Nearly 1,000 Volunteers From 48 States -- Including Alaska, Nevada, Florida and Beyond -- Traveled to Pittsburgh to Prepare to Make Electoral, Legislative, and Social Change
Event Hashtag #PinkOutTheVote Trended Nationally
Pittsburgh, PA — Planned Parenthood Action Fund kicked off its 2016 grassroots outreach this Saturday with a member rally featuring volunteers and activists in Pittsburgh. The rally followed the Action Fund’s largest volunteer training program in the organization’s history, with nearly a thousand volunteers traveling to Pittsburgh to get trained on how to organize and plan an advocacy strategy that will create positive change for sexual and reproductive health, rights, and freedom.
“Today we’re sending a message to Donald Trump, and all the other politicians and legislators promoting misogynistic, homophobic, or racist policies,” said Winnie Ye, Planned Parenthood Action Fund member, volunteer leader and member of the Young Leaders Advisory Council. “A thousand of us just got trained and organized this weekend, and we’re going home to organize thousands and thousands more. We’re fighting for real and positive change this year and beyond. You cannot exclude us from your America.”
“Today Planned Parenthood Action Fund members painted Pittsburgh pink,” said Sari Stevens, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates. “Pennsylvania is a battleground in the fight for reproductive health and rights, and we made a difference this weekend. In the upcoming election, we’re going to organize together and do all we can to make sure we elect an amazing women’s health champion like Katie McGinty and deliver Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton. Pat Toomey has voted over and over to block patients from care at Planned Parenthood health centers and has, just like Donald Trump, advocated to punish doctors.”
The nearly 1,000 Planned Parenthood Action Fund members traveled from 48 states and as far as Alaska, Hawaii, Florida and Utah. Volunteer leaders had 54 training sessions to choose from spanning from volunteer recruitment to direct action workshops to creating a policy agenda. The pink-clad volunteers in attendance were young and diverse, with more than seventy percent under the age of 30, and about twenty percent who became Action Fund volunteers after turning to Planned Parenthood health centers for services. More than thirty percent of participants were from communities of color.
“We are at turning point for the next century,” said Cecile Richards, President of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “We’ve come too far to turn back now. The thousand activists who gathered in Pittsburgh will chart the future of this country. We will not stop fighting until all people have rights and freedom, regardless of their race, gender, gender identity, immigration status, income, or ethnicity.”
As part of their training, volunteers put boots on ground, going out to knock hundreds of doors, making over 20,000 phone calls, and registering voters in Allegheny County, PA — which has some of the highest rates of unregistered voters among young people, unmarried women, and communities of color in the state. Pennsylvania has Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s largest volunteer base in the country.
"At the Power of Pink, we all joined together to create a team of passionate, determined young people,” said Laura Quinones, Planned Parenthood Action Fund member and volunteer leader from Pennsylvania. “It’s our generation’s time to make ourselves heard and take back the power from anti-abortion politicians that are attempting to abuse and restrict our hard-earned autonomy.”
Access to health care and safe, legal abortion is under attack in Congress, in statehouses across the country, by the GOP presidential front runner Donald Trump, and is at stake in key cases being decided by the Supreme Court this summer. Planned Parenthood Action Fund is building a grassroots army to help counter those attacks, and training leaders of the movement to fight back by organizing and educating their communities, lobbying in their home states, and working to elect legislators who will support reproductive and sexual health.
In addition, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes are running their largest electoral programs in history, spending at least $20 million collectively to help win key Senate races and elect Hillary Clinton to the White House.
Nearly 1,000 Action Fund Members paint Pittsburgh pink
Action Fund Members celebrating the Power of Pink at the Convention Center in Pittsburgh
Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, addresses Action Fund Members at rally
Planned Parenthood Action Fund Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens high fives Planned Parenthood Gen Action activist Andii Viveros in Pittsburgh
Action Fund Members cheer on Planned Parenthood at the rally in Pittsburgh
Action Fund Members phone bank after the rally