the development of a strong and effective network of organizations and individuals throughout Western PA needs to be developed, so that groups may work cooperatively, and individuals can feel connected to a larger effort, especially those in a rural area who may feel isolated. This type of work is already being done by a number of groups, such as the Steel City Stonewall Democrats and the ACLU, but these are generally reliant entirely on volunteers, and the amount of organizing is limited by the amount of time volunteers can provide. The full-time field organizer position allows for a greater level of overall organizing and allows volunteers to do the actual advocacy work more effectively and accomplish more. Through this project we aim to: • Develop a strong and effective network of LGBT and supportive ally organizations and individuals throughout Western PA. • Identify individuals throughout the 19 counties that make up Western PA who have an interest and can become engaged in issue advocacy. • Provide training and resources to individuals and organizations on methods of issue advocacy.
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• Provide follow-up and support to individuals and organizations so that they can apply these methods of issue advocacy so that there is an increase in constituent engagement. Some may wonder if issue advocacy work is worth it, and the answer is a resounding “yes!” Legislators say that if they get as few as three people visiting them on an issue, they know it is important and are more likely to take it extremely seriously. Our goal through the WPAI is to find those three or four people in each legislative district who will meet with their representative. Actions like this can propel all sorts of LGBT legislation moving through our state government toward final passage. Success won’t come because of the work of one field organizer or one alliance or organizations or even because of one advocacy initiative. Success will be the result of LGBT and straight allies working together across all of Western Pennsylvania, with each person and organization bringing something to the whole endeavor, synergistically allowing the whole to be greater than the sum of the parts. See Cleve Jones and Rev. Dr. Hawkes speak at the Pride Advocacy Rally at the City County Building on Friday, June 4. For more information, visit pittsburghpride.org.
The source for information about LGBT 2010 Pride in Pittsburgh, PA.