community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On this week's show... * As fires sweep across Southern California, undocumented immigrants fear deportation * Protesters gather in DC to oppose the World Bank & IMF * Dr. Herb Needleman speaks about his research linking lead poisoning and violence * Racial threats continue in the city as another noose is found at a workplace in Pittsburgh * Desmond Tutu visits Pittsburgh - and SCI Greene * 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.
On October 22nd, Pittsburghers marked National Day Against Police Brutality by gathering at Freedom Corner in the Hill District. The Hill District gathering remembered the lives and protested the deaths of young people killed by the Pittsburgh police, including Charles Dixon, Manea Stoney, Craig Guest and Todd Allen Norris. The protesters also called for the re-opening of the case of Jerry Jackson, killed by police in April 1995, and for charges to be brought against the officers responsible for his death.
The group then marched into the Hill District to gather signatures on a petition for a zero-tolerance policy in the Pittsburgh Police Force against domestic violence, in light of the recent promotions of officers with domestic violence records. Activist Celeste Taylor said that (quote) We decided not to march Downtown this morning; we are going to go into our community with our petition, with our spirit and with our voices, so that they understand what this struggle is about. (endquote)
On October 24th and 25th, Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu came to Pittsburgh in a visit arranged by the non-profit group Shared Interest. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was crucial in the peaceful dismantling of the South African Apartheid system and is a internationally acclaimed activist for justice. On October 24th, Tutu was honored at a benefit for Shared Interest at Carnegie Music Hall. Shared Interest works to eliminate economic disparities caused by the South African Apartheid. After the end of apartheid in 1994, many rural farmers were unable to obtain credit because they lacked collateral and credit histories. Shared Interest provides low-income South Africans with access to credit to “launch small businesses, create jobs and build secure new communities.”
A significant part of Desmond Tutu's itinerary was a visit to Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was charged in the 1981 murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner. The trial in which he was convicted has been widely criticized for being tainted by racism… In 1999, Desmond Tutu wrote a letter with Nigerian author Wole Soyinka to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, appealing for clemency in Abu-Jamal's case.
Archbishop Tutu then traveled back to Pittsburgh to participate in an interfaith worship service at Calvary Episcopal Church. The choice of location for this service highlighted the differences among local Episcopalians, as Calvary is suing the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh in a response to Pittsburgh Bishop Duncan’s effort to allow churches to leave the denomination and keep church property. Many local Episcopalian churches are considering leaving the denomination over the denomination’s decision to allow the ordination of homosexual priests.
Desmond Tutu has taken a strong position on the issue of discrimination against the GLBT community, expressing his belief that discrimination runs counter to the spirit of the Christian message. In his sermon, the Archbishop expressed this idea:
Tutu began his sermon by offering thanks to all those who worked to end apartheid, in acknowledgment of Pittsburghers' participation in the anti-apartheid movement during the 1980s and early 90s. He delivered a message of religious tolerance, asking how God could be considered a Christian when there have not always been Christians, and whether the Dalai Lama should be judged for not being Christian. The Archbishop also asserted that Christian doctrine commands equitable distribution of economic resources, because it states that God considers all humankind to be family. He quoted Karl Marx's slogan that resources should be distributed "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
Concluding his homily, Tutu picked up on the theme of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech, challenging the audience to join him in his work for justice.
Following the sermon, Archbishop Tutu received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.
Last Friday, hundreds of people gathered to denounce violence against women at the 30th anniversary commemoration of "Take Back the Night" at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church. Ellen Sankovich of Pittsburgh Action Against Rape explains the origins of Take back the Night
Following this historic event in 1977, women and allies have been gathering worldwide to demand “the right to move freely in their communities at day and night without harassment and sexual assault”
* takeback2.wav: :20
Here in Pittsburgh Rally attendees included members of Survivor Speakout, the Clothesline Project, Spirit Care Ministries, New Voice Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust as well as many community members. Many older attendees were excited to see younger students with Shaler High School's M-Powerment group in attendance.
This years event in Pittsburgh including a speakout by many survivors. Laura Randolph the executive director of Paar believes that community events like this are important for them to take part in.
