PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

Small Towns Rising Aims To Promote Activism, Justice Throughout State College

All notable movements have to start somewhere, and State College resident Amy Cohen decided the Penn State community was the perfect place to jumpstart her new project. Small Towns Rising provides new activists with the tools needed to learn how to effectively speak out about issues they deem important.

According to the project’s KickStarter page, Cohen developed the idea for the initiative after observing an array of hateful and discriminatory political rhetoric throughout the year. Her mission was to ensure those affected would have more accessibility to the resources needed to resist, especially in a smaller town like State College.

“I created Small Towns Rising to support organizing for inclusion, love, and justice in small town Pennsylvania and beyond,” Cohen said on the page.

Cohen aims to use any funds raised to develop toolkits potential activists can use in order to learn how to organize a movement themselves. The kits will provide sample activities, step-by-step guides, and other amenities. Small Towns Rising also plans to document activism within State College, create support networks throughout the community, and use online databases to share information, among other initiatives.

Cohen believes the more tools activists have at hand, the better. Organizing a campaign around an issue is never an easy feat, which is why she hopes to make it much easier for people to get there in the first place.

“Executive orders that threaten Muslims, immigrants, and transgender people, among others, have given license to ordinary citizens to target our most vulnerable neighbors,” Cohen said. “Groups of people working to fight back and build up support systems in our own communities are taking on organizing initiatives specific to this moment. The news cycle is never-ending and the challenges can feel overwhelming, but established and tested organizing techniques can help us win the protections we need.”

Perhaps what the program stresses most is that using social media platforms is a crucial part of the process, but a lot of the movement has to happen in person in order to be successful. According to Cohen, there is no substitute for meeting with a support group or participating in a training session face-to-face with others. The project is designed to foster relationships through workshops called “Start Small Trainings” that can take place anywhere from a coffee shop to an on-campus building.

Small Towns Rising has pledged a fundraising goal of $20,000 by April 13, and the project has reached more than half of its goal in less than one week. The project is an “all or nothing” initiative, which means it will only move forward if it reaches the appropriate fundraising goal by the deadline. Once Small Towns Rising gains momentum in State College, Cohen hopes the movement will spread to both small and large communities around the country.

To learn more about the project and how to get involved, check out the Small Towns Rising Facebook page.

About the Author

Claire Fountas

Claire Fountas is the student life editor for Onward State, as well as a junior pursuing a double major in journalism and psychology. She lives in a suburb of Chicago and strongly disagrees with anyone who hates the Cubs or the Blackhawks (so, pretty much anyone at Penn State). You can follow her @ClaireFountas or email her at [email protected]

Comments

Athletics

Penn State Hockey Releases 2018-19 Roster

Brett Murray is no longer on the team after an uneventful tenure in Happy Valley that saw him score just one goal in 33 games.

Penn State Women’s Soccer Sophomores Start Season Strong

Penn State Women’s Soccer Beats Duquesne 6-0

Shea Moyer Lifts Penn State Women’s Soccer Past West Virginia 1-0

Penn State Women’s Soccer Poised For Strong 2018 Season

Student Life

Your Fall 2018 Sylly Week Playlist

Whether this is your first semester or last, welcome to Sylly Week.

While You Were Gone…

Involvement Fair Returns To HUB Lawn Syllabus Week

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

While You Were Gone…

Here’s a roundup of what went on around Penn State during summer break.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

What Changed In State College While You Were Away

With another summer in the books, here are all the changes to State College that happened while you were gone.

Send this to a friend