Urban Redevelopment Authority in the News

Pittsburgh’s URA to turn over documents to federal authorities

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburghs-ura-to-turn-documents-over-to-federal-authorities-702825/#ixzz2eorxTcAv

LOUIS ‘HOP’ KENDRICK writes an Open Letter to the URA in the New Pittsburgh Courier

There are a number of people who are aware that I will be addressing the URA board on Sept. 12, and some will wonder why the need for an open letter? The need exists because 99 percent of those who are reading this column will not be present at the URA board meeting to hear my concerns about some very serious in actions the board has failed to address over the years.

Allow me to make it crystal clear to those of you who are uninformed that the Urban Redevelopment Authority in the city of Pittsburgh is the engine that drives development. It is the oldest in the state of Pennsylvania, and one of the oldest in the nation. The reality is that the current mayor and former mayors have been the engineers who drive the train of development, and the board members are conductors, red caps, etc. It is my belief that they could be more productive than they are, but they owe their appointments to the engineer, the mayor.

Across this nation in almost every major city those who disperse our tax dollars have created a class of Blacks and women businesses who are highly successful. Pittsburgh has been an exception. Why?

It is my personal belief that starting with the engineers (mayors) there is an absence of caring, concern or commitment, which filters down to the conductors and red caps (board members). There is a general weak excuse that Black and female-owned businesses lack the necessary qualifications or experience to take on major contracts. My response is and always has been if Black and female-owned businesses are granted the opportunities then experience and qualifications will follow.

The URA has spent billions of dollars and overwhelmingly with the same developers and contractors; and through this use of tax dollars these people have grown larger and richer and the one common denominator is they are all White-owned businesses. The two largest construction contracts in the history of Pittsburgh that Blacks were awarded was the Kingsley Association, which was driven by Executive Director Malik Bankston; and Ebenezer Baptist Church (Wylie Avenue), which was driven by its pastor, Dr. Alfred Van Winsett.

The general public has no concept of the magnitude of taxpayers’ money that is expended not just with construction, but goods and service contracts. The overwhelming numbers of successful contactors that you witness building year after year are generally recipients of the public trough—taxpayers’ monies.

Please remember to send a financial contribution to Kingsley Association.

(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page of New Pittsburgh Courier.)


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The URA Never Responded to Our Demands and Love Letter

Dear URA,

Last month we delivered a letter at your August 8 board meeting calling for a different vision for development in Black Pittsburgh. We asked for a response and we have not heard from you.

What we did hear were your statements to the press that we didn’t know what we were talking about; that we had it all wrong; that the URA was investing in Black Pittsburgh and “building consensus” with community members for its development projects.

But that is not what we see.  We see your signs in front of construction sites in the “East Side” where an entire section of East Liberty has been erased, renamed, and marketed toward wealthy white consumers.  We see your signs in front of Bakery Square 2, a new mall across the street from another mall, on top of where a school once stood.   We see Black-owned & patronized businesses closing next door to what you’re calling “pivotal projects”.

We see bureaucracy and red tape denying community members land in Hazelwood, Lemington, & elsewhere while acres of land are given over to wealthy developers.  We hear promises made to work with the community in development, but in the Hill District & Larimer we see a process failing to gather or follow input from all residents.  We see offers made to homeowners to walk away from their neighborhoods with less & others be required to have large sums of money in-hand to have their vision for their community respected.

We see all of this while multiple glossy, full-color slideshows of projections, created by external interests, are framed for resident approval & often without information handouts or any negative impact concerns being presented.  This highlights the lip-service you are empowered to provide in lieu of supporting real power for residents to make informed decisions regarding which development projects are deemed viable & are reviewed.

We don’t doubt that, as Mr. Ferlo stated, the URA has spent more money in Black communities than at any other time in its history.  But is that money truly advancing the vision of Black people for Black communities?

We don’t deny that your development projects have attracted jobs. But do minimum wage, service-industry jobs really serve your mission to “improve communities”? How many local, Black-owned businesses have actually started, grown, and thrived in the wake of your mixed-use developments? How many of these projects are actually helping build financial security for Black families?

We know that you attempt to “build consensus” among Black community members and organizations for the development projects you push. But what are you building consensus for? Are you truly responding to the vision and needs of these communities? Or are you setting forth a community input process which still helps advance outside interests?  Do the members of the communities which have been involved in these processes feel that you’ve spent too much time building consensus as Mr. Lavelle suggested?

