On September 3, five members of Group 39 met with local staff at Senator Toomey’s office in Pittsburgh. The group presented two requests:
- They aksed Senator Toomey to raise the case of the group’s focus case with the authorities in Saudi Arabia. This case, newly adopted by us this summer, is about two prisoners of conscience, Drs. Mohammed al-Qahtani and Abdullah al-Hamid, who were co-founderes of the Saudi human rights organization ACPRA. Both men were convicted to long prison sentences of 10 and 11 years, respectively, in unfair trials. Their fate is symptomatic for the worsening human rights situation in Saudi Arabia overall.
- Additionally, they asked Senator Toomey to support Senate Bill 42, which would implement universal background checks on all gun sales in the U.S. In particular, group members emphasized the need to cover sales at gun shows and private sales, as well as a maximum waiting period of at least three days for the background check to be completed.
A Letter-to-the-Editor Writing Workshop
In lieu of our Group 39’s regular May meeting, we are hosting a workshop on writing Letters to the Editor in the issue of gun violence and gun control. The workshop will include some instruction on best practices for writing a LtE; information about recent newspaper articles on the issue; and materials for writing drafts. The idea is that each participant writes one letter that night, and sends it to her/his favorite newspaper later from home (we’ll provide instructions where to send it to). We’ll also have options for people who don’t have internet at home. Light refreshments will be provided.
When: Wednesday, May 8, 7pm
Where: First Unitarian Church (Schweitzer Room), 605 Morewood Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
On January 29, 2019, several members of Group 39, together with activists from CeaseFirePA, went to Harrisburg to call for sensible gun legislation. They participated in a rally and met with State Representative Dan Frankel to call for the following improvements to Pennsylvania firearms laws:
- Universal background checks;
- Ban on assault weapons and military-style accessories;
- Safe storage requirements for gun owners;
- Extreme Risk Protection Orders, which enable courts to temporarily remove guns from people who are at risk of harming themselves and others.
On the initiative of Group 39, Pittsburgh City Council passed on December 11, 2018 a Will of Council to express support for resettling refugees to the U.S.
Pittsburgh is a city built by immigrant communities, and we thank City Council for declaring that our city continues to be welcoming for immigrants and refugees. We also thank Councilman O’Connor for sponsoring this Will of Council.