Pittsburgh DSA volunteers mobilized two months of deep canvassing, to hear neighbors’ stories of housing insecurity and help them register to vote and make voting plans. They also deployed a series of installations using brightly-colored camping tents in high-traffic locations to force those with privilege to consider the living conditions of their neighbors. They canvassed at installations to create voting plans, educate locals about tenants right to counsel and tenant unions, and identify and engage supporters. Tents were then donated along with supplies to unhoused neighbors.
Pittsburgh DSA tackled two problems: unengaged longtime nonvoters needed to be connected with voting (and other) resources and encouraged to vote, and regular voters needed to be reminded to vote and made aware of ways to impact the community beyond voting
As related by the Pittsburgh DSA:
- We had great coverage in the paper
- Our facilitators got an incredible amount of experience, knowledge, and confidence in running a large campaign with a significant budget and many moving parts
- We brought in the chapter’s artists and allowed them to use their talents in an organizing context, and paid them for their work!
- We met and brought into the chapter several volunteers who were previously not members or not engaged in the chapter’s work
- We gave significant direct aid to many people in need
Love from Kids and the Press
“Kids were always interested in our installations. We saw many dropped jaws, kids pointing, and stopping to look. One especially sweet youngster said that no one should go without a home, and that he’d give all his money to help people find shelter if he had any.”
“Interactivity is super helpful at getting passersby to stop, pay attention, and talk. We knew this from the [Unstoppable Voters] training, but were overthinking what “interactive” could actually mean in our context. In the end, the interaction was simply taking an item from a volunteer and placing it somewhere else nearby — people were into it!”
Created by Pittsburgh DSA including members Steph Sorenson, Brenden Rearick, Dana Leahy, and E. Forney.
Pittsburgh DSA led 17 actions reaching over 250 people, including helping 100 people make voting plans.
What is Unstoppable Voters?
Through the Center for Artistic Activism’s expansive Unstoppable Voters program, we support creatively risk-taking, strategic, ambitious organizations, people, and projects that address urgent and specific anti-voter attacks. We provide training and community building for individuals and groups who are passionate about protecting the freedom to vote and bringing the needed innovation to that fight. And we provide funding and support to help manifest that innovation and bring real, measurable impact. To date, we’ve helped over 80 organizations and over 900 individual activists, artists, and everyone in between make voting accessible, safe, joyful, powerful, and irresistible.