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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Posted By on Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 12:26 PM

Muriel Rukeyser was a political activist and important American poet, and one of her most notable works was The Book of the Dead. The 1938 poetry sequence was written in response to the Hawk's Nest Tunnel disaster in West Virginia, in which hundreds of miners died of silicosis.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Posted By on Tue, Jan 30, 2018 at 5:09 PM

click to enlarge Jewish activists and immigrant-rights advocates march on the South Side on Jan. 30 - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
CP photo by Ryan Deto
Jewish activists and immigrant-rights advocates march on the South Side on Jan. 30
Ever since President Donald Trump's administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last fall, the future for hundreds of thousands of immigrants has been in limbo. DACA recipients, also called Dreamers, are undocumented immigrants who were brought across the border as young children and have since been given work permits and temporary legal status in the U.S. In March, Dreamers will no longer be able to apply for DACA and could face deportation.

Over the years, DACA recipients have gathered allies amongst many liberal, and even some conservative, groups, because many Dreamers have known no other country than the U.S. And here in Pittsburgh, a group of Jewish activists is providing Dreamers a boost, too.

On Jan. 30, about 50 people gathered to protest in front of Pittsburgh’s U.S. Immigrant and Customs Enforcement office, on the South Side. The group was made up of members of Bend the Arc Pittsburgh, a progressive Jewish organization, as well as local Latino-advocacy groups Casa San José and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

Tammy Hepps, a Squirrel Hill resident and member of Bend the Arc, said during the protest that the action was meant as a reminder to Trump, in advance of his State of the Union address that same evening, to focus on keeping Americans united in their embrace of immigrants.

“Let our people stay,” said Hepps. “A diverse America is a better America.”

Hepps also said that Pittsburgh’s Jewish community stands in solidarity with undocumented immigrants because the Jewish people have been mistreated throughout history. She sees parallels between the Jewish experience and present-day treatment of undocumented immigrants.

“We don’t need a calendar to remind us what can happen when people choose to scapegoat other people and harden their hearts to those seeking refuge,” says Hepps, alluding to how the U.S. and other Western nations initially refused to take in Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.

During the rally, local rabbis read letters from local Dreamers, and the group sang Jewish worship songs and other protest songs.

Casa San José’s Monica Ruiz, who works with the undocumented community in Pittsburgh, told the crowd she was grateful for its support. She said many Dreamers she knows are anxious about their future, considering that “everything they know could go away in one tweet,” referencing Trump’s habit of issuing policy guidelines on Twitter.

Ruiz told the crowd that Pittsburgh’s DACA recipients have acted as model residents their whole lives and they deserve full, legal status in the U.S.

“These folks need a pathway to citizenship,” said Ruiz. “If not them, then who?”

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Posted By on Tue, Jan 30, 2018 at 2:13 PM

click to enlarge Noah Gundersen - PHOTO COURTESY OF CHARLIE SHUCK
Photo courtesy of Charlie Shuck
Noah Gundersen
What the future sounds like: a playlist featuring all of the artists in the music section of tomorrow's issue. In it, we're covering stories from Noah Gundersen, Oso Oso, Chris Farren, Blue Soul Ten and more.

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Monday, January 29, 2018

Posted By on Mon, Jan 29, 2018 at 5:43 PM

click to enlarge Mars Jackson
Mars Jackson

Each week we post a song from a local artist online for free. This week, it’s “Heart Dance,” by Mars Jackson, produced by NICE REC and Grand Ear. Mars Jackson’s delightfully dreamy R&B/pop track will have you moving your feet and falling in love on the dance floor. Stream or download “Heart Dance” for free below.

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Posted By on Mon, Jan 29, 2018 at 4:05 PM

click to enlarge Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner at today's press conference - CP PHOTO BY SABRINA BODON
CP photo by Sabrina Bodon
Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner at today's press conference
On Jan. 26, news broke that Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey (D-Scranton) planned to vote in favor of a federal bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. Earlier today, several groups organized at the Allegheny County Courthouse in Downtown Pittsburgh to call on Casey to change his mind.

In an effort between organizers of activism groups Tuesdays With Toomey, New Voices Pittsburgh and the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, the press conference called for Sen. Casey to “trust women and their doctors” by voting no on the federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that would ban abortions after 20 weeks.

Diane Ryan Katz, vice president for programs and public education with the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter of the ACLU, said that while the United States is a nation governed by laws, bills pertaining to women’s rights to abortion have no place.

