn’t cover my exceedingly expensive medical care. PA Medicaid, which offsets any costs that Medicare does not cover, has recently denied me benefits and I am working on appealing that decision.
Our income is paltry and to be honest this latest attack on us through Governor Tom Wolf’s decision to close all Pennsylvania schools feels personal. Even today JP turned to me and said “I know it’s not personal, but the constant struggle for survival is starting to feel very very personal.”
Despite our economic hardships we continue to remain active in our community, starting community garden projects, heading up Neighborhood Associations and appealing to our at-risk neighbors in real-world, direct ways.
We have supported each and every one of your channels and through our support your subscriber count has exploded. We are now asking you do the same for us. Whether you simply forward this message out to your leftist community, or you become a Patron for just $2.00/month on our Patreon page https://www.patreon.com/bookofours or make a one time small donation to our PayPal page: www.paypal.me/bookofours, it would make the world of difference in all of our lives.
JP & Julie