The goal of nonviolent direct action is to force an encounter between you and your government. The goal of our nonviolent direct action is to lovingly confront our public servants and insist that they see themselves as human beings obligated to serve the public, and that we are human beings who deserve to more fairly participate in making the collective decisions that govern our lives. We insist that they love and serve us. We will give no reason for mistrust, and we will insist that they trust us and earn our trust. We will always try to be righteous, and not self-righteous.
From May 22nd – May 24th, 2017, March on Harrisburg conducted five coordinated nonviolent direct actions inside the Pennsylvania State Capitol. We initiated these actions because House State Government Committee Chairman Daryl Metcalfe refused to meet with us for three months, and refuses to consider our bill to ban unlimited gift giving from lobbyists to State Legislators. Our demand, clearly articulated and delivered to Rep. Metcalfe far ahead of time and again many times throughout our actions was for him to meet with us so we could talk about our gift ban bill, HB39.
On Monday, May 22nd, we dropped a banner reading ‘Make Corruption Illegal, March on Harrisburg,’ from the second floor of the Capitol Rotunda during a rally below at which Rep. Metcalfe was speaking, and four people were arrested. A half-hour later, eight people sat in front of Rep. Metcalfe’s office door and were quickly arrested. An hour later, 11 people sat in front of the doors to a House State Government Committee Meeting and were arrested.
On Tuesday, May 23rd, five of our people managed to enter Rep. Metcalfe’s office and made a face to face request for a meeting with him. He declined, so the gift ban five sat down, prompting swift arrests.
On Wednesday, May 24th, we presented Rep. Metcalfe’s office with several gifts, hoping that gifts might convince him to sit down and talk. We gave him a cake, because we hoped to celebrate improving Pennsylvania’s democracy and building trust between citizen and state with him. We gave him a coffee mug and a day-planner, hoping he would wake up to PA corruption and schedule a meeting with us. We gave him purple flowers to demonstrate our non-partisanship and our efforts to beautify our State Capitol and our republic. And Michael Pollack gave his tzitzit, a Jewish ritual undershirt that is a reminder to act righteously and to not chase after greed.
We are a non-partisan citizen group concerned with the level of corruption in politics today. We know that our representative democracy would represent us better if the voices of special interests carried the same weight as citizen appeal. We see gifts and choosing of constituents by elected officials rather than the choosing of our politicians by the electorate as the root of all our political discontents. Our membership represents a broad spectrum of the Pennsylvania electorate. Our memberships diversity reflects diversity socioeconomically, racially, and in sex and gender. We represent the people of the commonwealth, and we demand change in our government.