community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show: We'll bring you news of Pittsburgh-area support for democracy in Egypt; We hear coverage of the Black and White Reunion's 13th Annual Summit Against Racism; We'll have news of the Steelworkers' ongoing fight to hold corporate interests accountable for economic misdeeds; We hear from the ACLU of Pennsylvania on upcoming anti-immigrant legislation; FedUp brings us the latest P-A prisons radio report; Local lawyers weigh in on police pursuit of the Jordan Miles faux press release and more in our local and global headlines
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Rustbelt Radio for January 31, 2011
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of the news from the grassroots, news overlooked by the corporate media.
On today's show...
Rustbelt Radio is broadcast live from W R C T studios every other Monday at 6 P-M on 88-point-3 FM in Pittsburgh. It airs again the Tuesday mornings at 9 A-M.
We can also be heard weekly on the following stations:
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 from our website at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.
We turn now to local stories.
Armed with poetry, music, and humour, a theatre group led by Pittsburgh highschool students are performing in venues throughout the city to speak out about their experiences of being bullied and mistreated.
On Sunday, January 30, Dreams Of Hope, a local theatre troupe of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied youth, otherwise known as LGBTA, performed in front of a packed audience at the August Wilson Center in downtown Pittsburgh.
Started in 2003, the group consists of youths ranging from 13 to 21 years of age who seek to educate the public about issues they face growing up.
One of the performers in Dreams of Hope, Ben Alt, says that LGBTA concerns are often overlooked.
This past year bullying has been taken more seriously in light of nearly half a dozen recent teen suicides across the United States.
Addressing this issue is a spoken word piece performed by Dreams of Hope entitled "Bully Me."
After the performance, members of Dreams of Hope came onto the stage to discuss the themes present throughout the performance.
During the Q and A session, a member of the audience stood up and related a story from his youth about being bullied.
Dreams of Hope perform at non-traditional venues throughout the city such as community centers, houses of worship, universities, high schools, and union halls. To find out about future performances, go to Dreams of hope dot com.
As the protests continue in Egypt, supporters of this movement are gathering all over the world to express their support for those struggling for a truly democratic Egypt. Inspired by the revolt in Tunisia, activists in Egypt called for a “Day of Rage” to protest against poverty, unemployment and corruption that they face under the 30-year oppressive rule of autocrat Hosni Mubarak. On January 25th, a day which happens to be a national holiday to commemorate the police forces, the uprising began in Cairo and quickly spread nationwide. The Egyptian police retaliated with tear gas, water canons and even in some cases, live ammunition.
After many of the protests were organized through online social media, internet access was cut, cellphone networks were taken down and a curfew was established. However, that didn't stop the uprising from growing and spreading to expatriate communities across the world. Here in Pittsburgh, dozens of people rallied together on Friday January 28th at Schenley Plaza in support of a democratic Egypt free of Hosni Mubarak. One of the rally organizers and Egyptian-American, Khalid El-Arini, talks about why he felt compelled to come out:
Here are some more sounds from the rally:
While Egyptians may not have access to the democratic process under Hosni Mubarak, we have the means here in the America to voice our concerns to our elected representatives. The organizers of the event urged Americans make our voices heard and to exercise our rights that very few people have around the world.
That was Khalid El-Arini at the rally to support a democratic Egypt.
The Black and White Reunion celebrated its 13th annual Summit Against Racism on Saturday, January 22nd. The volunteer organization was founded by Tim Stevens in 1996 in direct response to the killing of Johnny Gammage. Gammage was an African American motorist who was killed by five white police officers representing Brentwood, Baldwin and Whitehall during a routine traffic stop. The summit is a part of the organization’s larger mission to (quote) bring together organizations and individuals to become allies in the struggle for human equality [and] to act as a catalyst agent for racial justice and social change through education and dialogue (end quote). The event took place in East Liberty Presbyterian Church and included speakers, a movie about local labor leader Nate Smith entitled “What Does Trouble Mean,” and five workshop options for participants.
