Community Organizing

Letter from the Director

By Gabriel McMorland

This month, I want to invite friends and members of the Thomas Merton Center to get involved in an activist research collective we’re beginning this summer. Philadelphia, Buffalo, Washington DC and other cities all have volunteer groups mapping out the power structure of their region, following the money, and sharing information to help communities demand justice. Strategic research has always made movements stronger by understanding the power and vulnerabilities of real estate developers, politicians, CEOs, university trustees, big banks, and the connections between them.

We hope some readers will want to participate in:

• An ongoing project to map out the connections between powerful people and organizations affecting people in Pittsburgh, and share this resource online using

• Special projects to assist activist groups requesting support, such as past voting records of politicians or the financing of real estate deals.

• Workshops to learn the basics of strategic research, and presentations from other researchers with specialized skills to share, such as understanding corporate financial documents or filing right to know requests.

• Open work sessions where you can drop in and help with ongoing research projects for as long or short as you want, meet other people, and enjoy snacks.

Would you like to get involved? Does your community organization or activist collective want help with a research question? As always, I welcome conversations at

Gabriel McMorland is the Executive Director of the Thomas Merton Center.

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