community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show... * Green Party Vice Presidential Candidate Rosa Clemente speaks about Hip Hop organizing, the limits of a two party system and critical issues facing the United States Populace * Pennsylvania becomes the first state to join the SweatFree Consortium * Pittsburgh Against Torture's silent procession * and a feature-length 2.3 Million and Rising on abuse logs and maximum security prisons 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.
We can also be heard weekly on the following stations:
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We turn now to local stories.
June 26th marked the United Nations' International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. On this day, members of the Pittsburgh Against Torture organization held a silent procession through Downtown to raise awareness of the on-going incarceration and torture of prisoners.
Scilla Wahrhaftig, one of the organizers and a member of Pittsburgh Against Torture further explains the purpose of the protest.
Most of the marchers were wearing orange jumpsuits, in sympathy for those who are incarcerated and tortured by the U.S. government . While the recent Supreme Court decision mandates justice for the Guantanamo prisoners by bringing their cases under the Federal Justice system, members of Pittsburgh Against Torture say that there is still work to be done to abolish the acceptance and use of torture by the U.S. government.
Ellen Gerhardt a former sergeant in the Army National Guard, served in Iraq and her unit delivered water to Abu Ghraib Prison. At the silent procession, she talks about what the public could do to ensure that what happened in Abu Ghraib Prison doesn’t happen to other prisoners of war.
Besides the June 26th procession the new coalition of individuals of Pittsburgh Against Torture are committed to ending torture wherever it occurs. The organizations has several events planned to tackle this issue, including an all day conference on September 20, 2008 at the First Unitarian Church in Oakland. To learn more about the organization and its events visit http://www.pittsburghagainst torture.org for details.
Four years ago, Gov. Ed Rendell signed an executive order called the Anti-Sweatshop Procurement Policy. This order prohibited state agencies from purchasing goods made in sweatshops, or factories that pay below-poverty wages or commit other labor abuses. Now the non-profit organizations Philadelphia Jobs With Justice and Sweatfree Communities along with other religious, labor and student groups have achieved a landmark success in strengthening Rendell’s commitment to workers’ rights in the global apparel industry.
Last Friday July 11th, Governor Rendell signed a first-in-the-nation resolution committing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to participate in the State and Local Government Sweatfree Consortium. The Sweatfree Consortium will help state and local governments enforce their commitments to end public purchasing from sweatshops by investigating the global factories where goods are made. In addition, the consortium will help governments engage in cooperative purchasing from vendors and factories that meet Consortium standards for labor and human rights.
Dorian Lam, an organizer with Philly Jobs with Justice has worked to promote the SweatFree Consortium. She describes its implications for Pennsylvania:
Pennsylvania and other states are using millions of tax-payer dollars every year to buy employee uniforms that are produced in sweatshops. A July 1 report from SweatFree Communities found labor and/or human rights abuses in a dozen different factories around the world that supply 9 brands purchased by state agencies. Pennsylvania, the report claims, buys four of these brands: Blauer; Dickies; Lion Apparel, which makes uniforms; and Rocky Brands Shoes. These companies operate sweatshops in various countries across the globe, including in Mexico and China.
Rustbelt Radio asked Dorian to talk about some of the abuses that were found in the international investigation:
Currently 181 public entities, including seven states, have similar sweatfree purchasing policies. SweatFree Communities and Philadelphia Jobs with Justice hope this move by Governor Rendell will end tax dollar support in Pennsylvania for sweatshops and will encourage other governors to follow suit. We asked Dorian to discuss how anti-sweatshop organizers will build off of the success of this recent campaign.
To learn more about SweatFree Communities and their work for global justice, including the development of the State and Local Government SweatFree Consortium, go to www.sweatfree.org/sweatfreeconsortium. And to read the worker’s stories of the human rights and labor violations that are taking place you can go to: www.sweatfree.org/subsidizing.
A Federal jury has awarded over $10 million in damages to 67 residents near Zanesville, Ohio residents who argued they were denied public water service because of their race. These residents sued the county commission and water authority claiming that city water services had been denied to their neighborhood since 1956. when water lines were first installed in the area. One plaintiff in the case Cindy Hairston told the Associated Press “Public Water was all around us, 900 feet from one neighbor’s house. You could look and see public water towers from our area.” “It was emotionally straining, it hurt to know they would let our neighborhood go without public water.” City water was extended to the community in 2003 - one year after the discrimination complaint went to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. Muskingham County has announced plans to appeal the verdict. Thanks to Free Speech Radio News for that Report
Although immigrant labor built the city of Pittsburgh in the later nineteenth century, the proportion of foreign-born individuals in the area leveled off with European immigration, and Pittsburgh has been impacted much less than most American cities by more recent waves of immigration.