How do you evaluate whether your consensus building processes are relevant to the whole of the existing community? How do you evaluate whether community members feel every perspective has been considered? Have you ever determined that your actions have left Black people out?  Have you ever acknowledged that your actions have contributed to the displacement of Black people? Have you ever apologized for &/or invested in correcting any of the historical injustices you’ve had a hand in?

What is needed is a development model which supports Black communities’ self-determination.  A model in which Black communities are given resources to organize the consensus process, and the visions which it produces are supported unconditionally by the URA.  One which does not undermine the community by purchasing properties, land & structures, then sitting on them for years until the next big developer is wooed into town or the building becomes unusable.

What is needed is a development model in which the power dynamics are reversed and Black communities have more agency and control than the URA. One in which the URA is not asking Black Pittsburgh, “How can we get you to support the vision that we’ve come up with for your neighborhood,” but rather, “How can the URA invest in each neighborhood’s internal vision, no strings attached?”

What is needed is partnership with data collection firms familiar with research justice who build knowledge from a foundational understanding that those being researched are the authorities on the subject of themselves & that expertise is abundant, while legitimacy is strictly rationed by gatekeepers.

What is needed is a development model which acknowledges & aims to eliminate the racial wealth gap and the historical and ongoing system of white supremacy which has produced it; a model which prioritizes and subsidizes Black economic development in Black communities.

What is needed is a development model which centers on the question, “What does it mean to design a neighborhood where Black people feel safe?”

The questions we raise here are not rhetorical.  We want answers.  And we want you to ask them to the communities you work in and we want you to heed what Black people say.

So that there is no misunderstanding, we are all interested in a “better Pittsburgh”.  How we define “better” is critical.


Pittsburgh for Trayvon

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Pittsburgh for Trayvon goes to DC for the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington


Members chant “Pittsburgh standing our ground” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Hear Democracy Now! excerpts from speeches on the August 24th March

Essence Magazine – Video Montage – Includes Pittsburgh for Trayvon members!

On the morning of August 28th, Michelle Alexander, author of the New Jim Crow posted the following staement on facebook:

“For the past several years, I have spent virtually all my working hours writing about or speaking about the immorality, cruelty, racism, and insanity of our nation’s latest caste system: mass incarceration. On this Facebook page I have written and posted about little else. But as I pause today to reflect on the meaning and significance of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, I realize that my focus has been too narrow. Five years after the March, Dr. King was speaking out against the Vietnam War, condemning America’s militarism and imperialism – famously stating that our nation was the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” He saw the connections between the wars we wage abroad, and the utter indifference we have for poor people, and people of color at home. He saw the necessity of openly critiquing an economic system that will fund war and will reward greed, hand over fist, but will not pay workers a living wage.


Members walking with crowds at tail end of March to MLK memorial.

Five years after the March on Washington, Dr. King was ignoring all those who told him to just stay in his lane, just stick to talking about civil rights. Yet here I am decades later, staying in my lane. I have not been speaking publicly about the relationship between drones abroad and the War on Drugs at home. I have not been talking about the connections between the corrupt capitalism that bails out Wall Street bankers, moves jobs overseas, and forecloses on homes with zeal, all while private prisons yield high returns and expand operations into a new market: caging immigrants. I have not been connecting the dots between the NSA spying on millions of Americans, the labeling of mosques as “terrorist organizations,” and the spy programs of the 1960s and 70s – specifically the FBI and COINTELPRO programs that placed civil rights advocates under constant surveillance, infiltrated civil rights organizations, and assassinated racial justice leaders.I have been staying in my lane. But no more.


Member with Black Lives Matter patch walking surrounded by sloganed signs.

In my view, the most important lesson we can learn from Dr. King is not what he said at the March on Washington, but what he said and did after. In the years that followed, he did not play politics to see what crumbs a fundamentally corrupt system might toss to the beggars of justice. Instead he connected the dots and committed himself to building a movement that would shake the foundations of our economic and social order, so that the dream he preached in 1963 might one day be a reality for all. He said that nothing less than “a radical restructuring of society” could possibly ensure justice and dignity for all. He was right. I am still committed to building a movement to end mass incarceration, but I will not do it with blinders on. If all we do is end mass incarceration, this movement will not have gone nearly far enough. A new system of racial and social control will be born again, all because we did not do what King demanded we do: connect the dots between poverty, racism, militarism and materialism.

