Ending racism, police misconduct and racial profiling and promoting voting rights and equality in the workplace are the lofty goals of the Black and White Reunion
's annual Summit Against Racism
, which will hold its 15th gathering Jan. 26 at East Liberty Presbyterian Church.
Bob Maddock, one of the organizers, is philosophical about the need still to work toward such goals, a decade and a half after the group began in response to the deadly encounter of black motorist Jonny Gammage with local police.
"What can I say about relationships" with police, he offers. "They're certainly not as good as they could be. We are some of the people putting pressure on the police to be more open." Group members have been trying to view Pittsburgh's police contract to determine what barriers to openness remain in the agreement, for instance, and have filed a pending Freedom of Information Act to try to retrieve it.
Other groups will speak about election protection and national attempts to disenfranchise African Americans and other voters. "That's really going to be a continuing issue," Maddock believes. Representatives from Decarcerate PA will press for an end to prison-building in the state, while WWHAT'S UP Pittsburgh (Whites Working and Hoping to Abolish Total Supremacy, Undermining Privilege) will discuss racism in the workplace.
Gentrification of neighborhoods will be the subject of Carl Redwood, Hill District organizer, and others. The event also features remarks by founder Tim Stevens and a brief documentary on long-time civil rights activist Sarah B. Campbell. The Summit awards a Jonny Gammage Memorial Scholarship each year.
Want to find other ways to get active on these issues locally? Connect with the Black Political Empowerment Project.
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Bob Maddock, Black and White Reunion