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Harrisburg 15 Press Conference

September 20, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Meet at: Octavius Catto Statue, S Penn Square, Philadelphia, PA 19107

POWER Interfaith leaders from multiple counties around PA to hold a press conference accusing the PA State Legislature of grave and harmful malfeasance in their budget for school funding.

On June 23, POWER leaders went to Harrisburg to demand that the PA legislature utilize Gov.Wolf’s budget proposal for school funding and the seven billion federal dollars to take a major step towards correcting the harmful underfunding of many school districts across the Commonwealth. Denied entrance into the Senate chambers, the faith leaders prayed, sang spiritual songs, and knocked loudly on the Senate chamber doors. When told to leave by Capitol police, 14 POWER leaders refused and sat down, along with City Councilwoman Helen Gym. They were then handcuffed, taken below for processing, and cited for trespass. Their trial was set for September 21. Today they are announcing publicly that they plead guilty to this misdemeanor in order to protest and to accuse the PA legislature of great injustice and harm to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania children—children of all colors in many districts, though much too frequently in districts with majority Black and Brown students. They join in the long tradition of civil disobedience in pursuit of justice.

At this time, we wait in great anticipation of the start of the trial on October 12 for the lawsuit to require the full implementation of the bipartisan Fair Funding Formula passed in 2014.

Research has shown that per-student shortfalls in education funding are more predicted by race than poverty. The funding gulf between schools is emblematic of inadequate and unequal funding across Pennsylvania. Applying the fair funding formula to our state’s education budget is crucial to getting all students the funding they need.



Rev. Dr. Gregory Edwards, Resurrected Life Community Church

Rev. Nicolas O’Rourke, Living Water United Church of Christ

Bishop Dwayne Royster, Executive Director, POWER Interfaith

Rev Laura Colee, Broad Street Ministry

Rodney Bushe, public school parent

Councilwoman Helen Gym, Philadelphia City Council


City Hall

1 S 15th St
Philadelphia, PA 19122 United States