I’m getting out of my lane. I hope you’re already out of yours.” –Michelle Alexander


Members holding placards quoting bell hooks on the metro into DC.

Seeing the New Jim Crow Placards seized by Police & More at the March on Washington by David Zirin from the Nation – August 24th


photo from the Nation blog with people holding Justice for Trayvon signs

Amy Goodman interviews Civil Rights Pioneer Gloria Richardson, 91, on How Women Were Silenced at 1963 March on Washington.

photo-23Democracy Now: 50 Years Later, the Untold History of the March on Washington & MLK’s Most Famous Speech

Hear the story of a film that was aired across the country in donated Movie Theaters –  50 Years After March on Washington, 1970 Documentary “King: A Filmed Record” Captures MLK’s Journey


Members stand with banners and signs in the center of the WWII memorial with the Lincoln memorial in the background

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Love Letter Delivered to URA and Talking to the Press

Hand Delivered and Read Outloud

Talking to the Press

Some press included: Deanna Garcia of 90.5 WESA., Mark Belko of the Post Gazette

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Dear URA, We LOVE Pittsburgh!

August 8, 2013

Dear Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh,

As residents of Pittsburgh, many of us born and raised here, we have celebrated, fallen in love, given birth, created beauty, experienced tragedy and  made irreplaceable memories here. We have played on the hills of Pittsburgh as children, watched fireworks from its overlooks and somehow managed to make homes here despite your reckless development, tearing the fabric of our communities apart and making us unwelcomed strangers in the landscape of our own lives. This is economic violence, regardless of how good your intentions might be. Despite our undeniable connection to this city, we write as outsiders in our communities, witnesses to the revitalization that has been touted as miraculous yet requires that we be invisible.

We love Pittsburgh, and we are here to demand that the URA stop its campaign of economic violence against Black neighborhoods. This is our home. Long after your contractors and developers have finished their projects, we remain. If the genuine goals of the URA are to “improve the vitality of businesses, neighborhoods, and the City’s livability as a whole”, we demand that this is done with the explicit consent of the communities the URA works in. We demand that the URA use the power and resources that it is given to improve our communities by building authentic relationships with the people who live there.

Our hopes are higher than exposing the thinly veiled intentional creation of blight and the white land-grab that is business as usual for Pittsburgh development. This is an opportunity for action and justice. You will no longer sit comfortably in your offices, far-removed from the impact of your developments on the lives of black Pittsburghers. You will no longer experiment with Pittsburgh like our lives are a game of Monopoly, displacing black people over and over and over again. You will no longer hold up precious local businesses as the flagships of “progress”, only to undermine their development and ruthlessly appropriate them.

Trayvon Martin was profiled because he was seen as a threat in his own neighborhood. Jordan Miles and many others continue to be profiled because they are seen as threats in their own neighborhoods. Deep in our hearts we hold a vision of Pittsburgh that is livable for all it’s residents, where property is not valued over Black lives. What does it mean to design a neighborhood where Black people feel safe?

We present these demands with sincere love for Pittsburgh and expect a response within 3 business days.


Pittsburgh for Trayvon


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Pittsburgh for Trayvon’s First Date with the URA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday August 8, 2013


Sign says: What does it mean to design a neighborhood where a black man is safe?

Contact: Pittsburgh for Trayvon: trayvonpgh@gmail.com 412.879.0344 @trayvonpgh

On Thursday August 8, 2013, Pittsburgh For Trayvon will be dressed to impress for our first date with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) delivering a love letter and our demands at 2pm in the Wherrett Room on the 13th floor at 200 Ross Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

In the wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Pittsburgh For Trayvon continues to pressure city agencies to address institutional white supremacy. In addition to City Council and Bill Peduto, today we are seeking action from the URA to eliminate the economic and emotional violence experienced by Black people in Pittsburgh.

Trayvon Martin was profiled because he was seen as a threat in his own neighborhood. Jordan Miles and many others continue to be profiled because they are seen as threats in their own neighborhoods. Deep in our hearts we hold a vision of Pittsburgh that is livable for all it’s residents, where property is not valued over Black lives. The URA has a responsibility to prioritize the safety of Black residents when developing in our community. What does it mean to design a neighborhood where Black people feel safe?