The event began with a call to action by founder, Tim Stevens:
In honor of the Summit, the Allegheny County Council released a proclamation. Rich Fitzgerald, President of Council, took the stage to read the proclamation to the audience:
Early in the day, former Robert Morris University student Erika Pheiffer’s film “What Does Trouble Mean,” was shown to the audience. The movie focused on Nate Smith, a local leader who fought for labor equality in construction jobs in the 1970s in Pittsburgh. For more on “What Does Trouble Mean,” visit natesmithmovie.com
Here is Ken Smith, another Black and White Reunion organizer, on the importance of the film:
And Tim Stevens with a message for youth:
After a film discussion, the participants broke into groups for the workshop portion of the Summit. The workshops focused on (quote) some of the more critical issues facing this region today, including police brutality, racial profiling and discrimination; minority labor participation and ensuring political decision-making is all inclusive; social justice for convicted prisoners; human right to public resources; and combining City League with WPIAL and the potential effects on race relations.”
One of the workshops was lead by the Regional Equity Monitoring Project (REMP). This workshop took the issues addressed in the Nate Smith film to current day where there is still a lack of diversity in construction jobs. Facilitator Eleanor Jaluague (I don’t know how to pronounce this, sorry!) explains REMP’s citizen monitors and the Community Workforce agreements they are working on:
To learn about REMP’s projects, visit: pennsylvaniaequity [ dot ] org
For more information on the Black and White Reunion, please go to: blackandwhitereunion.org.
This past weekend local activists rallied in front of the U.S. Steel’s corporate headquarters Downtown in solidarity with Canadian workers that the company has locked out. Meanwhile the head of the Steelworkers union – which is also Pittsburgh-based – joined thousands of rank-and-file members in Ontario to call on the company to honor its commitments. This next report shares the voices of local supporters as well as Steelworkers President Leo Gerard.
Fed Up!, the Pittsburgh chapter of the Human Rights Coalition, gives us this week's prison radio report.
Michael Edwards of the Restricted Housing Unit in Fayette County said that during the week of December 17th guards searched several prisoners' cells, resulting in multiple assaults. Edwards said had been warned by prison staff not to write to FedUp nor to contact state authorities. During the searches, his letters were confiscated. He and his cellmates were also physically assaulted by guards using electroshock weapons. As of a month later, Edwards had still not received medical attention.
From the Restricted Housing Unit at the Coal Township unit in east-central P-A, Reuben Henry communicated to FedUp that after an argument with his unit manager he was taken from his cell, handcuffed and beaten, resulting in severe injury to his jaw. Under orders from Deputy McMillian, Henry was stripped naked and held in a restraint chair for three hours. Days later, Henry reported having not been able to shower or to receive medical treatment. He also says that guards are continuing to threaten his life.
Larry Rush, a prisoner of the Greene unit in Waynesburg, has written into FedUp to report on the living conditions of the Restricted Housing Unit. Rush reported that guards are stealing property and giving it to other inmates, prisoners are not getting their allotted one hour of yard time and the restricted housing unit is holding prisoners with mental illnesses who are not receiving treatment for their conditions.
Jailhouse lawyer Andre Jacobs reported being assaulted by guards in the restricted housing unit and is currently being denied bedding, toiletries and his legal property. Jacobs said he believes guards are retaliating against him because of his victory in a 2008 lawsuit against the P-A Department of Corrections. Jacobs was granted an award of one hundred eighty five thousand dollars. He wrote that on January 18, Lieutenant Taylor told him, "We had this planned for you before you even got here. One more move in this game of chess and you're dead - you'll never see that [money].”
David Cantini, one of the estimated 1,000 Pennsylvanians housed in Virginia prisons, wrote into FedUp saying he was assaulted by his cellmate. This took place after the administration refused to move him even though Cantini, his counselor and prison guards voiced their concern. Cantini's jaw was broken in two places in an alleged attack by his cellmate
This information was excerpted from the January 28th edition of the P-A Prison Report from the Human Rights Coalition. Listen to more prison reports at ontheblockradio [dot] org broadcast Fridays at 9pm on W P E B in West Philly, 88 point 1 FM. For more information, visit www [dot] H-R-coalition [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 bi-weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media.
