community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On this week's show... * The significance of May Day, and plans for celebrating the International Day of Workers' Struggle here in Pittsburgh * The Struggle for New Orleans: Lessons from Women Organizers on the Front Lines * Enthusiastic voices from a rally downtown held by The Campaign to Stop the Bus Cuts * A controversial new law in Mexico City ends a complete ban on abortions * and more in our local and global headlines
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Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the grassroots, news overlooked by the corporate media.
On today's show...
Rustbelt Radio airs live every Monday from 6-7 PM on WRCT 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, PA, and again on Tuesday mornings 9-10 AM. We're also on Pacifica affiliate WVJW Benwood, 94.1 FM in the Wheeling, West Virginia area, on Thursdays from 6-7 PM. And we're on at a new time on WPTS - 10-11AM on Wednesday mornings on 92.1 FM from the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.
We're also available on the internet, both on WRCT's live webstream at W-R-C-T dot ORG and for download, stream or podcast at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.
We turn now to local headlines.
Representative Tim Murphy’s office in Mount Lebanon was one of sixty Congressional district offices across the US to receive a visit from the School of the Americas Watch this week. The Pittsburgh SOA Watch held a fast and vigil for three days outside Representative Murphy’s office to encourage him to support House Resolution 1707, which would cut the funding for the School of the Americas. The School of the Americas, or SOA - re-named the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation,” in 2001 - is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia.
The Mount Lebanon vigil was held from six A.M. until nine P.M. on Wednesday, April 26, and was maintained in the morning and evening on Thursday and Friday. Members of SOA Watch had the opportunity to raise awareness among residents of Mount Lebanon, where the School of the Americas has not been a high-profile issue.
The three day fast and vigil was planned this week to highlight the SOA as the Foreign Ops Appropriations bill comes to the floor in the House of Representatives. Representative Jim McGovern introduced an amendment that will cut the funding for the SOA. Last year's vote on a similar amendment was defeated by just fifteen votes, in one of the most conservative Congresses in recent history. Thirty-six Representatives who voted against cutting funding last year lost their seats in the House in the midterm elections last November.
Over 1200 people signed themselves in to a ‘displacement camp’ in Schenley Park on Saturday afternoon, April 28. The event, called ‘Displace Me’ was hosted by Invisible Children as an educational opportunity to raise awareness of the war and displacement camps in northern Uganda.
Carmen Troxel of Invisible Children was one of the organizers of the event:
Participants stayed overnight in the simulated displacement camp, and departed around nine a.m. on Sunday, April 29. Another activity of the night was letter signing, to call on the US Senate to stop child abduction and war in northern Uganda.
An online version of the letter to Congress can be found on their website, invisiblechildren.com. Thousands of letters signed this weekend will be hand-delivered to the Senate floor this week by a DC based organization Africa Faith and Justice Network
The City of Pittsburgh is trying to reinvent its image from a city that is "behind the times" in order to attract people to live and invest in the region. Organizations like the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and the Allegheny Conference promote arts, culture, and the growth of new business sectors in hopes of presenting a new era for Pittsburgh. However, research by the Women and Girls Foundation has found that wage inequality in the workplaces of Southwestern Pennsylvania is an area which could use drastic improvements.
The Women and Girls Foundation states that in Southwestern Pennsylvania, full-time working women earn only 69 cents for every dollar that a man makes, a figure which is lower than the state's average. This figure also falls behind the national average of women making only 77 cents for each dollar full-time working men are paid.
The wage gap has also widened in recent years. While the US economy saw booming growth in the nineties, women’s real wages only grew 94 percent—while men’s real wages grew by 160 percent. Additionally, the wage gap does not affect all women equally. African American women earn only 66.8 cents for every dollar a white man earns, while Hispanic women earn only 54 cents. The WAGE project, an equal-pay advocacy organization, conducted a survey of 700 women across the US to hear their stories and opinions on equality in the workplace. They found that 70 percent of the respondents reported inequitable treatment at work, and two-thirds of those also reported gender bias and discrimination.
Fifty-five percent of women workers who reported inequitable treatment and pay took no action for fear of retaliation. They became convinced that the chances to improve their situation were hopeless due to the culture of the organization, and from witnessing other female worker's failed attempts to achieve equal pay.
Results of the survey show that these fears are not unfounded. Less than five percent of the women who try to get paid and treated fairly achieve the equity they seek. Overall, the survey found that forty-five percent of the women were working under discriminatory conditions, and did not have plans to leave their position, or challenge the employer, due to their need for financial security.
Here in Pittsburgh, the Executive Director of the Women & Girl's Foundation, Heather Arnet is taking strides to fight this wage inequality and fear of speaking out. The organization hosted an "Equal Pay Day" rally on April 24th in Market Square. Addressing hundreds in the crowd Arnet stated, [quote] "If we don't fix this wage gap, we will leave."
If you would like to calculate the wage disparities between women and men in different careers, log on to www.wageproject.org.
