Hundreds Spend Inauguration Day Vowing To Protect Civil Rights

Jan 20, 2017

Hundreds gathered in the Hill District Friday afternoon and pledged to uphold civil rights in Pittsburgh at the People’s Inauguration.

Representatives from social justice groups, including Fight for Fifteen, Planned Parenthood and the Black Lives Matters movement addressed the crowd about the importance of inclusiveness going into the administration of President Donald Trump.

Jessica Semler, public affairs director with Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Pennsylvania, said local action will be necessary under the new president.

“We know that we cannot depend on people in Washington to look out for women’s health, to look out for workers, to look out for our families. We have to do that,” Semler said. “We need to advocate for ourselves and each other.”

The rally’s location, Freedom Corner, is where more than 2,000 Pittsburghers once departed the city to attend the 1963 historic March on Washington. One Pennsylvania’s Glenn Grayson Jr. told the crowd that attacks against civil rights, especially against people of color, are nothing new.

“Immigration rights were well under attack well before November 8th, education rights were under attack well before November 8th, women’s rights were under attack well before November 8th,” Grayson said. “And black lives have been under attack since the day we arrived in this country.”

Carl Redwood, executive director of the Hill District Consensus Group, said the city needs to implement protections for black families, especially for affordable housing.

“The rent is too damn high, the wages are too damn low,” he said.

Activist Tresa Murphy-Green encouraged attendees to focus on improving the community instead of getting caught up with national politics.

“For people that live in the community, you can’t pay Trump no attention,” Murphy-Green said. “Resistance is in our blood.”

Organizers also promoted Saturday’s intersectional feminism march in East Liberty.