Pittsburgh For Trayvon expects the URA to respond to our demands within 3 business days.


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Pittsburgh for Trayvon responds to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, 
Council Member Bill Peduto and Pittsburgh City Council

  Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Contact: Jenny Johnson, 412.879.0344

Pittsburgh for Trayvon recently sent the following statements to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Democratic Nominee Bill Peduto, and Pittsburgh City Council:

Dear Mayor Ravenstahl,

Your actions and statement have made it clear that you are more interested in deflecting responsibility than addressing the issues Pittsburgh for Trayvon have presented to you on Thursday, July 18, 2013. You claim to have taken action to “address many of the points raised,” however, you have taken no action to acknowledge the negative impact of institutional racism. If this is your impression, you either have not read or fully understood our demands.

The real threats of white supremacy, institutional oppression and racialized violence deeply affect the Black residents of Pittsburgh and you have failed to demonstrate any interest or leadership to address the social and economic conditions of 1 in 3 of your constituents.

If Pittsburgh wants to honor Trayvon Martin, address the injustices that resemble this tragedy and create a city that is worthy of the title, “America’s Most Livable City,” our Black residents must lead. Any formally elected officials who refuse to follow in support will be left behind.

You have shown yourself ineffective in serving the best interests of the Black community. Therefore, we will no longer be attempting to engage with you.

READ the long version of response to Mayor Ravenstahl HERE


Dear Council Member Peduto,

We appreciate your detailed response to the Pittsburgh for Trayvon demands. We also look forward to building a relationship with you, and as a part of that relationship holding you publicly accountable to meeting the demands necessary to ensure that the Black communities of Pittsburgh are “Most Livable”.

READ Peduto’s Response to our Demands HERE


Dear Council President Harris and Members of Pittsburgh City Council,

We extend our respect for your receptive actions and your offer to present a resolution written by our group. We have delivered our resolution to you and have received the notice of adopting the “Will of Council”, and we look forward to participating in public discourse soon. However, we have not received a collective response from you regarding the specific Pittsburgh for Trayvon demands. We remind you today that we expect a meaningful response to our demands and will continue, publicly, to seek this.

Read the Resolution we submitted to City Council HERE

The following “Will of Council” was adopted on Monday the 5th of August –

“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh condemns racism and prejudice in our society, and renews its commitment to combating these social ills, and ensuring justice and equality for all; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh does hereby request that the Administration make anti-racism and racial sensitivity training a high priority for all City of Pittsburgh employees.”

While most city officials have failed to directly respond to Pittsburgh for Trayvon’s list of demands, we have been working alongside and steadily gaining support from ally organizations. Action United of Southwest PA has endorsed our demands and we will be seeking endorsement from the Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP) on this upcoming Thursday, August 8. We will continue to mobilize support for demands from the Black communities of Pittsburgh.

As we continue to build alliances and strengthen our numbers, we are preparing to further our work by delivering our demands to liable agencies, institutions, organizations, complicit with systemic injustice and white supremacy in Pittsburgh.

In the near future, Pittsburgh for Trayvon will deliver a love letter to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)

Expect us.


Image by Alixa Garcia Inkwork by Amaryllis De Jesus Moleski Click Image for the Arise for Assata Project

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INCITE! supports the call to FREE MARISSA ALEXANDER!


Art by Melanie Cervantes at Dignidad Rebelde

INCITE! is a national activist organization of radical feminists of color advancing a movement to end violence against our communities through direct action, critical dialogue, and grassroots organizing. For more info, please visit: http://incite-national.org

INCITE! supports the call to FREE MARISSA ALEXANDER!

