April 29, 2016
Gamaliel recently advanced community organizing and advocacy for criminal justice and racial equity in New York and California by deploying digital organizing and communications strategies to amplify the voices of the Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse (ACTS) and the North Bay Organizing Project (NBOP). Thanks to help from Groundswell, an online community that equips leaders in multifaith movements with the digital communications tools, training, and resources they need to catalyze change, Gamaliel empowered these two organizations to execute campaigns that led to important policy victories.
In New York, ACTS was able to develop an innovative communications strategy that relied on storytelling to convince Onondaga County officials to end the practice of youth solitary confinement. This effort culminated in Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney standing in front of a mock cell built by ACTS to announce her administration’s decision to end the practice. In addition to this resounding policy victory, ACTS significantly improved its digital organizing capacity.
In California, NBOP leveraged the training and strategies provided by Gamaliel to convince the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to extend a program that provided free transit rides to college students and military veterans through 2016. Furthermore, NBOP along with other members of Gamaliel California, are pursuing the idea of free at the farebox transportation for students at the state legislature.
Gamaliel is a network of community organizing affiliates across the United States, South Africa and the United Kingdom that trains community and faith leaders to build political power and create organizations that unite people of diverse faiths and races. Thanks to the funding provided by Voqal, Gamaliel was able to partner with Groundswell to develop groundbreaking grassroots digital organizing trainings and strategies. This not only significantly supported the efforts of ACTS and NBOP, but will also provide a blueprint going forward for further work in this area by Gamaliel and its affiliates. Voqal is excited to see the continued development of this new approach to grassroots organizing and how it can contribute to more equitable and just communities.