community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show... * The Coalition Against Violence presents their strategies to bring Peace to Pittsburgh * Anthropologist David Harvey discusses the Geographies of Globalization * Thousands rally in Jena Lousiana * The Slow Food movement makes its way to Pittsburgh * 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 is broadcast live from WRCT studios every Monday at 6 PM on 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, and the program airs again on WRCT every Tuesday morning at 9AM.
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We turn now to local stories.
Pamela Lawton was found not guilty of disorderly conduct when her case went to trial last Thursday September 20th. She was found guilty of vehicle code violations and was ordered to pay a $300 fine for driving without insurance. Lawton, who was driving with her children and another child, was pulled over in Shadyside in August of 2006 by Officer Eric Tatusko. During the course of the traffic stop, Officer Tatusko drew his weapon. Lawton testified that he pointed the gun at her 7 year old daughter. The situation quickly escalated. Ms. Lawton cried for help, drawing the attention of bystanders and Officer Tatusko called for backup, bringing more police to the scene. Over the past year, many community activists have brought attention to this case, which they say highlights the racism and injustice afflicting the black community of Pittsburgh.
We asked Paradise Gray, a long-time supporter of Pamela Lawton, for the community's thoughts on the outcome of the trial:
We also asked Paradise if he felt the community's support over the past year had any impact on the verdict:
Pamela Lawton is not the only member of her family who has faced harrassment from the Pittsburgh Police. Earlier this month, her 15 year old son was arrested, on what they say are bogus charges. More from Paradise:
Sean Bell was shot and killed by police in New York City on November 25, 2006. Three of the five officers involved were indicted by a grand jury following the incident.
Pamela Lawton filed a complaint with the Citizens Police Review Board in response to the Pittsburgh officer who pointed his gun at her car during the traffic stop. The CPRB has not ruled on Officer Tatusko’s case.
This past week the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (or UE) held its 70th national convention in downtown Pittsburgh. During Monday's convention the Pittsburgh-based national union rallied in Mellon Square to denounce the use of no match letters to harass immigrant workers.
This new federal policy, implemented by the Department of Homeland Security, is being challenged in federal court by San Francisco-based labor groups. Implementation of the policy was recently blocked by a federal judge, who issued a temporary restraining order.
Bob Kingsley of the UE, in downtown Pittsburgh:
According to the UE, more than 70 percent of social security mismatches are due not to immigration status, but to typographical errors, name changes, or multiple surnames, common in many cultures. Under the new rules, these discrepencies could result in workers losing their jobs, or facing threats from their employers.
UE national president John Hovis said (quote) "Our union and others fought very hard, starting in the 1930s, to establish Social Security as a program that helps provide economic security for working people. We find it outrageous that the Bush administration is now trying to turn the Social Security program into a weapon with which employers can intimidate workers."
Labor leaders from Mexico and Japan also joined the downtown rally, and underscored the importance of unity among workers regardless or race or nationality. Sister Janice Vandeneck, a local immigrant rights advocate, also addressed the crowd on Monday:
The lawsuit against the no match rules, filed by several labor groups, will continue at a hearing in federal district court on October 1st.
Stay tuned to a future edition of Rustbelt Radio for more from the UE's 70th national convention, which took place last week in Pittsburgh.
An effort to create a new Community Plan for development in East Liberty is under way. On September 18th, a meeting was held in the East Liberty Presbyterian Church on Highland Drive and Penn Avenue. The meeting was led by the community development corporation East Liberty Development, Inc. (E-L-D-I) for the purpose of recruiting community involvement in the Community Plan.
E-L-D-I encouraged community members who attended the meeting to signup for one of eight Task Forces setup to address specific community concerns. These Task Forces include "Work Force," "Youth Engagement," "Safe Neighborhoods," "Housing," "Healthy Community Members," "Small Businesses," "Commercial Core Planning," and "Parks and Recreation."
Nate Wildfire, the Sustainability Coordinator for E-L-D-I, gave a presentation on the history of development in the East End neighborhood and a strategy outline for the future. Wildfire also laid out the timeline for the Community Plan process, which is slated to be released in the spring.