  • Because we support black women’s right to self defense and support the call for freedom of Patreese Johnson, the last incarcerated member of the New Jersey 7, and CeCe McDonald in Minneapolis, MN,
  • and because we condemn the FBI’s continued and escalated pursuit of Assata Shakur,
  • and because domestic violence survivors of color have been targets of law enforcement violence through lack of protection, mandatory arrest policies, and physical violence,
  • and because 90% of people in women’s prisons experience sexual and domestic violence prior to their incarceration and there is a crisis of sexual abuse within prisons, including juvenile and immigration detention centers,
  • and because collaboration programs between ICE and local police, such as Secure Communities (S-COMM), endanger the lives of undocumented immigrant survivors of violence,
  • and because law enforcement agencies routinely fail to respond to violence against Native women, allowing others to violate them with impunity,
  • and because of militarized law enforcement violence, children like Aiyana Jones do not have the right to safety in their own homes,
  • and because organizers had to sue Louisiana to remove black women and LGBT people charged with prostitution from the state’s sex offender registry,
  • and because stop-and-frisk against women of color, including trans women of color, is state-enforced sexual harassment,
  • and because doctors pressure and coerce inmates in California women’s prisons to get sterilized as a cost-cutting measure,
  • and because, in two out of three states, pregnant inmates can still be shackled to their hospital beds while giving birth,
  • and because the US is a prison nation that not only cages the most people in the world, but extends punishment and surveillance into the daily lives of low income women of color and our communities in the US and abroad,
  • and because we support organized resistance to the prison nation such as the Dream 9, the Dream Defenders sit-in, and the California Prisoner Hunger Strike, the largest prisoner hunger strike in the history of California,
  • and because we mourn the horrific murder of Trayvon Martin and send love, strength, and solidarity to his family and community,
  • and because we honor all of the women, queer, and trans people of color who have been attacked, brutalized, or murdered and who have been given no opportunity for redress or public recognition,
  • and because we call on our communities to support survivors of domestic and sexual violence and develop transformative community-based responses to violence so we aren’t forced to rely on an abusive criminal punishment system for safety and accountability…

Because of all of these reasons, INCITE! endorses the call to FREE MARISSA ALEXANDER from prison immediately. Marissa Alexander is a black mother of three and survivor of domestic violence from Jacksonville, FL. In August 2010, she fired a warning shot in the wall to defend herself from a life-threatening beating from her estranged husband. She had just given birth to a premature baby nine days before. Despite the fact that Marissa Alexander caused no injuries and has no previous criminal record, and despite the fact that Florida’s self-defense law includes the right to “Stand Your Ground,” she was subsequently arrested, prosecuted, and sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison. She plans to appeal. More details on her experience can be found here and this pdf download. The treatment of Marissa Alexander is a consequence of the growing crisis of prisons and policing in the US as well as a product of anti-black racism and sexism which drives individuals and institutions to punish black women when they defend themselves from violence. Her case is one of many that shows us how black women and other marginalized people are especially likely to be blamed and criminalized while trying to navigate and survive the conditions of violence in their lives. We call all members of anti-violence, reproductive justice, and anti-police/prison movements and our allies to also support the call to Free Marissa Alexander!


 to free Marissa Alexander!  Hold rallies, do a banner drop, have house parties, blog, write letters, organize workshops, make art, fundraise and donate, and sign this petition.  Visit http://freemarissanow.tumblr.com/action for more ideas.

Urge your campus, organization, faith community, collective, union, or business to ENDORSE the call to Free Marissa Alexander: tiny.cc/EndorseFreeMarissa

CONNECT with the global campaign to Free Marissa Now at freemarissanow.tumblr.com, facebook.com/FreeMarissaNow, and e-mail at FreeMarissaNow@gmail.com.

Thank you for all you do to create communities and movements based on radical freedom, mutual accountability, and passionate reciprocity!

LOCALLY in Pittsburgh Check out: The Women In Prison Defense Committee

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Our Response to Mayor Ravenstahl

Statement from Ravenstahl in response to Our Demands:

“Now is a time of intense reflection in America and I understand many of the emotions that have flooded our hearts and minds over the past week. Tragic gun violence, nationally or locally, is something that we are all too familiar with and we need to take this time to ask ourselves what we can do to stop this pain that plagues our communities.

To those who wish to demonstrate, I have heard and read your concerns. I wholeheartedly believe in the right to peaceful assembly, however that does not give anyone the right to damage private property and to frighten people’s young children.

I want to stress that we have done much to address many of the points raised — increased hiring opportunities for our residents, made college more attainable and affordable with the Pittsburgh Promise, invested millions of dollars and leveraged funding to revitalize our neighborhoods, and worked with law enforcement to decrease crime across the city. There is still so much more to be done. I ask the residents of our city to continue the dialogue and to work with us as we strive to ensure that Pittsburgh is America’s Most Livable city for all of our families.”

