community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's Martin Luther King's Day show: a preview of the upcoming Summit Against Racism; Occupy Pittsburgh court coverage; Excerpts from the Free Mumia Rally last December and updates on his case and current condition; Hundreds protest tenth anniversary of Guantanamo detention center and more in our local and global headlines.
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Rustbelt Radio for January 16, 2012
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 Martin Luther King's Day 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.
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We turn now to local stories.
The Black and White Reunion organization formed in 1996 in response to the death of black motorist Johnny Gammage. Gammage was killed while in police custody and the subsequent trial found the officers not guilty. Tim Stevens, former NAACP Pittsburgh Branch president and also founder of B-PEP, The Black Political Empowerment Project, began the Black and White Reunion with a vision to [quote] rekindle the spirit of the 1960’s, to bring together a “reunion” of Black and White people in a collaborative spirit to address the racial and class inequality and division in our society [end quote], says lead organizer Celeste Taylor.
The first annual Summit Against Racism was in 1999, lead by a small group of both black and white people. The summit’s goals are to [quote] raise awareness of the lingering problems of racism within the region of southwestern Pennsylvania [end quote].
This year is the 14th annual Summit Against Racism, which will take place from 8 am until 3 pm on Saturday January 21st at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church.
The following elaboration on the Summit Against Racism is by Celeste Taylor, a civil and human rights activist for the last 30 years, a mother, grandmother, and Pittsburgh resident with a 16-year involvement in the Black and White Reunion:
Taylor’s explains why is it very important to continue, after 14 years, the summit and other Black and White Reunion events to combat racism.
The Summit Against Racism is Saturday, January 21st at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church located at 116 South Highland Avenue. Registration begins at 8:00 am, the opening is at 9:00, the first session of workshops starts at 9:30, the second session is at 11:15, lunch at 1, and workshop summaries, action proposals and closing remarks round out the summit. The recipients of the Johnny Gammage scholarship, Christopher Carter and James Myers, will also be recognized. The scholarship is primarily funded by the Summit.
For more information on registration, fees and workshops, you can email Black and white underscore firstname.lastname@example.org or call 412-322-9275. Also, they have a website, blackandwhitereunion.org, and a facebook page.
The interview with Taylor and reporting on the Summit was done by Lizzie Anderson.
On Tuesday January 10, Occupy Pittsburgh and BNY Mellon met in court over the occupation's impending eviction from Mellon Green. An eviction notice served weeks ago led to a preliminary hearing to determine grounds on which an emergency injunction could evict the encampment immediately. Occupy Pittsburgh's attorney Jules Lobel describes the grounds he represents.
As the hearing carried on into the afternoon, supporters of Occupy Pittsburgh congregated outside the City Council building. Many unions, human rights organizations, and individual members of the 99% rallied to march. Beforehand, Jasiri X performed and representatives of the unions and organizations spoke to the crowd.
Neal Bisno, president of local SCIU, was among them.
John Lacny of OnePittsburgh also offered inspiring words.
To keep updated with the case and the movement, visit occupypittsburgh.org
This story was produced by Emily Laychak.
The following prison report covers sensitive topics dealing with violence, especially for those who have experienced abuse at the hands of prison authorities.
[ 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 other independent news from across the country and around the globe.
A long awaited report was just released that will pave the way for more community radio stations to get on the airwaves.
On Thursday, January 5th, The Federal Communications Commission released its report on the economic impact of low-power FM stations or LPFMs, on commercial radio.
The FCC concluded that (Quote) "LPFM stations do not currently have, and in the future are unlikely to have, a demonstrable economic impact on full-service commercial FM radio stations."
The report was mandated by the Local Community Radio Act that was signed into law in 2010. This piece of legislation seeks to open up the airwaves to more LPFM stations in urban areas.
Currently there are 838 LPFM stations in the country operating at 100 watts or less, but the majority of the stations are in rural areas.
The completion of this report represents a huge hurdle in front of the expansion of LPFM stations, which it has now successfully leaped over. The final one is the outcome of the FCC’s proceeding to resolve the long line of applications for commercial repeater stations that repeat non-local programming.
Many of these stations could take up frequencies that would be suitable for new low-power stations.
As of last June, the FCC was leaning towards establishing a minimum number of LPFM frequencies that must remain available after the commercial repeater applications are approved.
With luck the commissioners will resolve those proceedings in the beginning of this year. In turn that will pave the way for cities and small towns across the US, including Pittsburgh, to apply for new low-power community radio licenses in the fall of 2012.
This update was written by Seth Bearden.
