Faith, labor, and pro-immigrant groups call for removal of Colcom Foundation's name from holiday market | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Faith, labor, and pro-immigrant groups call for removal of Colcom Foundation's name from holiday market

The coalition condemns the anti-immigrant donations of Colcom and wants local groups to reject its funding.

click to enlarge Colcom stage at Peoples Gas Holiday Market - CP PHOTO: RYAN DETO
CP photo: Ryan Deto
Colcom stage at Peoples Gas Holiday Market
Pittsburgh's Colcom Foundation and other local groups who accept its funding have recently come under criticism for Colcom's large donations to anti-immigrant groups, including two designated hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The loudest criticism has been made surrounding the Peoples Gas Holiday Market, which is sponsored by the Colcom Foundation and displays the foundation's name prominently throughout the market.

Immigrant-rights activist Monica Ruiz of Brookline's Casa San Jose pointed out the hypocrisy of an anti-immigrant sponsor for a Christmas market.

"Did they forget that Jesus was an immigrant? It’s Christmas," said Ruiz. "This is not the type of message to send to the city."

Now, Casa San Jose and 12 other local organizations are calling for Colcom's name to be removed from the holiday market, as well as calling for the market's organizer, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, to return the money received from Colcom.

"Should the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership accept money from a racist, anti-immigrant foundation just because it also sponsors parks, museums, and Santa’s House?" reads a statement from the groups. "If we just ignore it, how are we not complicit? Join us in demanding justice for immigrants."

The organizations include faith groups, labor coalitions, pro-immigrant advocates, and veterans. Listed here: Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Bend the Arc: Pittsburgh, Casa San Jose, IfNotNow Pittsburgh, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Mayday Marching Band, New Sanctuary Movement Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Immigration & Citizenship Coalition, Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, Pittsburgh United, Steel City Organizing for Radical Community Health, Thomas Merton Center, and Veterans for Peace.

The coalition started a letter campaign in hopes to pressure PDP to take action against Colcom. So far they have sent more than 500 letters with a goal of sending 800. In a statement sent to City Paper last week, PDP did not indicate making any changes to their relationship with Colcom.

In addition to the campaign, many of the groups are holding a protest tonight in front of Pittsburgh's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in South Side. They are critical of President Donald Trump's anti-immigrant policies. The protest starts at 6 p.m. at 3000 Sidney St., South Side. 

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