Summer Organizing Training–Week 1 Wrap Up

Thanks everyone for a great first week of Fight Back Pittsburgh’s Organize PGH Summer Training Program! Materials and pictures of flipcharts from Claire and John’s workshop on facilitating meetings are now posted on the Organize PGH website. And thank you to Chelsea for putting together this great photo album from the social movement mapping exercise on Wednesday!

For this week’s political education session, we’ll take a look at Pittsburgh’s rich social movement history. Labor historian and retired Steelworker Howard Scott will introduce us to Pittsburgh’s role in important social movements going back to the early days of the labor movement. Then Hillary Lazar will provide a look at social movement organizing in Pittsburgh over the past decade.

If you want to get a head start on Pittsburgh’s social movement history, check out our interactive labor history map!  The session starts at 5:30 on Wednesday at the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers hall at 10 South 19th St.

Then on Saturday, Ben Brewer from SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania will lead us in our skills based training on having effective one-on-one organizing conversations.  That session starts at 10am on Saturday, June 17th at the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers Hall.

After Saturday’s skills-based training, Howard will join us again for a labor history tour of Pittsburgh. We’ll leave the PFT hall at about 1pm and should be back by 4:30pm. If you’re planning on coming PLEASE make sure to RSVP online so we know that we have enough seats on the bus! It’s going to be a long day so we’ll be providing lunch between the training in the morning and the labor history tour in the afternoon.  If you have any dietary restrictions please let me know so we can make sure to accommodate you!

If you missed the first session but you’re planning on sticking with us through the program, check out the #IdentityNavigation: Personal & Professional Accountability worksheet that the Good Peoples Group introduced us to in the first session. We’d encourage everyone to use the worksheet each week to help reflect on what you’re experiencing in the training program. Liana, Sydney and the folks from the Good Peoples Group will be joining us again the week-after-next for our workshop on collective liberation so if you have questions or reflections that will be a great opportunity to follow up with them.

Some other actions and events to check out this week!
Organizing Through the Lens of Disability—Tuesday, June 13th at 12:45 at 841 California Ave.
Don’t Criminalize Transit Riders Meeting—Thursday, June 15th at 6pm at One Smithfield Street.

Also, as a quick reminder, after our skills training on June 24th—Direct Action Gets the Goods—we’ll be taking another ‘field trip’ to Ryerson Run State Park to join our friends from the Center for Coalfield Justice at their annual DRYerson Festival. We’ve got a bus lined up to take us from Glitter Box to the festival. There should be plenty of room but please RSVP so we can have a solid headcount.

Thanks again for some really great work this week!

In solidarity,


PS. This Wednesday is Donald Trump’s birthday in case anybody wants to send him a card…

Organize Pittsburgh

The Fight Back Pittsburgh Organizing Fellowship is a 6-week program that will offer a cohort of 15 new(er) organizers training on key organizing skills, political education, and opportunities to get involved in social movements in Pittsburgh. The program will rely on weekly skills-based trainings and political education seminars, one-on-one mentoring and opportunities to directly engage in ongoing campaigns and projects.12540639_438720259585975_1571945613661904282_n (1)

The program will follow a coherent progression with a specific theme each week. In the first week, fellows will be introduced to basic organizing models in place in current social movements. Then in the second week, we will look at Pittsburgh’s rich social movement history. In the third, fourth and fifth weeks, fellows will dive into key issues at play in the region. In the final week fellows will dive deeper into the theories of change that they had been introduced to and begin to explore their organizing priorities going forward.

More about the program:

  • Political Education—Fellows will meet each week for a topical political education seminar. Guest presenters with special knowledge and experience in the specific subject areas will facilitate most of the sessions and in advance of each session fellows will be given a short reading or film to watch on their own to help prepare them for the conversation. Most political education sessions will last 90 minutes and be held at the same day and time each week. Most (if not all) political education seminars will be open to the public as well as fellows. Political education sessions will be held each Wednesday starting at 5:30pm (location TBA).
  • Organizing Skills Training—Fellows will meet each week for an organizing skills training to build or strengthen key organizing skills that are applicable in a myriad of social movements and organizations. Trainings will be facilitated by experienced practitioners in each skill set. Most organizing skills trainings will last 90 minutes and will be held at the same day and time each week. Most (if not all) skills trainings will be open to the public as well as fellows. Organizing Skills Trainings will be held each Saturday at 10am (location TBA).
  • Mentorship—Each fellow will be matched up with a seasoned organizer for weekly one-on-one mentorship sessions. Fight Back Pittsburgh will provide discussion prompts for each week but mentors and fellows are free to do or discuss whatever they think is most appropriate. Mentorship sessions will last at least one hour and activities can range from a coffee meeting to attending an action together.
  • Action and Engagement—Each week, fellows will attend an action or public meeting hosted by an existing organization in Pittsburgh. This will introduce fellows to Pittsburgh’s social movement infrastructure and give them an opportunity to meet other organizers doing powerful work in Pittsburgh. Because scheduling will be determined by activities of other organizations and unpredictable, each week fellows will be given a choice of 2-3 activities to participate in based on their availability and interest.

Fellows should plan to attend all political education seminars and skills trainings, meet with mentors once a week, and attend an action or event with the cohort, dedicating 5-10 hours per week to the program. Because of the significant time commitment required to successfully participate in the program, Fellows who complete the program will receive a $500 stipend.

Want to participate in the Fight Back Pittsburgh Summer Organizing Fellowship? Apply now! Applications are due Monday, May 1.

Can’t commit to participating in the whole program? All of the seminars and trainings are free and open to the public! Visit in May for the final schedule and locations.


Preliminary Schedule

Week Seminar Skills Training
Week 1 Who is working on what!? Mapping social movement organizations and infrastructure in Pittsburgh–and Beyond.  Wednesday, June 7 at 5:30pm Facilitating meetings (large and small). Saturday, June 10 at 10am
Week 2 History of social movements in Pittsburgh.  Wednesday, June 14 at 5:30pm One-on-one organizing conversations.  Saturday, June 17 at 10am.
Week 3 Collective Liberation and Dismantling Systems of Oppression.  Wednesday, June 21 at 5:30pm Non-violent direct action. Saturday, June 24 at 10am.
Week 4 Labor and economic justice organizing.  Wednesday, June 28 at 5:30pm Getting people in the streets–Building (and implementing) a turnout plan. Saturday, July 1 at 10am
Week 5 Climate and environmental justice organizing.  Wednesday, July 5 at 5:30pm Arts in action. Saturday, July 8 at 10am
Week 6 A City for All–Combating Gentrification in Pittsburgh.  Wednesday, July 12 at 5:30pm Telling our story: Working with the corporate media and making our own media. Saturday, July 15 at 10am.