Earth Quaker Action Team

Monica Cwyner

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. 

For the fourth consecutive year, the Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) will protest PNC’s financing of mountaintop removal mining.

Outside of PNC headquarters, underneath the 2,380-square-foot Green Wall, EQAT members and activists announced their plan to attend the bank’s annual shareholders’ meeting, which has been moved to Tampa.

Last year, the EQAT disrupted the shareholders’ meeting by asking each PNC board member to publicly state his or her position on mountaintop removal mining. The meeting lasted 20 minutes.

The Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) returned to PNC branches Monday to again protest the bank’s investments in mountaintop removal mining.

Last April EQAT protested at a PNC shareholder meeting in Pittsburgh to the point that the company’s chairman and CEO had to shut down the gathering.

Mountaintop mining involves removing mountaintops to expose coal, excavating the upper and lower layers of coal with remains placed in piles, and then re-grading and re-vegetating the site.

Tom Prigg / The Allegheny Front

A protest by a group know best for its pacifist views disrupted a PNC shareholder meeting in Pittsburgh Tuesday to the point that the company’s chairman and CEO had to shut down the gathering. 

For three years the Earth Quaker Action Team has been protesting the financial institution’s involvement in the practice of collecting coal through a process known as mountaintop removal.