New Fund Seeks To Take The Waiting Out Of Political Action

Mar 12, 2019

Applications opened this month on the Social Justice Rapid Response Fund, a new program providing grants to help support activists in Pittsburgh. 

La’Tasha Mayes, co-founder and executive director of New Voices for Reproductive Justice, says grants like these can be the catalyst to help those willing to do the work bring about change in their community.

New Voices is a multi-state organization dedicated to the health and well-being of black women, femmes and girls that contributed one-quarter of the fledgling fund's first $100,000 investment. The group's contribution requires its portion focus on opportunities for black femmes and reproductive issues in line with their core mission.

If approved, applicants will wait up to 14 days from paperwork to check-in-hand, Mayes says, which can be vital for sustained political action. “You can’t wait six months for a grant,” she says.  

River City Brass playing at the American International School Dhaka's Tiger Ball.
Credit Courtesy of River City Brass

Later in the program:

New York and New Jersey are moving closer to legalizing recreational marijuana, but in Pennsylvania, it’s a tale of two sides. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is on a statewide tour to gather public opinion, but Keystone Crossroads’ Bobby Allyn reports the tour has shown a divide between constituents and lawmakers.

And River City Brass has performed locally, nationally and internationally in the tradition of the American brass band since 1981. They recently returned from a trip to Dhaka, Bangladesh, where the 28-member band performed American standards alongside Bangla tunes and Bollywood hits at galas, schools and embassies across the city. The Confluence’s Megan Harris spoke with artistic director James Gourlay, cornetist Shawn Wilson and principal trombonist Sebastian Vera about their experiences and River City Brass’s mission to take music to the people.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.