Essential Pittsburgh
2:58 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Meet etta cetera, the Woman Who Married Pittsburgh


"Today I promise, in order to form a more loving union, I will fight for justice, I will work toward peace, I will mobilize in defense of the commons, I will promote the general welfare of all life, and weave the braids of liberation to my movement for the future generations " - etta cetera

When 90.5 WESA Weekend Host Liz Reid found out she'd be filling in as host of Essential Pittsburgh, she took to her Facebook page and asked followers who they'd like to hear interviewed on the show.

Overwhelmingly, people wanted to hear a conversation with etta cetera, a prison justice activist and performance "heartist" who married the city of Pittsburgh earlier this summer. Etta joins us to talk about why she married the city and how it ties in with her advocacy and prison justice work.

"So what does this mean that I have married Pittsburgh? My small friend Hailea asked me – What you gonna do? You gonna kiss a tree?

This does not mean I will live in Pittsburgh forever. And it doesn’t mean I won’t. What this means is that wherever I go Pittsburgh will forever live inside of me. From this day forward I am not only from Pittsburgh but I am of Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh that stands before me. The Pittsburgh that lives in the sweet smell of summer perched in an overgrown stairwell. The Pittsburgh that freezes their butts off for fair wages in the ice cold streets of winter. The Pittsburgh that gathers on industrial ruins at the river's edge to share music and stories. The Pittsburgh who spends the night in the hallway of the Mayor's office because he refused to look us in the eye when we had something to say. The Pittsburgh whose hawks greet me good morning and train whistles rock me to sleep. I love you Pittsburgh. Thank you for meeting me where I am at. I will forever know where I am coming from."

Check out some of etta's wedding photos in the slide show above and read the whole transcript of her wedding ceremony.