As reported in the New Pittsburgh Courier, another noose was found in a Pittsburgh workplace. On October 15, a housekeeper at Allegheny General Hospital on the North Side said she found a noose taped to a wall in a residents-only room. The woman, the only African-American who cleans that particular room, told WPXI-TV she felt the noose was meant for her and reported the incident to her supervisor.
Hospital spokesman Dan Laurent issued a statement on the incident three days later. He stated: “At Allegheny General Hospital, we take any alleged issue of racial insensitivity within our organization very seriously. Upon hearing about this incident, we responded to it immediately. After a thorough review by our human resources department, it was determined that the action, though clearly inappropriate, was neither malicious nor racial in nature...Nevertheless, we fully understand its potential interpretation and have appropriately counseled those involved in the incident. In addition, we have arranged for a meeting between all parties involved so that the matter is fully and sincerely addressed.”
The housekeeper, who wants to remain anonymous, said she thinks the responsible party should be terminated. Hospital spokesman Laurent declined to comment as to whether the perpetrator was a doctor, since the noose was found in a residents-only room. “Other people certainly go in there, but the claim is it was a resident,” he said.
In the past month, there have been have been three noose-related racial incidents reported in the greater Pittsburgh area. The other two, at the Port Authority’s East Liberty bus garage, and at an O’Hara Township construction site, occurred within a day of each other.
Investigations are continuing, but so far, no culprits have been identified or charged in either case.
For more on local news, you can visit pittsburgh dot I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot org.
[ HMB BREAK RUSTBELT - 0:20 (fades down 0:10 in to start global intro) ]
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.
While the fires raged in San Diego and thousands of residents were evacuated, the border patrol used the area’s state of emergency as an excuse to harass and deport undocumented immigrants. Fire evacuees who sought refuge at the San Diego Qualcomm Stadium were being questioned for their identification cards and some were being asked for immigration papers. One woman at Qualcomm told a Univision reporter that she had seen families being separated because some members were able to produce papers and others weren’t.
The racial biases unfolding in Southern California is reminiscent of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. When Katrina hit the city, the media was immediately saturated with images of black people “looting” life-sustaining materials from stores, while white people were portrayed as simply taking the supplies they needed to survive. This racialized dichotomy is also coming into play with the evacuees of the San Diego Fire. While refuge centers are offering unlimited emergency supplies, people of color are being accused of looting when they take these supplies. Andrea Guerrerro of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium painted the scene for Free speech Radio News.
An estimated 1,600 farmworkers live in the canyons of San Diego county, an area directly affected by the fire. Many feared deportation more than the fires themselves and remained in the temporary shacks. Physical isolation threatens their livelihood, as evacuation teams have cleared off the areas. Additionally, many of the farmworkers are linguistically isolated as many only speak Spanish or indigenous languages and can’t understand warning messages that are only in English.
Other reports have shown that some Farmers are not allowing the farmworkers to leave and forcing them to work in harmful atmospheric conditions. At least 7 deaths have been reported as a result of the fire including 4 people who were trying to cross the border.
Now as the fires have died down people are returning to their homes. Fear of deportation is still a primary concern for many evacuees as Border Patrol agents have been redeployed to evacuation centers and neighborhood checkpoints for returning residents. Immigrant rights groups are saying there is no need for the Border Patrol to be involved with his process and demand that the agents stop racially profiling immigrants.
One year ago today Hundreds of members of the PFP or Mexican Federal Preventative Police entered the city of Oaxaca to brutally repress a popular uprising that had been taking place for Months. The uprising had originally started as a teacher’s strike with the teachers conducting a sit in in the main square in Oaxaca City to demand better school lunches, books, improved curricula and higher salaries. The teachers strike garnered wide support and the movement was broadened with diverse sectors of society engaging in civil disobedience to demand the resignation of Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz as well as bring attention to the failure of the neoliberal model and the intense social and economic inequalities that characterize this Southern Mexican largely indigenous state.
The government had used the Murder of Bradley Roland Will a 36 year old journalist with New York City Indymedia as a pretense to enter Oaxaca and violently crush the people’s movement.
