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State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta Joins 17 Other Rising Stars In Keynote Address At The DNC

Andrew Harnik
Pennsylvania state House Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Philadelphia, speaks at a campaign stop to support Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden at the Biden for President Des Moines South Side Office, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020.

On today's program: First-term state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta speaks at the Democratic National Convention; arts groups in Pittsburgh reimagine their productions during the pandemic; and the Pittsburgh Foundation organizes funds to help smaller nonprofits. 

First term Pa. representative takes the “stage” at the DNC
(00:00 — 6:21)

The Democratic National Convention continues this evening with some big name stars taking the (virtual) stage. Senator Kamala Harris will accept her party’s nomination for vice president, and former President Barack Obama and 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will also address delegates and the nation.

Seventeen “rising stars” in the Democratic party delivered Tuesday night's keynote address. The Keystone state had two representatives on the “stage.” U.S. Representative Conor Lamb and first term State RepresentativeMalcolm Kenyatta of Philadelphia. Kenyatta says speaking to the nation and the party was “incredibly moving.”

He tells The Confluence he hopes his message lingers well beyond the close of the Democratic convention Thursday night. 

“Nobody is coming to save us,” he says. “If we want to see change in our communities, it’s going to come from within our communities.”

Pittsburgh arts groups turn to innovative programming during the pandemic
(6:25 — 14:24)

Performing arts organizations are adapting to bring the arts back to Pittsburghers. 

City Theatre reimagined its 46th season as theDrive-in Community Arts Festival at Hazelwood Green. Performances will take place live on stage and be projected on an adjacent screen in a parking lot next to Mill19 at the Hazelwood Green development.

“Obviously with COVID-19, there’s just, it’s not possible for us to produce inside our theater, and it probably won’t be possible for quite some time, and so we wanted to try to find a way to continue to do work,” says James McNeel, managing director of City Theatre.

ThePittsburgh Symphony Orchestra canceled all previously scheduled concerts through December and pivoted to digital content, including a new series of digital music programs.

“It’ll really be about getting the musicians out in the different iconic places within Pittsburgh. The idea is to have it be free and really expand the access to the orchestra during this challenging time,” saysMelia Tourangeau, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s president and CEO.

Performers are eager to return to performing for a live audience, McNeel says. “We are all just itching to get back to celebrating the power of live art.” 

Pittsburgh Foundation raising money for smaller nonprofits
(14:30 — 18:02)

ThePittsburgh Foundation’s Emergency Action Fund raised $9 million for COVID-19 relief As of early August. More than 300 nonprofits are using these funds to continue their services during this health and economic crises.


They’re continuing fundraising for smaller nonprofits with their annual #ONEDAY critical needs alert Wednesday, August 19. The Pittsburgh Foundation is providing $450,000 to match a portion of contributions. Donations will benefit more than 150 organizations in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties that help community members with issues from food insecurity to mental health.


Kelly Uranker, the director of the Center for Philanthropy at the Pittsburgh Foundation, says they expect needs for nonprofit services in the Pittsburgh area to increase by at least 50 percent when the eviction moratorium ends at the end of August and extended unemployment benefits expire.


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 take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Julia Zenkevich reports on Allegheny County government for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at
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