Essential Pittsburgh: What Was Learned in Selma and How It Matters to Pittsburgh

Mar 9, 2015

This past weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March. Jen Saffron, director of communications for the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council took part in the events commemorating the civil rights event. She and Monica Cwyner, a social worker from Pittsburgh, recount their experiences at last weekend’s event and the issues it raises for them.

Monica emphasizes that there is only one race, the human race. 

"As long as we try to define it by color, or by sex and make the differences, why don't we start looking at the things we all want. We all want a safe place to live. We all want something to do...something that makes us get up, that we can feel good about." -Monica Cwyner

However, as a Caucasian American, Jen points out that it's important for her to be cognizant of white privilege. 

"It is crucial that people like myself, white privileged people-- I'm willing to say that-- are investigating what that privilege means, what that does to others, how much space we take up, and how we may be inflicting micro-agressions against people and we don't even know it because we're just prescribing to the dominant cultural values of our time." -Jen Saffron

Also in the program, after years of protests, Earth Quaker Action Team gets PNC Bank to divest funding for mountaintop removal mining. 

History Revisited (Starts at 0:00)

This past weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March. Jen Saffron, director of communications for the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council took part in the events commemorating the civil rights event. She and Monica Cwyner, a social worker from Pittsburgh, recount their experiences at last weekend’s event and the issues it raises.

Claiming Victory (Starts at 42:10)

Last week, PNC announced plans to scale back financing of companies involved with mountaintop removal mining. This decision was due in part to pressure from the Earth Quaker Action Team which, over the past five years, has led a campaign against PNC. Earth Quaker Action Team Board Chairman Eileen Flanagan reacts to this development.

To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here