We conducted an in person interview with an employee at a Pennsylvania state-wide organization focused on keeping illegal firearms off the streets, primarily through organizing people to encourage policy change.
Keywords: policy, statewide, nonprofit, advocacy, community
Key points from our conversation
– The organization utilizes a variety of methods to support policy changes, including: interviews, attending senator meetings, talking with Pittsburgh city council, standing on corners asking passerbys to sign lists or petitions, coordinating volunteers and attending community meetings.
– He attends community meetings nearly every night of the week, however, he still struggles to get people to mobilize around the issue of gun control. He described a key challenge of the organization as getting continuous support from people beyond just one meeting.
– Pittsburgh is unique in that it has a lot of community groups and individuals interested in the cause, and he estimated that 70% of those supporters comes from poorest neighborhoods. However, they are not currently working together and this is the role this organization is trying to fill.
– Everything the organization does has policy change behind it, and as a byproduct they want communities to feel empowered
-The main point the organization is trying to get across is that if these issues matter to you, you can have impact through contacting your representative.
– The people currently most involved in the organization are both activists, generally community involved people, as well as some “regular joes”, some of which have turned out to be their best volunteers. A large portion of those involved are middle aged African American men and women, but they want to get more young people and students involved.