Organize to #DefundThePolice

Across Southwest PA, county and municipal governments are making their budgets for 2021 right now. Those create the blueprint for the morals of our government. What are the morals of our government if those in power react to a pandemic, unemployment crisis, eviction crisis, and months of mass protest against police violence and police funding by increasing the portion of the budget that goes to police while decreasing the portion that goes to ambulances and housing?

We believe in fighting for a world, where we use our collective resources to care for each other and keep each other safe. Police do not make us safer.

Want your municipal and county government to #DefundThePolice? Use these tools to help.

  1. Sign up to organize to #DefundThePolice with us, receive a copy our organizing toolkit, and get more info about your county and municipality’s budget.
  2. What’s next for the Allegheny County and Pittsburgh budgets?
  3. Take a look at some of the data we’ve collected.

1. Sign up to organize to #DefundThePolice with us and receive our toolkit.

2. What’s next for the Pittsburgh budget process?

Pittsburgh Budget Process:

We’re running out of Pittsburgh City Council meetings left before they vote on whether to amend or approve the Mayor’s blueprint to cuts for everything but the police.

Sign up for public comment in Tuesday’s 10AM meeting by calling the City Clerk’s office before Monday at 5PM at 412-255-2138.

Q: What do I say to City Council on Tuesday ?
A: 
Public comment is most impactful when you are sharing why this matters to you rather than when you read a script! We’d encourage you to talk about the points below, and explain why they matter to you. Also, feel free to reach out for additional help!

  1. Defund the police by at least 50%. Instead, stop the Mayor’s cuts to everything but the police, and save hundreds of public sector jobs and fund housing, social services, and public health initiatives.
     
  2. Halt all police-related infrastructure projects and purchases in the Capital Budget, including the relocation of Zone 5’s police station to East Liberty. Instead invest in democratically owned, permanently affordable social housing.
     
  3. Tax big business and corporate developers, and strip UPMC of its tax exempt “non profit” status to address an ongoing budget crisis and fully fund well-paid union jobs, housing, and public education.

Can’t attend on Tuesday? Be sure to give your councilmember a call and leave a message! Click here to find contact info for your City Councilmembers.

3. Take a look at some of the data we’ve collected.

We’ve been working to democratize information about who’s spending what on the police, and other information about the carceral state we are working to defund and abolish.

Use these links to find and view the information we have collected so far about the government entities in Allegheny County and what they’re spending on the police forces we must defund.

We’ll be working on adding more tables to this list, and you can reach out to us at pghdsadefundthepolice@gmail.com if you want have questions or want to help with this work!

This data is incomplete, and we are working to double check what we’ve got here, find what’s missing, and expand on what we’ve presented. However, we are sharing what we’ve gathered so far to democratize the information as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, a majority of the 130 municipalities in Allegheny County did not have publicly available budgets that we were able to find through several rounds of searching. Many more have still not responded to emails or calls requesting help, so we’ve also been working through filing Right to Know requests for the municipalities that didn’t respond.It is infuriating that so many municipal governments which have such a massive impact in the lives of those they’re supposed to serve have made access to information about their legislative decisions so hard to find, and thus made participation in that process hard to do.

If there is an upside to the lack of transparency and low participation in the legislative process for so many of our municipalities, it’s this: they are very not used to any amount of public pressure or scrutiny. So let’s see what we can make happen when we start directing some public pressure at them, scrutinizing what they’re spending public money on, and calling on them to #DefundThePolice?

There is so much more work to do. Getting the numbers is just one step in our fight. Click here to sign up to start organizing with us and get a copy of our toolkit.