Activism

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Standing under gathering clouds in the middle of a grassy field just outside Pittsburgh, Anaïs Peterson recalled the years she spent playing soccer here.

“That’s the goal you always want,” she said, nodding to the east.

A mile beyond that goalpost in Indiana Township lies a natural gas well pad that didn’t exist during her soccer days.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

One year after the inaugural Women’s March on Washington, activists across the country are getting ready to hit the streets again, including some in Pittsburgh. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

About 300 people marched from Homewood to North Point Breeze Saturday afternoon led by black activists and followed by white allies. 

The peaceful march organized by a group of black women and femmes intentionally prioritized the needs and voices of black attendees. All intersections of the black community including physical ability and sexual orientation and identity were welcomed as well as white allies. Organizer Deaja Baker said it was a chance to uplift the black communities.

Samey Jay

UPDATE: The March on Google, which was scheduled to take place outside of Google's Pittsburgh campus at Bakery Square Saturday, has been postponed. Organizers posted online early Wednesday that it was on hold due to "Alt Left Terrorist threats." 

Heather Kresge / Pittsburgh Democratic Socialists of America

When Arielle Cohen was first approached about joining the local Democratic Socialists of America chapter, she hesitated.

“What I said exactly was: ‘I’m definitely a capital "F" feminist, but I think I’m a lower "s" socialist,’” Cohen said.

Summit Against Racism

Pittsburgh’s 19th annual Summit Against Racism takes place Saturday.

This year’s summit coordinator Mary Parker said with so many other events going on this weekend surrounding the inauguration of Donald Trump, she received some requests to move the date of her event.

She said the summit is always held the Saturday after Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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In activist Sueño Del Mar's mind, Pittsburgh is always moving forward.

“We don’t sit by silently,” she said.

But even in a city with a rich history of social movements and organizing, corralling the events scheduled the week Donald Trump takes office has been tough. It certainly was not a unified front.

Three student leaders avoided jail time for their part in weeks-long demonstrations that brought Hong Kong to a standstill nearly two years ago.

Joshua Wong and Nathan Law were sentenced on Monday to community service for their part in the Umbrella Movement demonstrations. A third activist, Alex Chow, received a suspended prison sentence so that he could embark on graduate studies, The Associated Press reports.

Elaine Thompson / AP Images

Former Seattle city councilman Nick Licata is in town this weekend for a series of social justice events. Licata will march alongside 1500 demonstrators in the Still We Rise march on Friday, speak at the People’s Convention on Saturday and promote his new book “Becoming a Citizen Activist” at the Big Idea Bookstore on Sunday.

Warhol Museum Project Highlights Political Art

Dec 14, 2015
courtesy Andy Warhol Museum

Pittsbugh's Andy Warhol Museum is raising funds to commission a series of print-based exhibits with a political bent.

  

90.5 WESA’s Josh Raulerson spoke about the project with Curator of Education Tresa Varner.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Civil rights activist and self-taught lawyer Chen Guangcheng made headlines in 2012 when he escaped house arrest in China and fled to the United States Embassy in Beijing.  He is in Pittsburgh for the second time to read from his memoir, “The Barefoot Lawyer.” Guancheng and his translator, Danica Mills, joined Essential Pittsburgh to reflect on his life and his thoughts on human rights throughout the world.  

NewVoices Pittsburgh / Twitter

This week, New Voices Pittsburgh Women of Color for Reproductive Justice celebrates 10 years as a human rights organization in the Pittsburgh region.

Initially the grassroots group had some trouble defining themselves and their mission.

How do you advocate for reproductive justice when most people don’t understand what that term means?

But as they’ve partnering with organizations such as the Women’s Law Project, and brought attention to the treatment of incarcerated women in the state prison system, NVP has carved out a more defined mission and area for growth.

We’ll talk with LaTasha Mayes, Founder and Executive Director of New Voices Pittsburgh, about what reproductive justice means for whole communities and how grassroots organizing is evolving.

New Voices Pittsburgh Women of Color for Reproductive Justice will be celebrating their 10 year anniversary at the Andy Warhol Museum on Thursday December 4, 2014 click here for more information.

Meet etta cetera, the Woman Who Married Pittsburgh

Aug 29, 2014
Tom Jefferson / performanceheartist.wordpress.com


"Today I promise, in order to form a more loving union, I will fight for justice, I will work toward peace, I will mobilize in defense of the commons, I will promote the general welfare of all life, and weave the braids of liberation to my movement for the future generations " - etta cetera

When 90.5 WESA Weekend Host Liz Reid found out she'd be filling in as host of Essential Pittsburgh, she took to her Facebook page and asked followers who they'd like to hear interviewed on the show.

Overwhelmingly, people wanted to hear a conversation with etta cetera, a prison justice activist and performance "heartist" who married the city of Pittsburgh earlier this summer. Etta joins us to talk about why she married the city and how it ties in with her advocacy and prison justice work.