In one of the birthplaces of American liberty, citizens are rallying for overdue change. Pennsylvania voters have grown dissatisfied with the way state lawmakers have disenfranchised their constituents. Voters collectively feel the polarization and overbearingness of the two-party system.
The March on Harrisburg aims to address these concerns by bringing awareness to both the issues themselves and the copious amounts of citizens demanding a change. According to the founder of the organization, Michael Pollack, “we’re not satisfied with the quality of our representation, and more importantly we are not satisfied with the honesty and integrity of our government.”
This march is the manifested symptom of a people deluged by corruption that event organizers say was created by the very people entrusted with the responsibility to advocate for them. Participants in the march feel Pennsylvanians have taken the brunt of their representatives decisions and enough is enough.
“At this point we are all looking together at this corruption; the lack of democracy, and pulling together to storm the castle,” said Pollack
The March on Harrisburg primarily advocates for three specific bills: automatic voter registration, instituting a gift ban on state legislators, and putting a permanent end to gerrymandering.
March organizers have prescribed a “three-step plan” to ensure the success of their movement.
- Meet with every state legislator before May 13, and ask them to support these anti-corruption, pro-democracy bills;
- March from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to the state capitol in Harrisburg from May 13 through May 21; and
- Pressure legislators through lobbying and nonviolent civil disobedience from May 22 through May 25.
“People are so ready for this. We are touching a nerve; whoever we talk to about this, they seem to get it. It’s really refreshing for people— We are not trying to take advantage of people in any way; we don’t have a partisan agenda; we’re solely focused on making sure that everyone gets a seat at the table. “ -Michael Pollack
The March’s platform has received praise from many voters, but legislators may not be quick to share their constituents' enthusiasm.
“The first reaction of power is when it’s challenged,” asserted Pollack.
The March works with Fair Districts PA, a group designed to put an end to gerrymandering. They’ve collectively been able to educate voters and build support to rally action.
March participants will have meals and housing provided by local churches, mosques, and synagogues. The collective outpour of support and action from the community proves just how important a change in government is to Pennsylvanians.
According to Pollack, the March on Harrisburg is envisioned to go beyond the boundaries of Pennsylvania, and to create a spark among other states to hold their elected representatives accountable.
“This is a political pilgrimage. We’re walking along the route toward our capital and we’re going there to make a sacrifice because we have done a lot of bad things as far as the taking away of our own rights and the breakdown of trust within our representative democracy,” he said.
The March on Harrisburg will not go dormant following the march. The organization plans to continue the fight for a more citizen-centered Pennsylvania until the job is done.