This past Saturday in Oaxaca thousands of members of APPO or the Oaxacan Popular Assembly gathered to both honor Brad Roland Will as well as professor Emilio Alonso Fabián who was murdered the same day as Brad and more than 25 others Oaxacans who were assasinated, disappeared or arrested during the uprising.
Activists in New York also gathered to honor those fallen in Oaxaca and demand that those responsible for the deaths be brought to justice. When speaking with Democracy Now Investigative Reporter John Ross spoke about the virtual impunity that exists for those responsible for these murders.
Members of Friends of Brad Will in New York believe that the U.S. should be denouncing corrupt police practices in Mexico instead of supporting them. They are urging U.S. officials to denounce George’s Bush proposal for a $1.5 billion dollar "security cooperation initiative" proposal for Mexico that allow for the sharing of U.S. military intelligence information with Mexican military counterparts and provides weaponry and training for the Mexican military and police.
The Movement for Justice in El Barrio in East Harlem, New York just filed a lawsuit against the London Based Corporation Dawnay Day for their harassment and impending eviction of low income/immigrant tenants who live in the 47 buildings that the company recently purchased.
The residents of East Harlem have a long history of grassroots organizing: They say they will not allow Dawnay Day to evict them.
And Now we present a Radical Day in History produced by Radio Rootz in NYC
On Saturday October 27th United for Peace and Justice organized dozens of anti-war rallies in cities around the US. Big crowds turned out in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago as well as less typical locations, like Salt Lake City, Utah; New Orleans, Louisiana; Orlando, Florida; and Jonesborough, Tennessee.
At the past weekend's demonstrations, Mumia Abu-Jamal delivered this message to the demonstrators from his cell on Pennsylvania's death row.
We'll be back after a brief musical break...
...That was What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
The International Monetary Fund, or IMF, and World Bank hold annual meetings every fall. Two out of every three years the meetings are held in Washington DC, where the two powerful financial groups are based. For many years, the meetings have met protests from the anti-globalization Global Justice movement, the largest of which drew over 10,000 people in April of 2000, disrupting the meetings and resulting in over a thousand arrests over a few days' time. Since that year the non-DC meetings have been held in Dubai and Singapore, which critics say were chosen for the lack of civil liberties recognized by the repressive governments in those locales.
Returning to DC after last year's meetings in Singapore, the IMF and World Bank's 2007 annual meetings were held over the weekend of October 20th. Finance ministers from around the world attend, but voting power is proportional to the size of a nation's economy. So the world's seven richest nations, the G-7, effectively control the policies that greatly impact the lives of people in the global south.
Activist and Spoken Word Artist Omékongo Dibinga addressed a few hundred people in DC on Saturday the 20th, prior to a protest march to the IMF and World Bank headquarters.
That was Omékongo Dibinga, speaking in DC earlier this month, before a protest march to the IMF and World Bank annual meetings.
The night before, protests targeted the upscale shopping district in Georgetown, calling it the playground of the rich. Some shop windows were broken and there were clashes with police, but there were few arrests.
Earlier this year, at a conference on Women's Health and the Environment, Dr. Herb Needleman spoke on his research showing that childhood lead poisoning permanently alters victims. Dr. Needleman is a medical researcher at the University of Pittsburgh. In the 1960s, his research helped document the effects of lead on children, and he was a leader in the fight to ban lead in gasoline and paint.
Since then, Dr. Since then, Dr.Needleman has continued to research lead's health impacts, finding that it has a variety of unexpected and damaging effects at far lower levels than previously believed. One of the most disturbing impacts he uncovered is that people who absorb fairly low levels of lead as children have higher rates of learning disabilities and of violent behavior throughout their lives. In his talk at the conference, he described this research, after first providing historical context.
That was Dr. Herb Needleman of the University of Pittsburgh, speaking in April 2007 at the Women's Health and the Environment Conference.
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
[ Outro Music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WPTS Pittsburgh, WNJR Washington, WVJW Benwood, WIUP Indiana and WKCO Gambier.
Our hosts and contributors this week are Andalusia Knoll and Matt Toups with additional contributions from Carlin Christy, Jessica McPherson, Juliana Stricklen. This week's show was produced by Phill Cresswell and Jon Heiman. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
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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.