Pittsburgh for Trayvon Responds:

Dear Mayor Ravenstahl,

Your actions and statement have made it clear that you are more interested in deflecting responsibility than actually addressing the issues we have presented to you. Allegedly testing our letter for poison and giving false reports about the destruction of private property are all intentional distractions from the real threat: white supremacy, institutional oppression and racialized violence. These actions mirror the very dynamics that led to the murder of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman ─ painting the prey as predator, attempting to delegitimize us for simply wanting to feel safe and supported in our own communities.

Let us state the facts so that you and the mainstream local news media are clear. Pittsburgh for Trayvon organizers did not come to your home in the middle of the night – it was 7:00am. We did not destroy any of your property nor did we threaten you or your family’s lives. The only threat we pose lies within our deep passion for justice. Are you threatened by our declaration that Black lives are valuable and worthy of support and respect? Perhaps you are threatened by our demand that you fulfill your obligations as a public servant and address our demands for an equitable and livable city for all. Please forgive us for presuming that you, as a person who is still paid by public dollars, would be invested in equality and self-determination for your Black constituents. Instead, you have taken this opportunity to dismiss us and our outrage at the injustice that plagues this city as threatening to you. While your response is extremely disappointing, it comes as no surprise.

You claim to have taken action to “address many of the points raised.” If this is your impression, you either have not read or understood our demands. By “increased hiring opportunities,” are you referring to making backroom deals and giving tax breaks to corporations to occupy our neighborhoods, exploit our labor and turn our communities into shopping malls for wealthy Pittsburgh?

Do you expect us to be grateful for your empty Pittsburgh Promise when our children are displaced following the closing of their neighborhood school and shuffled around like chattel? Do you expect us to not demand the support needed to actually pursue the education our children desire and deserve?

Do you expect praise from us for “revitalizing” communities without the community’s consent or input? Because that is one of the very manifestations of white supremacy that we stand against, contributing to the experience of Black Pittsburghers being neglected and devalued. City government and the Urban Redevelopment Authority has never worked in the interest of Black communities and should be ashamed of the continually devastating effects of their reckless “development”.

It is this investment in property rather than the lives of your constituents that also contributes to the criminalization of people like Trayvon Martin, perceived as a threat to white-owned private property. While you are working with the Pittsburgh Police to “decrease crime”, who in city government is working to address racism and stop the criminalization, brutality and murder of Black people at the hands of “law enforcement” and the (in)justice system in Pittsburgh? Who is treating the emotional trauma Black people experience while being constantly watched, followed, profiled, hunted and dehumanized?

Your refusal to recognize the ineffectiveness of your policies and your choice to avoid us is yet another manifestation of white supremacy that we stand against – to continue to receive the pay and many benefits of being the mayor, yet ignore any call to action. Unsurprisingly, you have also failed to respond to our demands with any plan or commitment to action. You have clearly demonstrated your inability to meet the basic expectations of a Mayor – to respond to the needs of this city and fulfill the moral obligation to pursue racial justice as defined by those whose lives depend on it. If Pittsburgh wants to honor Trayvon Martin, address the injustices that resemble this tragedy and create a city that is worthy of the title as “America’s Most Livable City”, we must look to ourselves. We will no longer be attempting to engage with you.

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United Steelworkers Local 3657 Resolution Regarding Trayvon Martin Shooting

Posted on July 25, 2013 by steelworkersolidarity

Adopted: July 25, 2013

WHEREAS, USW Local 3657 is committed to promoting and advancing the cause of social and economic justice, and equality for everyone, and;

WHEREAS, USW Local Union 3657 is committed to the principles of non-violence as advocated for and demonstrated through the work of civil rights and labor leader A. Philip Randolph, and;

WHEREAS, Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African American teenager was racially profiled while walking down the street and unjustifiably killed, and;

WHEREAS, in 1955 Mamie Bradley Till, with the assistance of USW activist Rayfield Mooty and other labor leaders throughout the country, organized rallies and demonstrations to bring attention to the horrific murder of her son Emmett Till, demanding justice and igniting the spark to the American Civil Rights Movement, and;

WHEREAS, the protection of our most basic civil and human rights are sacred and when those rights are violated, the federal government must uphold them when state and local government will not;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we demand that Attorney General Eric Holder and the United States Justice Department conduct a thorough investigation into the violation of Trayvon Martin’s civil rights, and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we send this resolution to Attorney General Eric Holder and to the congressional representatives in the jurisdiction of the members of our local union, to our senators, to our members, community allies and partners asking for their immediate concurrence and action.

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