Marking the 30th Anniversary of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s incarceration and on the eve of International Human Rights day, a thousand people gathered in Philadelphia on December 9th at Constitutional Center to say [quote] no to mass incarceration and no to life in prison for this innocent revolutionary and celebrated journalist [end quote]. The following excerpts from the event include the Poet Laureate Amiri Baraka, Ramona Africa, one of the Move Collective members, and Johanna Fernandez, current professor at Barunch College in New York and former professor at Carnegie Mellon University.
Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties Mumia’s phone call from the prison was inaudible. For more information on how to get involved with the campaign to free Mumia Abu Jamal please go to www.freemumia.com.
This event was attended by Etta Cetera, who also wrote and edited the piece.
As an update on Mumia's case, Rustbelt volunteer Lizzie Anderson spoke with Rachel Wolkenstein about the recent court ruling in Mumia Abu-Jamal’s case and the changes that has produced for him. Here is an introduction to Wolkenstein as well as an update on the court ruling and Mumia’s current incarceration conditions. Note: SCI before a prison name stands for State Correctional Institute.
Wolkenstein explains the reasoning The Department of Correction, or the DOC, gives for their treatment of Mumia
And a call to action:
Wolkenstein ends with the connections Mumia’s Case shares with broader criminal justice issues
Since this interview took place, an email from HRC FedUp! in Pittsburgh reported that Mumis has been ordered to cut his long dredlocks in order to be moved out of the restricted housing unit. According to the email, this is an argument the DOC used during Mumia's early time on deaht row. It says [quote] He spent 8 years on disciplinary status in death row until he was removed from that status--without getting a haircut--in the early 1990s [end quote].
Mumia Abu Jamal's weekly radio broadcast from January 8th was recorded by Ron Kovic due to Mumia's newer and more restrictive conditions of confinement as outlined in the previous piece. The following commentary addresses the military, appropriate for the Martin Luther King Jr. speech to follow
On Janurary 11th, hundreds of human rights advocates, lawyers and others gathered in Washington DC. The rally, organized by Amnesty International, Witness for Torture and the Center for Constitutional Rights, marked the 10-year anniversary of the arrival of the first detainees at Guantanamo Bay. In the past decade, nearly 800 men have been held at the US-run detention center in Cuba. Despite Obama’s 2009 pledge to close the site, the facility remains open, and today 171 men remain detained at Guantanamo Bay. Since its opening, Guantanamo continues to be a symbol of the War on Terrorism, US-supported and enacted torture, and the lawlessness of the global War on Terror. Opened by the Bush administration, the US declared the facility outside the realm of United States law. The Bush administration declared that (quote) “enemy combatants” do not have the same rights to a fair trial, legal representation, and due process as United States citizens. The indefinite detention of these men, paired with the well-documented abuse and torture at the site, has caused international outrage and condemnation.
In addition to calling for the closure of Guantanamo Bay, participants of the 10th anniversary event denounced the recent passing of the National Defense Authorization Act that codifies indefinite detention of any US or non-US citizens into US law.
Standing outside of the White House, the Amnesty International director of Terrorism, Counter Terrorism, and Human Rights, connects the facility’s policies and practices to international standards for human rights.
Ramzi Kassem, a City University of New York professor who represents men at Guantanamo Bay and the comparable Bagram detention center in Afghanistan, explains the broader implications of United States policies towards international detainees.
* cuny_gitmo.flac: 3:03 gitmo
Following the rally outside the White House, hundreds of participants proceeded throughout the nation’s capital, following 171 people dressed in orange prison-style jumpsuits and black hoods. The procession went from the White House to the Capital building and ended on the steps of the Supreme Court. Participants included a bus-full of Pittsburgh’s CAPA High School Amnesty International chapter and a handful of participants from Occupy Pittsburgh.
For more information on Guantanamo, Bagram and the National Defense Authorization Act, visit the Center for Constitutional Rights website at CCRJustice.org.
From Washington DC, this story was produced by Juliana Stricklen.
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.
Now we bring you a musical reflection on Martin Luther King from local youth.
You just heard "Dreams of Kings" by Tairey Perez, EZ Scarz, Curtis Pope and Jordan Montgomery. The song was produced through the Arts Greenhouse program, a hip-hop education outreach program at Carnegie Mellon University dedicated to cultivating the artistic talent of Pittsburgh teens. Find out more about the program at: www.PghBeatmakers.org (www. P-G-H Beat-makers dot org)
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
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Our hosts this week are [ ] and [ ] with contributions from [ Seth Bearden, Emily Laychak, Lizzie Anderson, Etta Cetera ]. This week's show was produced by Shawn Watson (and) 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 bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.