The Campaign to Stop the Bus Cuts held a rally outside the Allegheny County Courthouse on Friday, April 27. Members of the campaign called upon County Executive Dan Onorato to open the Port Authority accounting books and publicly release the latest proposed route cuts. Tom Hoffman, of the SEIU Local 3, is an organizer with the Campaign to Stop the Bus Cuts:
Speakers at the rally included members of the Mon Valley Unemployed Committee, SEIU, ACORN, the League of Young Voters, Save our Transit, and UNITE HERE, among others.
Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato addressed the crowd.
The Campaign will continue their fight to Stop the Bus Cuts passed by the Port Authority Board on March 30. The service cuts are scheduled to take effect on June 17.
For more on local news, you can visit pittsburgh dot I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot org.
You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to news from other independent media sources around the world.
On Tuesday, April 24th, Mexico City’s legislative assembly voted 46-19 to legalize abortion in the first trimester. This new legislation applies only to the capital city and is a controversial vote for the second largest Roman Catholic country.
Rustbelt Radio spoke with Lilian Sepúlveda who is the Legal Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Center for Reproductive Rights, which works to (quote) protect and further...women’s reproductive rights world wide (end quote).
Sepulveda speaks of the exceptions to the new legislation:
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But even within the law, there are still difficulties confronting women who seek abortions in Latin America:
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Lastly, Sepulveda talks about the significance of this new legislation:
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It is estimated that 200,000 illegal abortions are preformed each year in Mexico, with at least 1,500 women dying during unhygienic backstreet abortions.
Opponents of this new law have said they will challenge it in the courts.
At least 15 people were killed last week as Somalia transitional government troops clashed with local islamic clan members in the southern port city of Kismayu, 320 miles southwest of Mogadishu. In the capital city, at least 37 more people were killed, and thousands were displaced as clan fighters opposed to the transitional government battled Ethiopian forces for six straight days.
Casualties have been steadily increasing since January when US-backed Ethiopian troops helped Somalia's interim government dispose of the Union of Islamic Courts from the country's south and central regions. Since then, violence has steadily grown worse as a growing insurgency linked to the Union of Islamic Courts continues to fight the secular interim government and foreign forces.
A local human rights group estimates 1,000 civilians were killed earlier this month and more than 250 have died in the most recent battles. UN officials estimate more than 320,000 of Mogadishu's 2 million residents have fled the city since February.
During an interview for Democracy Now! Salim Lone, a former spokesperson for the UN mission in Iraq, had this to say about the potential crisis in Somalia and the lack of press coverage and international attention:
For the full interview and more information on the war in Somalia visit Democracy Now! at www (dot) DemocracyNow (dot) org.
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You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
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That was local a capella group 'Mr. Marcus and the Hollow Sisters' with 'Hang Hang'. The song was inspired by the last words of one of the Haymarket martyrs.
Tomorrow, May 1st, marks May Day. The holiday has roots in pagan festivals in Europe; including traditions of bonfires, Maypoles and May Day baskets. The holiday has picked up more political connotations in the past century, and is now also celebrated as the International Day of Workers’ Struggle.
Last year on May Day in Pittsburgh, over 200 people marched downtown to voice their support for immigrant rights, amnesty for the undocumented, a fairer path to legal immigration, and an end to unjust detentions and deportations. A year later, questions arise: what has changed, and how do we make sense of the past year as we approach May Day 2007?
Rustbelt Radio spoke to Ceci Wheeler, co-founder of Pittsburgh Friends of Immigrants, organizers of last year's downtown march. Ceci voiced criticism of recent government proposals on immigration:
Xenophobia and state violence have created a climate of fear and uncertainty for many immigrants. Ceci stressed the importance of knowing your rights and your community:
Tomorrow afternoon, local immigrants and allies will take to downtown Pittsburgh's streets again. Pittsburgh Friends of Immigrants is organizing the first march of the day:
Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network, another group working on immigrants rights issues, is planning a march for tomorrow evening to be held in Oakland. Rustbelt Radio spoke to Alfonso Barquera, an organizer with PIIN (pronounce like PIN, like a hair pin):
PIIN includes people of varied faith traditions. More on PIIN's membership from Scott Fabean, vice president:
On Tuesday, PIIN is also hosting a march for immigrant's rights:
To get involved with the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network, you can call 412.621.9230, or e-mail email@example.com. To get involved with Pittsburgh Friends of Immigrants you can email PFOIinfo@gmail.com.
Almost two years after Hurricane Katrina, the residents of New Orleans are without stable housing and city infrastructure, evacuees are still spread out over the country,and these issues has virtually left the National Spotllight. At the national Conference on Organized Resistance that took place in March of 2007, the Catalyst project hosted a panel that brought together leading women organizers in New Orleans working to build power in working class communities of color.
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And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
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Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WVJW Benwood and WPTS Pittsburgh.
Our hosts this week are Diane Amdor and Jessica McPherson with contributions from Andalusia Knoll, Vani Natarajan, Diane Amdor, Lizzie Anderson, and Carlin Christy. This week's show was produced by Donald Deeley. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
You can get involved with Rustbelt Radio! To contact us, or to send us your comments, email RADIO at I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot ORG. All of our shows are available for download or podcast on our website at RADIO dot INDY-P-G-H dot ORG and this show can be heard again Tuesday morning on WRCT at 9 AM after Democracy Now!
Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.