This pattern is changing, though, as Andrea Fox, a physician at the Squirrel Hill Health Center, has observed through her work. Fox describes the center’s mission of providing health care to ethnic minority populations in Pittsburgh:
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She explains Pittsburgh’s immigrant population as a new growth population and describes patterns of immigration to Pittsburgh within the last ten years:
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While many Mexican immigrants to the United States come from the Northern Provinces, there is one Mexican town in particular that has a special connection to Pittsburgh:
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When asked whether the city of Pittsburgh has been appropriately responding to the needs of this new population Fox replied in the negative:
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Fox's advice as to how the city could take some initial steps towards improvement was simple, as she described the perils of [quote] driving while Latino:
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Though she admits that things are getting better, Fox emphasizes that the pace of change has not been fast:
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To find more information about the work of the Squirrel Hill Health Center please visit www.squirrelhillhealthcenter.org
For more on local news, you can visit pittsburgh dot I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot org.
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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 the morning of Friday, March 7th, 27 year-old Blanca Luna was found stabbed to death in her room on the air force base in Sheppard Texas. Her family still does not know who killed her or what the military may know about the circumstances of her death.
Luna, who joined the Marine Corps right out of high school, had enlisted with the air force to learn a marketable trade. Last year Luna had trained with the 434th Civil Engineering Squadron at Grissom Air Reserve Base in Indiana, and last September she began an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems program at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. She had been scheduled to graduate from the program on March 10th. After Luna's family learned of her death, they called the air force base numerous times looking for information, but they were unable to find out anything about the investigation. When Luna’s body arrived home in Chicago it was already embalmed. The family did not receive an autopsy report.
Luna’s best friend and former roommate Denise Figueroa says that the military has offered inconsistent reports of Luna’s death. According to Figueroa, the military first said Luna had a stab wound on her back on the right side then they changed the story to say that she was stabbed in her neck on the left side. “Why are there no police reports, no pictures?” Figueroa asks.
The military has even tried to suggest that Luna committed suicide, but Luna’s friends and family have another idea. Luna was the only woman in her unit and she had a leadership role. Her sister, Lilia Barrios, had visited Luna in Texas, and reported that some people there didn’t like her. Barrios believes her sister may have been the victim of discrimination, saying of Luna, “she was Hispanic and knew more than them.”
Violence against women in the military is a pervasive, though unpublicized, problem. In 2003 the Department of Veterans Affairs sponsored a study of women veterans from the Vietnam era through the gulf war. 30 percent of those interviewed said they had been raped.
Thanks to the Chicago Reader for this story.
Radio Rootz brings us this radical history lesson for July 16th:
A court judge, last week, overturned the conviction of Albert Woodfox, a political prisoner, and member of the Angola 3 who has served 36 years in solitary confinement in Angola Prison in Lousiana. Magistrate Christine Nolan determined that Albert Woodfox received inadequate and faulty representation at the trial that resulted in his conviction for the 1972 killing of a prison guard at Louisiana's Angola penitentiary. Herman Wallace, the other member of the Angola 3 still in prison, was convicted on similar charges in a separate trial. Albert Woodfox, spoke to Prison Radio after the ruling:
The case of the Angola 3 is perhaps best known because the men each served over 30 years in solitary confinement, more than any other US prisoner. All three men were members of the Angola Prison chapter of the Black Panther Party and believe they were targeted for their political beliefs. Robert King Wilkerson, the other member of the Angola 3 was released from prison in 2001 and has dedicated to his life to exposing the abuses and injustices rampant within the prison industrial complex, since his release. Woodfox can be freed if he is allowed a new trial and found innocent. For further interviews and info about the Angola 3 visit prisonradio.org
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
Fed Up, the local chapter of The Human Rights Coalition, brings us this week's feature length report on the prison industrial complex:
Hundreds of people gathered in Chicago over the weekend for the Green Party Convention where they selected former Cynthia McKinney as the party's presidential nominee. McKinney is the former six-term congresswoman and the first African-American woman elected to represent Georgia in Congress, who instigated an investigation into the September 11th attacks. McKinney chose Rosa Clemente, NYC based hip hop organizer, radio journalist and Puerto Rican activist, as her running mate. Rustbelt Radio has previously interviewed Clemente about the Jena 6 and FBI witchunts for Puerto Rican activists. Today we feature an excerpt of a Hard Knock Radio interview with Rosa Clemente conducted by Davey D. Clemente comments on the limits and possibilities of electoral politics, the need to overcome a two party system critical issues facing our nation.
That was just Green Party Vice presidential candidate Rosa Clemente speaking with Davey D. Thanks to Hard Knock Radio for that report. To hear the complete interview visit the website of Pacifica Radio station http://Kpfa.org
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, and WIUP Indiana.
Our hosts and contributors this week are Andalusia Knoll and Larry Miller with additional contributions from Lizzie Anderson, Ellen Pierson, Carlin Christy, and Jessica McPherson. This week's show was produced by Phill Cresswell. 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.