500 Letters and Counting!

Early on in the process of getting the massage parlor ordinance passed through the Pittsburgh city council, we decided we wanted to send 500 letters in support of it. (If you want to show your support and you’re not in Pittsburgh, you can sign this petition here). We met that goal, 6 days before city council next discusses it. Here is the CMU student who wrote the 500th letter:

Our 500th letter writer! We've achieved our goal with 6 days until the vote. #endsextraffickinginpgh

We received letters from more than a dozen student organizations on three Pittsburgh-area college campuses. Below are the CMU organizations which gave us their time and penmanship:

  1. Atheists, Humanists, Agnostics (Aha!)
  2. Allies
  3. Amnesty
  4. Catholic Newman Club
  5. FORGE
  6. Intervarsity
  7. Heinz International Development Group
  8. International Justice Mission
  9. Life Matters
  10. New Life
  11. Pi Delta Psi
  12. Pi Kappa Alpha
We also sat in the CMU University Center for three weeks, collecting letters from passers-by.
A few weeks in, I realized that hand-writing letters has a value not only in that it indicates interest and commitment to the addressee. When hundreds of students copied the letters I wrote and drafted with help of great friends, they internalized the facts we intended for the city council:
  1. Women being sex trafficked in brothels posing as massage parlors may work 10am – 2am, 7 days a week, seeing between 6 and 10 clients a day.
  2. There appear to be 15 brothels posing as massage parlors within the Pittsburgh city limits, with 7 more in the suburbs.
  3. The massage parlor bill will functionally regulate sex trafficking out of Pittsburgh’s massage parlors.
I cannot express how moved and grateful I am for all of the incredible support we have received. I tell the people on our mailing list every time I email out an update about the ordinance, but none of this would have happened without the support of the CMU community. Today we got another sign of support: top-story billing for the Humanities and Social Sciences April newsletter.

Inspirational Quote:

This is inspiration enough for today:
We're nearly at our goal! #endsextraffickinginpgh

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