Unlike past years, the Black and White Reunion’s 19th Annual Summit Against Racism had to compete with several other events organized by activists seeking to get out their message in the wake of President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
It still drew more than 750 people.
Members of the coalition seeking the city’s help in preventing the continued displacement of Black residents from the Penn Plaza Apartments—asking for the property’s seizure through eminent domain—marched from the apartments to the summit at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Coincidentally, the Seminary’s Dean of Students, Rev. John Welch, was in nearby Homewood announcing his campaign to unseat Mayor Bill Peduto that same day. And all of this occurred as an “Our Feminism Must Be Intersectional” rally and march, as well as a separate, permitted “Sister March for Pittsburgh” was held Downtown. With more than 2,000 people attending the unpermitted rally and march, as a diverse set of speakers covered topics ranging from battling for LGBTQ and disabled rights to health care and environmental justice. But there was crossover—Rev. Welch attended before making his announcement.
The summit—originally conceived in the wake of Jonny Gammage’s death at the hands of police in 1995.
“At the time it created a lot of tension between Black and White communities,” said founder Tim Stevens. ‘This weekend we had 350 people scheduled, and even with the other things going on, we’re still having a great turnout.”