We turn now to immigration.
* Metcalfe_GreatDebate.flac: (0:32)
That was Pennsylvania State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (MET-caff), during a 2009 immigration debate at Washington & Jefferson College.
An upstate New York transplant to Cranberry Township, Metcalfe is the Republican representative for Butler County. Metcalfe began his 7th term in office in January with a renewed push for [quote] ending Pennsylvania’s illegal alien invasion. [endquote]
Metcalfe is founder of the national taskforce, Legislators for Legal Immigration, or L-L-I. Fellow policymakers in LLI, boast of political allies across 40 states. The coalition’s logo shows a target hovering over the Southwest—and concentric rings radiating over a red outline of the U.S.
In a clip from his YouTube channel, Metcalfe explains the mission of his taskforce.
While currently listed as the lone member of LLI from Pennsylvania, Metcalfe was not the only anti-immigrant legislator to make political gains after the midterm elections.
Governor Tom Corbett supports Arizona’s controversial SB 1070, widely know as the ‘racial profiling bill.’ Senator Pat Toomey earned a 100% rating by FAIR—a nonprofit that [quote] seeks to improve border security, to stop illegal immigration, and to promote immigration levels consistent with the national interest. [endquote] Incumbent John Galloway made headlines just two weeks before the midterms, demanding to see the papers of laborers at a construction site in Eastern PA. And former Hazelton mayor Lou Barletta—after vowing to make Hazelton [quote] “the toughest place on illegal immigrants in America,” [endquote]—headed to Washington to join the 112th Congress.
Now, as the Majority Chairman of the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee, Metcalfe has the power to determine the legislative agenda for the House of Representatives.
For more on upcoming anti-immigrant legislation, Rustbelt Radio spoke with Andrew Hoover, the Legislative Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.
* ACLU_Hoover01.flac: (7:10)
Hoover closed by addressing the problem of inflammatory rhetoric around the immigration debate.
* ACLU_Hoover02.flac: (2:09)
That was legislative Director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, Andrew Hoover. For more on the ACLU and immigration, visit a-c-l-u-p-a [dot] org or their national website at a-c-l-u [dot] org. For those without internet access, call the Philadelphia office at 215-592-1513.
And now we bring you related commentary from Saleem Holbrook, a prisoner at SCI Greene--a state correctional institution in Waynesburg, PA. Holbrook wrote the piece, titled "Arizona: a Prelude to the Future?", during the summer of 2010 about SB 1070, widely known as Arizona's racial profiling bill. Rustbelt Radio producer, Lizzie Anderson, reads a segment from his commentary in which Holbrook addressed the possible repeal of the 14th amendment.
That was a piece written by Saleem Holbrook about the possibility of the repeal of the 14th amendment, as read by Lizzie Anderson.
"Lift Every Voice and Sing", otherwise known as “the Black National Anthem,” was originally written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson then set to music in 1899 by his brother John Rosamond Johnson. In 1919, the NAACP adopted the song as “The Negro National Anthem,” and it then became a popular song to hear in predominately black churches across the country. During the Summit Against Racism, Faith Stenning, from the Coalition Against Violence, lead the audience in the singing of this song:
That was Faith Stenning with back up from the participants of the Black and White Reunion's 13th Annual Summit Against Racism singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing."
