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PENNSYLVANIA UNITERS' 
PUBLIC STATEMENT

  JOIN THE MOVEMENT  

Read the statement below and sign the pledge against political violence now.

Pennsylvania Uniters Call for Collective Action to Prevent Political Violence

[Harrisburg, PA] – January 15, 2024 – We are a politically diverse group of 23 community members in south-central Pennsylvania committed to embracing our shared values and working across our differences to prevent targeted violence, including political violence such as physical attacks against people because of their party affiliations or viewpoints.

We were selected through a competitive application process for the Uniting to Prevent Targeted Violence in South-Central Pennsylvania (UPTV) program, an 18-month, non-partisan civic engagement program led by Urban Rural Action.

As we move into 2024, we are concerned about the rising incidents of political violence, including escalating harassment and threats of violence against public figures. In a recent survey by the National League of Cities, 81% of local public officials surveyed said they had experienced harassment, threats, or violence in recent years. In addition to posing a serious threat to our communities’ safety, political violence prevents our democratic processes from working well.

 
Preventing political violence starts with us. Expressed support for political violence may make actual violence more likely. We, therefore, stand with those Americans who reject the use of violence to achieve political goals.

 

Both Democrats and Republicans imagine that the number of members of the other party who hold views they consider “extreme” is almost twice what it actually is. This significant perception gap among Americans may explain why roughly three-quarters of Americans believe that people who strongly support the other side are “a clear and present danger” to our country. 


Therefore, we call on our fellow Americans to join us by committing to:

  • Embrace curiosity about different political views rather than rejecting those views outright;

  • Respect political views with which we disagree;

  • Separate the people who hold views we disagree with from the views themselves; and 

  • Appreciate the humanity of those on the other side even as we rally for our causes and preferred candidates.


Political candidates wield significant influence over their supporters. Therefore, we call on public officials and candidates to:

  • Account for the needs of all your constituents, not just your supporters;

  • Avoid provoking public anger towards identity groups;

  • Seek out opportunities to collaborate, not just compete, with elected officials on the other side; and

  • Support our democratic processes, even when your preferred outcome may not be realized.


The information we consume shapes how we view those different from us, including our perception of the threats they pose. We’ve learned from the News Literacy Project the importance of separating news from opinion and recognizing media intended to manipulate or provoke us. We commit to assessing the credibility of information before sharing it with our networks.

We call on news reporters and opinion journalists to do your part by:

Allison Stephens
Amanda Batista-Brgulja
Ann Wofford
Betsy Hower
​Cindy Richard

David Roeting

Destiny Neumann
Donald Marritz
Doug Dobbs
Ismail El-Guemra

Jevon Thompson

Kurt Danysh

Lance Walker
Maggie Manning
Maria Banks
​Patti Robinson

Paul Mancenido 

Pearl Sweeting 
Shane Falwell
Stephanie Harbaugh
Thomas Cassara
​William Anderson

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Pennsylvania Uniters Call for Collective Action to Prevent Targeted Violence

[York, PA] – August 2023 We are an ideologically, racially, and generationally diverse group of 28 community members in south-central Pennsylvania committed to working across our differences to prevent targeted violence in our communities and our country. 

We have come together to take action on targeted violence because, unlike random violent crime, targeted violence degrades our society by making entire groups feel unsafe based on an aspect of their identity. While the number of mass-casualty events in the United States has stayed flat over the past decade and a half, targeted violence is on a sharp upward trajectory. The number of extremist-linked violent plots has increased by 2,400 percent over the past three decades, according to two University of Maryland databases on radicalization.

​It may sometimes seem that targeted violence is senseless or random, but targeted violence is intentional and planned. Those at risk for committing acts of targeted violence exhibit predictable patterns of behavior. This means that, if we know what indicators to look for, we can intervene early so that potential perpetrators can get the help they need.

Given the scope of the problem, to meaningfully address targeted violence we must work across our differences. Unfortunately, our society suffers from toxic polarization; we too often demonize and even dehumanize people who are different from us and/or hold different views from us. When we dehumanize others, we are more likely to consider violence as a way to resolve our differences. And those who feel dehumanized are more likely to act out in potentially dangerous ways. 

We believe our ideological, racial, and generational differences are a source of strength. By working across those differences, we recognize our common humanity, promote dignity for all, and foster new relationships. Relationships that transcend our differences contribute to empathy for those different from ourselves, thereby reducing the likelihood of targeted violence.

We encourage you to join us in learning about targeted violence and taking action with our fellow Americans to prevent it.

Allison Stephens
Amanda Batista-Brgulja
Ann Wofford
Betsy Hower
Carl Helman
Christine Marriott
​Cindy Richard

Dan Walston
David Roeting
Destiny Neumann
Donald Marritz
Doug Dobbs
Ismail El-Guemra
​Janon R. Gray

Jevon Thompson
Kurt Danysh
Lance Walker
Maggie Manning
Maria Banks
Mel Kesler
​Patti Robinson

Paul Mancenido 
Pearl Sweeting 
Robert Aims
Shane Falwell
Stephanie Harbaugh
Thomas Cassara
​William Anderson

Additional signatories across the country

Amy Clark-Grubb
Amber Lewis​

B Soloway
Bridget O Matkovich
Chad Collie
Christina Krasovich
Conor Grubb
David Soloway
Donnie Jenck

Eliane Lakam

Elizabeth McClintock
Erin Skaar
Ethan Underhill
Erec Smith
Ginger Missert
Jay Lurie
Jenny Seward
Jeremy Auslander

Jesse Solomon
Jim Dow
Johnna Neugent
Joseph Bubman
Judith Rivin
Julie Lang

Kierstan Belle
Kira Hamman
Kristen Lachenmeier

Lisa Inks
Logan Grubb
Lyn Rothman
Maureen Malone
Michelle Jenck
Naseem Khuri

Noah Bubman
Pearce Godwin
Rebecca Cataldi

Ryan Weber
Sharon Lubin
T Francis
Tabatha Thompson
Ted Volchok

Terry Daugherty
Tim C
Tracie Potts
Trinity McClure

Want to get involved? Contact:

Chad Collie, Adams County Co-Coordinator, chad@uraction.org

Erec Smith, York County Co-Coordinator, erec@uraction.org

Joe Bubman, Program Co-Director, joe@uraction.org

Kierstan Belle, York County Co-Coordinator, kierstan@uraction.org

Kira Hamman, Program Co-Director, kira@uraction.org

Logan Grubb, Dauphin County Coordinator, logan@uraction.org

Michele Jansen, Franklin County Coordinator, michele@uraction.org

This project is funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships, opportunity number DHS-22-TTP-132-00-01.

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