Some community members expressed concern that the short timeline wouldn't allow the Task Forces to adequately identify problems, find solutions, and create an action plan. Community members who expressed concerns about specific issues, such as black employment on development sights, affordable housing, or pedestrian safety, were directed to join a Task Force addressing those issues. Others asked questions about properties currently held by the community development corporation and whether E-L-D-I is being accountable to the community.
The "Workforce" Task Force will be meeting this Thursday, September 27th, at 6:00 p.m. in the Union Project at 801 North Negley Avenue. For more information visit W-W-W dot East Liberty Post dot com, or call E-L-D-I at 412-361-8061
This past week the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture organized Local Food Week. Local farmers, farm markets, and local foods advocates put together a series of events designed to build connections between our communities and our local food producers, while celebrating the bounty of harvest season. Highlights included a local foods cooking class at the East End Food Co-op, a Harvest Fest in Washington, PA; and a schoolyard garden tour at the Helen Faison Arts Academy. On Wednesday September 19th, Marlene Parrish, food writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and co-leader of the group Slow Food Pittsburgh, spoke at the Carnegie Library in Oakland about Slow Food and the importance of local food.
The Slow Food movement began in Italy, when a group of citizens reacted to a plan to build a McDonalds by building a counter-movement. There are now over 100 chapters all over the world. Parrish describes the work of this international organization:
The Pittsburgh chapter of Slow Food has provided scholarships for local farmers to attend the Terra Madre conference, including Don Kretchman of Kretchman’s Farms, and the owners of Mildred’s Daughters farm in Stanton Heights.
Parrish describes the Pittsburgh Chapter’s mission:
Last year’s Slow Fish campaign is another example of Slow Food’s work:
Parrish said the best sources of local food in Pittsburgh were the farmers’ markets, the East End Food Co-op, and McGinnis Sisters grocery stores in Monroeville and Rt. 51. The Pennsylvania Association For Sustainable Agriculture also hosts a website to connect consumers to local food resources: www dot buy local pa dot org. A growing number of Pittsburgh restaurants are committing to include local foods on their menus, including Lydia’s in the Strip, Piccolo Forno, the Big Burrito Group, and Eat’n Park. For a guide in choosing sustainable seafood, consult the Monterrey Bay Aquarium website. And for more information about Slow Food Pittsburgh, visit: www dot slow food P G H dot org.
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.
The next hearing in the San Francisco Eight case is set for Monday, September 24th. The hearing will address a motion on behalf of Harold Taylor, arguing for the exclusion of statements made in New Orleans in 1973 after three days of torture.
The San Francisco Eight are former Black Panthers who were arrested on January 23rd on charges related to the 1971 killing of a San Francisco police officer. Harold Taylor, Ray Boudreaux, Richard O’Neal and Richard Brown have been freed on bail. Four of the eight remain in prison. Hank Jones and Francisco Torres are expected to be released in the next week. Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim are not eligible for bail. They have served over thirty years for their participation in the Black Liberation Struggle.
The story of the San Francisco Eight is only one of many cases of continued injustice against political prisoners. Rustbelt Radio has covered their story, as well as the stories of Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa, from Nebraska; Veronza Bowers, in Florida, and Mumia Abu Jamal, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Last week, an estimated 60,000 people gathered in Jena Lousiana to show support and solidarity with the Jena 6. They are a group of African American high school students who face criminal charges for their involvement in a schoolyard fight.
The march and rally held on September 20th, coincided with the previously scheduled sentencing hearing of 17 year old Mychal Bell, one of the African American teenagers known as the "Jena 6". Bell has been in jail since December of last year. He and 5 others, who range in age from 14 to 18, have been arrested for beating a white classmate. Five of the six were charged as adults with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy, according to LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters.
Supporters of the Jena 6 say the fight was fueled by a racially charged incident which took place at Jena High School earlier that year. In August of 2006, a black student sat under a shade tree typically occupied by white students. The next day, nooses were found hanging from the tree. The white students responsible for the incident were given 3 days of suspension from school.
Mychal Bell, who was 16 at the time of the fight, is the only one of the six who remains in jail. He was convicted in June by an all-white jury on charges of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to do the same.
He was to be sentenced on Thursday the 20th, but 5 days prior the 3rd District Court of Appeals threw out the conviction for second degree battery, saying the charges should have been brought in juvenile court.
