Our Issues

Public Education

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Public Education Taskforce

The Public Education Task Force has successfully led in the effort to establish Community Schools in the Pittsburgh Public Schools system. The Community Schools are a model that utilizes school buildings as local hubs for access to services, and becomes a multi level resource so that everybody has access to the goods and services that they need. Now we are working to evaluate these programs and work with each site to get them the resources and support they need to reach their goals. We have aligned the goals of the Community Schools with the PPS Superintendent’s 5 Priority Goals and are working to use this alignment to gain more support from district-level PPS leadership.

Wins: Establishing 9 Community Schools in the Pittsburgh Public Schools system.

Task Force Chair: Paul Lawson and
Meetings: 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, 6-8 PM on Zoom

Public Education Updates

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Congratulations to the 18 Graduates 2022 Colorful Backgrounds EXPO

We are pleased to announce the 18 graduates of the Colorful Background Expo. These individuals have demonstrated their dedication and hard work to reach this point, and we are confident they will continue to excel in their future endeavors. We welcome them as members of our community and know they will be great leaders and [...]

PIIN co-hosts Imagine PPS session with the Pittsburgh Pubic Schools (PPS)

On Thursday, February 6, more than sixty community stakeholders joined PIIN and the leaders and staff of Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) for an Imagine PPS engagement session held at Pittsburgh King PreK-8. Imagine PPS is a new city-wide initiative working together with community champions to re-imagine how the school district delivers education. During the session [...]

Public Education Media Coverage

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PIIN Releases Statement on recent reporting of the Pittsburgh Public School Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet, the district administration, and the Board of Directors

On Tuesday, May 29, 2019 at 11:00 am, the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN) and allies will held a news conference at the Pittsburgh Board of Education, 341 S. Bellefield St. Pittsburgh, PA 15213 to address concerns over the recent reporting of the Pittsburgh Public School Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet, the district administration, and the [...]

Environmental Justice

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Environmental Justice Task Force

The mission of the PIIN Environmental Justice Task Force is to draw together religious organizations and people of faith to nonviolently, but vigorously and enthusiastically, protect our air, water, land, and overall health from the various forms of pollution that have been introduced in our areas by industries. We want the people of our area and their descendants to enjoy the gift of our environment, and so we must work to improve the quality of life for everyone, but especially for those communities who have been affected by pollution disproportionately more than others often because of their income level and/or ethnicity.

Our current focus is to improve the air quality in Allegheny County, particularly the Monongahela Valley. This is being done through hosting educational sessions about indoor air quality and building DIY filters, providing venues for presentations/services by Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), CMU CREATE Lab, VCAN, and other subject matter experts, and participating in public advocacy to decision makers through lobbying, letters to editor, op-Eds, marches, etc.

Wins:

  • 20 signatures on EIP document
  • First Unitarian hosted EIP/CMU CREATE on Sept 17 with 28 people attending.
  • Qiyam Ansari and Tom Bailey of VCAN delivered Sunday morning message on Oct. 8
  • We attended and commented at meetings of the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD)

Taskforce Chair: Jim Highland
Meetings: 2nd and 4th Wednesdays on Zoom

Criminal Justice Reform

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Allegheny County Jail Action Group

Through our Allegheny County Jail Action Group PIIN is working to end the inhumane conditions in the jail. Through our Colorful Backgrounds E.X.P.O program PIIN works with West End Power to help support, educate, and create community for returning citizens.

We work to end the inhumane conditions in the Allegheny County Jail (ACJ) which are fed and fueled by the systemic racism, perpetuating poverty, and the overwhelming mental health crisis. We demand that the healthcare and staffing crises are solved, abuse is ended, the exorbitant death rate is lowered, and better communication with families of incarcerated people is built. Informed by our connections to jail residents and staff and intensive research, we build relationships with members of the Jail Oversight Board (JOB) and administration and hold them accountable. We have ongoing meetings with the Incarcerated Individuals Welfare Fund JOB Committee, and work with B-PEP and the APA Coalition in meetings with Auditor Corey O’Connor. Additionally, we take action through monthly attendance, strategic comments, and coordinated actions with partner justice organizations at the JOB meetings.

Wins:

  • Warden Harper’s early retirement
  • State Licensure Investigation based upon survey of ACJ health care workers and - contact with Rep. Arvind Venkat
  • Dr Brinkman’s resignation
  • Meetings with IIWF and Auditor Corey O'connor

Taskforce Chair: Sharon Bonavoglia
Meetings: 1st and 3rd Mondays at 4:30 pm on Zoom

Criminal Justice Updates

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October Community Meeting with Terri Minor-Spencer

Wed, Oct 25th, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Pittsburgh Mennonite Church 2018 South Braddock Ave Pittsburgh, PA 15218 Terri Minor-Spencer is the Founder and Executive Director of the grassroots non-profit organization West End P.O.W.E.R. – whose mission is providing opportunities with effective resources by giving back by doing works of service with employment supports), educational [...]

August Community Meeting with John Kenstowicz

Wed, August 30th, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Pittsburgh Mennonite Church 2018 South Braddock Ave Pittsburgh, PA 15218 John Kenstowicz is a self-proclaimed “leftover from the 60s”. With a major in Criminology from Berkeley, his first job after college was working as investigator on the south side of Chicago for Woodlawn Criminal Defense Services. Woodlawn [...]

Gun Violence Prevention

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PIIN works with organizational partner CeaseFirePA to address gun violence issues in our communities. Current campaigns focus on four goals: extreme risk protection orders, lost or stolen gun reporting, universal background checks, and safe storage. We are working to pass a bill in the PA Senate that will guarantee background checks on every firearm sale or changing of ownership through lobbying at the capital.

Wins: Bill stated above passed in the PA House of Representatives.