“Anybody should be able to access abortion care whether at two weeks or 22 weeks, because the human body and the human experience does not follow these arbitrary legal timelines,” Katz said. “Congress, including Sen. Casey and the White House, have no place meddling in the confidential relationship we have with our trusted medical professionals.”

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Friday, January 26, 2018

Posted By on Fri, Jan 26, 2018 at 1:56 PM

A video shared online Friday afternoon by individuals and groups like Bike PGH, shows a cyclist being attacked by the driver of an SUV.

The motorist can be seen throwing the cyclist to the ground and then later picking up the bike and throwing that at the cyclist as well. The incident was recorded by another motorist who captured the motorist's license plate number, HYM 6986.

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 2:54 PM

click to enlarge A swastika carved into the snow on a car on Meyran Avenue, in Oakland, on Jan. 16 - PHOTO COURTESY OF FACEBOOK
Photo courtesy of Facebook
A swastika carved into the snow on a car on Meyran Avenue, in Oakland, on Jan. 16
On Jan. 16, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh was walking to work in Oakland around 6:45 a.m., when he came across a swastika drawn in the snow on a car on Meyran Avenue. The student, who is Jewish and gay, was offended by the swastika and cleared it off.

But as he continued to walk down Meyran, he spotted about 15-20 more swastikas. All were drawn into the snow on car windshields, on both sides of the avenue. That was when the student knew he had to do more than just brush off the swastikas. So, he took pictures of the swastikas and posted them on Facebook, along with a post saying that this behavior needs to stop and denouncing anyone for promoting Nazism and white supremacy. The post was shared more than 620 times. The student requested to remain anonymous, saying he fears retaliation from making the incident public.

“Someone took the time to stand there to make them perfectly visible,” said the student in an interview with Pittsburgh City Paper a week after the event. “I think it was somebody who wants to promote hate. I am Jewish and am I gay, that symbol triggers me.”

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Posted By on Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 2:03 PM

click to enlarge Sen. Wayne Fontana at today's press conference - CP PHOTO BY REBECCA ADDISON
CP Photo by Rebecca Addison
Sen. Wayne Fontana at today's press conference
When President Donald Trump evoked Pittsburgh's name last year, as part of his rationale for withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on climate change, many Pittsburghers weren't having it. In a tweet that has since gone viral, Mayor Bill Peduto reaffirmed Pittsburgh's commitment to the agreement, and environmental activists and organizations redoubled their efforts.

Months later, that fervor hasn't died down. At a press conference at the Allegheny County Courthouse earlier today, Pennsylvania legislators voiced their support for the ideals laid out in the Paris Agreement. To back it up, they've proposed legislation directing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to reduce statewide greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 percent by 2025.

"President Trump stepped backward with the Paris Accord on climate change, and now it's time for Pennsylvania to step to the forefront and become a leader," said Pa. Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), one of the bill's sponsors. "We have a responsibility to act. Today, Pennsylvania is fifth among U.S. states in terms of population, but we're third in carbon pollution."

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Posted By on Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 9:46 AM

Summit Against Racism organizer Tim Stevens at last year's event - CP PHOTO BY AARON WARNICK
CP photo by Aaron Warnick
Summit Against Racism organizer Tim Stevens at last year's event
“There’s no honor is racism.” “Justice is what love looks like in public.” “Support women in prison.”

These banners were among those that lined the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary all day Saturday at the 20th Summit Against Racism. Under the title, “The Struggle Continues: Healing Trauma, Building Community and Inspiring Action,” the Jan. 20 summit urged participants to engage in tough conversations and figure out what’s next in the struggle to overcome racism in America.

This year, 750 attended the summit, a multicultural initiative of the Black & White Reunion and hosted by the Metro-Urban Institute. Both organizations were formed to examine issues around race. Guests traveled from as far as Philadelphia to attend some of the more than 40 workshops designed to open dialogues on understanding trauma and the next steps in creating safe spaces.

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Posted By on Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Close on the heels of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, the Oakland neighborhood is offering its own week of dining deals, beginning Jan. 29. Lunch is the focus for this group of restaurants, and throughout the week, each participating venue is offering a special lunch for $6. Foodies will also have a chance to win free lunch for a month. Newcomers, like Stack'd, and college stalwarts, like Fuel & Fuddle, are among the choices for where to snag some grub. A wide range of foods from Indian, sushi, Thai and pizza are all available.

Find a complete list of participating restaurants and special menus here.

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