The future of the case against Bell is up to district attorney Walters, who must decide whether to refile the charges in juvenile court.
In addition to Bell, charges for three of the Jena 6 have also been reduced to battery and conspiracy, and one still awaits arraignment. The charges for Jesse Ray Beard, who was 14 at the time of the alleged crime, are not available due to his juvenile status.
Tina Jones, the mother of one of the Jena 6, condemned District Attorney Walters, who is accused by many of applying justice unequally to the black students. She stated, "I hope that the D.A. will wake up and realize that he's doing the wrong thing, and to release these kids...It's not equal. The black people get the harsher extent of the law, whereas white people get a slap on the wrist per se."
The incident has gained national attention, especially from Black leaders, including celebrities, politicians, and artists. Many of them say the racially-charged events that occurred in Jena, are indicative of the climate for blacks throughout America.
People of all races from across the country made the trip to the town of 3,000 making the mass demonstration one of the largest Civil Rights rallies to take place in the South since the 1960's.
One man went to Jena to show his support for the continuation of the Civil Rights Movement:
During the September 20th rally, protestors called for Mychal Bell's release, however he remains in jail. For more updates on the Jena 6, visit www. free the jena 6 . org and thanks to Big Noise films for that clip.
... That was local artist Jasiri X with "Free the Jena 6". You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
David Harvey, a professor of anthropology at the City University of New York, spoke last Thursday at Carnegie Mellon University in a lecture titled “Geographies of Globalization." Harvey addressed issues of capitalism while also presenting a historical and global examination of urbanization.
In this excerpt from the lecture, Harvey discusses his approach towards understanding global capitalism:
Later in the evening, Harvey talked about the role of United States suburbanization in the 1950s and 1960s. Here’s Harvey on the transformation which occurred in the US and the negative effects it had on urban areas:
To hear the entire David Harvey lecture, tune into Overheard this Wednesday at 7pm on WRCT.
In response to the alarming report that Pennsylvania led the nation in homicides rates for African Americans, the Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP) and One HOOD called the community to action on February 6, 2007. Consequently, members of the community were brought together to form the Coalition Against Violence, with a mission to present an anti-violence document containing specific strategies and actions for change.
On September 17, in commemoration of the United Nations International Day of Peace, the Coalition unveiled it's "Community Manifesto" and "Role of the Family." These two sections will be the preambles to the 2007 anti-violence strategy document.
As part of the Day of Peace presentation, Dr. Goddess preformed two spoken word pieces including "We Demand," from her ensemble production Dr. Goddess Goes to Jail.
The "Community Manifesto" urges the African American community to take immediate action to end the violence. It is a call for citizens to take collective ownership of this problem and to provide the leadership necessary for finding bold, long-lasting and, peaceful solutions to the violence threatening the life-blood of the community. People attending the Coalition's presentation took turns reading the Manifesto's recommendations:
The "Role of the Family" contains guidelines for helping families and parents raise their children in a productive, healthy, safe, and peaceful environment. Reclaiming the African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child, the Coalition offers it's recommendations for schools, communities of faith, social institutions, and community allies to take responsibility for raising children and supporting all families in the community:
The night's presentation ended with a group discussion, and a poem titled "What is Peace," by Lois "Toni" McClendon, the principle author of "The Role of the Family."
The Coalition Against Violence continues to have regular meetings to refine and expand it's anti-violance initiative. The next meeting will be held Monday, October 1st, at 6:00 p.m. in the Hill House, located at 1835 Center Ave. in the Hill District. Members of the community are encouraged to attend and help in creating long term solutions to deep-seated problems. For more information contact B-PEP at 412-758-7898, or send an email to one hood @ gmail dot com.
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
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Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WPTS Pittsburgh, WNJR Washington, WVJW Benwood, WIUP Indiana and WKCO Gambier.
Our hosts this week are Carlin Christy, Matt Toups and Jessica McPherson with contributions from Andalusia Knoll, Matt Toups, Diane Amdor, Carlin Christy, Veronica Milliner, Daniel Hammer, and Jessica McPherson. This week's show was produced by Phill Cresswell. 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.
Rustbelt Radio for September 24, 2007 (ogg vorbis)
by Pittsburgh IMC: Rustbelt Radio collective Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2007 at 2:21 AM
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