community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show: We go to a West Virginia rally against mountaintop removal, where Josh Fox and Mari-Lynn Evans draw connections to the anti-fracking movement; An update of the Our Library, Our Future voter initiative; a lead up to the Pelican Bay State Prison hunger strike; the latest on a controversial new abortion bill being debated in the state legislature; City officials forget to bring their homework to police accountability bill discussion and more in our local and global headlines.
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Rustbelt Radio for June, 20 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 WRCT studios every other 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:
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.
With the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s unsustainable and waning funding, the Our Library, Our Future voter initiative has formed as a community-based effort to raise awareness of and help solve the libraries’ financial woes.
Here is Suzy Scherf, a city resident who has used the library extensively since her children were born and is now a formal spokesperson for the Our Libraries, Our Future initiative – speaking on the current funding sources of the library:
Another member of the Our Library, Our Future campaign is Judge Frank Lucchino. Judge Lucchino is a life trustee of the library and the past chair of the libraries Board of Trustees. In 1991, as the controller of Allegheny County, he authored a study of the library system in all of Allegheny County called “The Quiet Crisis” – which found that libraries have been and continue to be financially vulnerable institutions. Judge Lucchino explains more about the RAD or Regional Asset District funding the library receives:
The Our Library, Our future voting initiative is a referendum for a zero point two five tax on taxable property in the city of Pittsburgh to be used solely for operation and maintenance of the Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh, As Scherf explains:
There are five other solutions to creating more sufficient and sustainable library funding. Several other of the solutions are explained by Scherf:
Judge Lucchino reiterates:
To learn more about these initiatives or assist with the campaign, visit OUR LIBRARY OUR FUTURE [dot] ORG.
This year’s annual June-teenth festival, held throughout the U.S. and internationally, kicked off with several events throughout the Pittsburgh area. Hailed as the oldest national holiday celebrating the end of slavery, June-teenth is officially recognized in over thirty-nine states.
Last Friday, June 17th, Rustbelt Radio spoke with local poet and storyteller, Amir Rashid, who performed at an outdoor celebration in uptown on Fifth Avenue. Amir explained why people celebrate the end of slavery on June 19th each year.
One of the organizers of the festival, LaKeisha Wolf, spoke about the importance of June-teenth for African-American families.
LaKeisha is also a member of the Ujamaa Collective, one of the vendors at the festival who tabled homemade and organic products.
While Pittsburgh has received attention for being one of the most livable cities in the nation, this year the U.S. Census Bureau listed Pittsburgh as the city with the highest rate of poverty for African-Americans out of the forty largest cities in the nation.
Finally, Amir Rashid points out the challenges that African-Americans face more than a century after the end of slavery.
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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 other independent news from around the country.
On Saturday June 11th , over a thousand people gathered in the town of Blair, West Virginia to protest the planned demolition of Blair Mountain through mountaintop removal coal mining. Blair Mountain was the site of an historic labor battle in which ten thousand coal miners fought against coal company mercenaries for the right to unionize. On our next show we’ll bring you in-depth coverage of this struggle against mountaintop removal. Today, we bring you an interview on the connections between mountaintop removal and shale gas drilling. Josh Fox and Mari-lynn Evans are both filmmakers who have documented the threats from energy extraction in their home landscapes. Josh Fox directed the documentary Gasland, while Mari Lynn Evans is a West Virginia native who produced the films “Coal Country”, “Low Coal”, “Coal Stories” and the PBS documentary “The Appalachians”. They spoke together at the rally to save Blair Mountain, to highlight connections between the movements against mountaintop removal and against shale gas drilling. Rustbelt Radio correspondents Jessica McPherson and Ben Fiorillo interviewed the two after their speech.
Mari-Lynn Evans on mountaintop removal:
Josh Fox addressed the need to bridge a division that has been created between these issues, as some larger environmental groups have been unwilling to take a strong stand against fracking:
Fox spoke to how we can solve our dependence on fossil fuel energy through grassroots efforts:
Evans reflected on the growth of the movement against mountaintop removal, and her own motivations for being active in the struggle:
Tune in to our next show to hear more from the struggle to save Blair Mountain and end mountaintop removal.
July 1st will begin a hunger strike by prisoners incarcerated in the Security Housing Unit or SHU (pronounced shoe) at the Pelican Bay State Prison, a super max facility located outside of Crescent City, California. This indefinite hunger strike is being used by those participating to [quote] protest the cruel and inhumane conditions of their imprisonment [end quote]. Rustbelt Radio spoke with Ed Meade, a long time prison activist who was a former political prisoner as a part of the George Jackson Brigade, a past president of California Prison Focus and the current editor of the Prison Focus Newspaper, he talks about the California Prison Focus’ supported hunger strike.
Meade explains some background information on hunger strikes and why prisoners would want to participate in this direct action:
Meade shares the five core demands the prisoners have released:
To learn more, follow updates or support the Pelican Bay hunger strike, visit the California Prison Focus’ website at www.prisons.org.
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.
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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, WIUP Indiana, WNJR Washington, WLRI LanChester, and FRSC Santa Cruz.
Our hosts this week are Peter Claus and Jessica McPherson with contributions from Nigel Parry, Mana Aliabadi,Seth Bearden, Ben Fiorillo, Jessica McPherson, and Lizzie Anderson. This week's show was produced by Shawn Watson. 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, and follow us on Twitter @pghimc. All of our shows are available 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 bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.