Driving PA Forward Coalition: updates & strategy

[cmsms_button button_link=”https://drivingpaforward.org/” button_target=”self” button_text_align=”center” button_font_weight=”100″ button_font_style=”normal” button_border_style=”solid” animation_delay=”0″]Website: Driving PA Forward[/cmsms_button]


The Driving PA Forward Coalition is systematically holding face-to-face meetings with prospective co-sponsors, as well as conducting education, advocacy, and voter mobilization campaigns in communities across the state. To win in our state, the campaign will need to build a strong coalition of organizations and nontraditional allies across sectors: immigration, labor, education, agriculture, religious and other key industries to Pennsylvania. 

As of our latest state-wide meeting in October, DPF is:
  • Organized in 13 counties
  • Met with 19 legislators: 17 Democrats & 2 Republicans
  • Successfully gained the support of institutions with strategic Republican followings, notably: the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference of Bishops and the Farmer’s Bureau of PA
  • Engaged more than 600 volunteers
  • 15 new letters of support in 2019 from businesses
  • Coordinated a research team to ensure the bill contains all necessary measures to protect undocumented immigrants from being further put at risk by acquiring a valid license

[cmsms_image align=”center” caption=”NSM staff at October′s statewide Coalition meeting” link=”http://www.sanctuaryphiladelphia.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/NSM-staff_DPF-statewide-meeting-Fall-2019.jpg” animation_delay=”0″]2850|http://www.sanctuaryphiladelphia.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/NSM-staff_DPF-statewide-meeting-Fall-2019-580×390.jpg|blog-masonry-thumb[/cmsms_image]


We are proud of these victories, and now is the time to build on them. The Coalition has identified the need for a dedicated paid staff member in order to the strategy that will lead us to victory by 2020. With our immigrant friends and neighbors constantly under attack and seeking a wide variety of help, we simply do not have the capacity to continue without additional support and resources.

This is where you come in: help us raise money to hire a statewide coordinator who will provide the final push of resources that organizers, educators, business leaders, and immigrant community members across the state need to win this campaign by 2020. Support driver’s licenses for all here.

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Immigrant led Community Organizing

Our staff manages our campaigns and programs while our members join our working committees to inform our programming, choose our campaigns, and plan our strategies to win. Through conversation and listening, our members and the community on the ground are the ones directing the organization. When people reach out to NSM, they connect with someone who speaks their language, looks like them, and is committed to empowering immigrant communities because they understand their journey and struggle. At NSM, our communities see their peers guiding our mission, creating trust, and allowing members to recognize NSM as an immigrant-led organization.
NSM works to lift the skills of the affected community and dismantle systems of oppression while promoting systems of mutual support, collective liberation, and respect for all people, which is why we provide interpretation services, respect childcare needs, schedule our sessions during times that work best for members who work multiple jobs or cannot meet in person, and allow members to inform us about their individual needs before meetings.
The community leads our work at every level to eliminate unnecessary barriers and meet the varied needs of our members.

Leadership Development

Our Leadership Development Program is a step in recruiting and training new leaders and training. The program blends the skills and experiences members bring from their home countries with NSM’s signature faith-rooted and anti-racist organizing model.

We have curricula for each level of membership, which includes workshops on the history of detention, community organizing, nonviolent protest, campaign strategy, and ongoing anti-racism training. Our programming encourages immigrant leaders to find their voice, understand the power of collective resistance, and join a community of immigrant leaders fighting for transformational systemic changes rooted in social and economic justice.

Leading this initiative is Bertha Murcia, one of NSM's Community Organizers. She is an alumna of NSM’s Promotoras de Justicia immigrant leadership program and oversees member engagement.

Build Community Power

NSM’s organizing efforts emphasize community building, inviting people to new roles, deepening Black and Brown solidarity, long-term leadership development, and impactful campaigns.

We build a base of people from our 33 congregations and Accompaniment Team and direct that people-power to fight specific campaigns. Staff members work with immigrant members to choose our campaigns, guide our strategies, lead events, and ensure our work is focused on meeting the needs of Philadelphia’s various immigrant communities.

Having a hands-on role in changing policy allows our members to gain a sense of empowerment, confidence, and self-respect. Empowering immigrants of color to organize collectively is part of NSM’s long haul work to create a people-powered movement for immigrant justice.