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The Philadelphia Jewish Voice
October 2005

Networking Central: Progressive Groups of the Month

In this section we highlight a new local group each month in order to encourage networking.

This Month we feature CeaseFirePA.

CeaseFirePA History and Mission 

CeaseFire Pennsylvania Education Fund (CFPA) is the largest independent educational organization in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania devoted to reducing gun violence. It was established in the spring of 2002 as successor to the Million Mom March of Pennsylvania.  The Board of Directors, which includes committed professionals and survivors of gun violence, meets quarterly to review results and establish policies and activities. CFPA accomplishes its mission through:
  • educating citizens about the dangers of firearms and the epidemic of gun violence that takes the lives of nearly 1,200 Pennsylvanians and 30,000 Americans each year;
  • increasing public awareness of ways and means to interrupt the spiral of gun violence;
  • challenging the prevailing belief in the Commonwealth that the gun lobby "owns"  Pennsylvania
  • programming for local communities, public officials and law enforcement that can help reduce levels of gun violence
  • constructing wide support for gun violence prevention (GVP) programs and policies by encouraging our citizens into action
  • establishing CFPA as the voice of gun violence prevention.

CeaseFirePA Programs:

CeaseFirePA is just over three years old yet the organization has accomplished much. By establishing strong relationships with collaborators sympathetic to gun violence prevention, CFPA quickly became the "go to" source for information, ideas and programs.   Its strong relationship with individuals in media, public service, health, religion and law enforcement fields have resulted in collaborations on a number of programs and projects, including an educational brochure about illegal handgun trafficking and an educational radio campaign to counter false gun lobby claims. CFPA takes its educational message into schools, synagogues, churches and civic groups.  Understanding that any public health initiative must have broad support among policy makers to succeed, CFPA  endeavors to educate our public officials as well.  In addition CFPA’s hard work has produced the following successful gun violence prevention results. CFPA has:
  • presented several well-covered press conferences on a variety of gun violence prevention issues, in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and  Pittsburgh;
  • been featured as the premiere gun violence prevention organization in media profiles
  • written numerous Op-Ed pieces published in newspapers throughout the state, cited in Editorials in important newspapers and featured on numerous radio and TV programs
  • established itself, in very short order, as a leader in the national gun violence prevention (GVP) community, by exercising a leading role in the regional coalition of GVP groups, the Mid-Atlantic Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence (MAC);
  • created, distributed and collected a Candidate Questionnaire on GVP issues for the 2002 and 2004 state and federal legislative elections, and then distributed the results;
  • established and maintains a website, at, to inform, to seek action on the part of viewers and to draw new adherents to their cause and organization;
  • created a strong chapter and presence in Allegheny County and is in the process of creating more local chapters;
  • continued to collaborate with the District Attorney of Delaware County on a gun crime data collection project that will provide important insight to policy-makers and law enforcement officials into gun crime and ways to reduce it;
  • begun to compile a resource handbook for prosecutors, victim advocates and others to present information as to the community effects of gun crimes, in order to encourage more meaningful and proportionate sentencing;
  • coordinated a series of community forums to educate citizens about the risks presented by guns in homes;
  • worked with a local youth group educating them about gun violence; and
  • developed a fundraising strategy, involving events, major donor solicitations, mailings to members and the seeking of foundational grants.
CFPA is always looking for volunteers to help spread its messages throughout the state, and for major support from individual donors and foundations concerned with ways to stop the rising tide of gun violence in our state and nation.  

CeasefirePA supports sensible legislation to keep straw purchasers and illegal firearms traffickers from flooding towns and cities across the state with deadly handguns used by felons and youth for unlawful purposes. Find out how deeply communities across the state are being hurt by the handgun violence epidemic. Learn how the Handgun Trafficking Reduction Act will reduce the flow of illegal handguns into the streets of our Commonwealth without infringing on legitimate gun owners.

You can join CeasefirePA and the rest of the Pennsylvanians Against Trafficking Handguns (PATH) Coalition at a rally, Tuesday, November 1, 2005, 11 a.m. at the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg to announce the introduction of the Handgun Trafficking Reduction Act in the Senate of Pennsylvania's General Assembly. Speakers will include Senator Leanna Washington; Catherine Young, mother of slain St. Joseph’s scholarship student Richard Johnson Companion bill sponsor Rep. John Myers; and Diane Edbril, CeaseFire PA. 

Finally, mark Sunday, March 26, 2006 on your calendar for CeasefirePA's annual fundraiser at the National Liberty Museum. For information, contact Diane Edbril

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