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
* February is Black History Month. Check out the website of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture for listings of current exhibits and events. Current exhibits include "Hip Hop History: Highlights from the Paradise Collection", featuring photo memories from Pittsburgh hiphop producer Paradise Gray. "In My Father's House" explores how African Americans collect and preserve their culture. Come visit the first exhibition devoted primarily to the rare comic book from 1958, Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story". Coming events includes "Love Jones Week"! Join The Center as we present several events based around the popular 1997 romantic drama film Love Jones, written and directed by Theodore Witcher. The week is full of dance, music and food — including a special reception with Mr. Witcher himself. Activities for singles and couples! More information at augustwilsoncenter.org
* The University of Pittsburgh's Global Studies Center and Ford Institute for Human Security present a lecture by Dr Moataz F Herzawi (mow-A-taz EF hir-ZA-wee) on "Egypt in Turmoil: Regime Change? Theocracy or Democracy? What will happen next?". Tuesday February 1st at 4PM in 4130 Posvar Hall. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
* The Anti-War Committee of the Thomas Merton Center has announced an emergency solidarity demonstration to support the popular insurgency in Egypt against the undemocratic Mubarak regime. This action will be held this Wednesday, February 2nd, from 9 to 10AM, at downtown Pittsburgh's Federal Building located at 1000 Liberty Avenue, near intersection of Grant and Penn Avenue.
* Former Pennsylvania Governor and former Homeland Security head Tom Ridge, will be giving a lecture on Marcellus Shale Gas Development on Thursday, February 3, 2011, at 4:30 pm, Porter Hall 100 (Gregg Hall) at CMU. The lecture is co-sponsored by The Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education & Research.
* Duquesne’s Department of Modern Languages and Literatures presents a series of award-winning films about today’s critical human rights abuses. Tuesday, Feb. 1 will see a presentation of Food, Inc., and Wednesday, Feb. 9th will see "Crossing Arizona", concerning the national debate over illegal immigrants. For more information, see duq.edu/human-rights
* Lauri Lebo's book, The Devil in Dover, recalls the events surrounding the landmark court case on the teaching of intelligent design in Dover, PA, in 2005. The author will be speaking on February 10th at 7PM, at the Carnegie Science Center. More information at centerforinquiry.net/pgh
* Carnegie Melon's Center for African American Urban Studies and the Economy presents lecture by Princeton University Professor Nell Irvin Painter on "The History of White People". February 11th in the Connan Room of CMU's University Center. Refreshments at 4:30 pm, Lecture & Discussion from 5-6:30 p.m.
* Last September, Pittsburgh grafitti artist Ian Debeer, AKA "HERT", was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state penitentiary for graffiti-writing. There will be a FREE HERT benefit show featuring music from Shindiggaz and DJ's Sean MC, Sara Vicious, & more on February 12th at The Shop in Bloomfield. More info at freehert.org, that's free H-E-R-T dot org.
* 'Pittsburgh Welcomes', John Detwiler's 1-hour documentary on the Pittsburgh G-20 Summit, will screen on February 14th. Point Park University Center, Wood Street at 6:30 pm on Valentine's Day. Discussion to follow the screening.
* Three Rivers Community Foundation is offering grants ranging from $500 to $4,000 for organizations focused on creating change in the 10-county region of southwestern PA. The foundation works to bridge the gaps that divide people around race, economic status, gender, sexual identity and disability. Deadline to apply is February 25. For more information, go to www.trcf.net.
* As always, there are more hydrofracking protest-related events and Gasland screenings going on in Pittsburgh and beyond than you can shake an oil drum full of formaldehyde at. Browse the calendar at marcellusprotest.org for a complete list.
* Are you holding local, progressive events? Get them on this calendar by sending an email to radio [at] I N D Y P G H [dot] org.
[ Outro Music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on W R C T Pittsburgh, W I U P Indiana, W N J R Washington, W L R I LanChester, and F R S C Santa Cruz, California.
Our hosts this week are Bonnie Pfister [FIST-uhr ] and [ ] with contributions from [Lizzie ]. This week's show was produced by Shawn Watson (and) Phill Cresswell. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
You can get involved with Rustbelt Radio! To contact us, email radio [at] I N D Y P G H [dot] org. Become our fan on Facebook to receive updates on our latest episode or follow us on Twitter [at] P G H I M C. All of our shows are available on our website at indypgh.org and this show can be heard again Tuesday morning on W R C T at 9 A-M, right after Democracy Now!
Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.
rust belt radio
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