Today, the mills and factories that once lined the city's three glorious rivers are gone and some say Pittsburgh's best days are behind us. I say Pittsburgh's best days could be right around the corner. I believe that we have the same type of opportunity our fore-bearers did in the 1860s and 1870s. Instead of investing in heavy rail, coal and building polluting factories, we can create a green industrial revolution that will invest in a new economy that will provide opportunity for all people, while protecting our fragile environment.
Pittsburgh appears to be once again at the crossroads of history. Leaders and citizens from all walks of life are plugging in to the green jobs movement. Yesterday, as part of Green For All's Green Jobs Day of Action hundreds of Pittsburghers participated in the day long series of activities. The day began with speakers, including nationally renowned poet Vanessa German addressing a diverse crowd of grassroots activists, environmentalists, high school students and concerned citizens. We then boarded buses headed for The Healcrest Urban Farm and G-Tech's Larimer Site for hands-on activities. In the afternoon, a rally was held with a number of community leaders and elected officials including City Councilmembers Bill Peduto & Patrick Dowd, State Representatives Joe Preston & Chelsa Wagner and City Controller Michael Lamb. It is refreshing to know we have elected officials who we can count on as allies in this effort to bring green jobs to Pittsburgh.
Don't get it twisted, the politicians weren't the only folks in the house, luminaries such as Christiane D of Soma Mestizo, Paradise Gray from X-Clan/1 Hood and DJ Supa C came through to support the cause. Paradise even got on the mic to hype up the crowd to the chorus of "I'm Ready", as Supa C dropped several classic instrumentals turing Penn Avenue in East Liberty into a makeshift amphitheater. Afterwards I was talking to my homie Franchise, local MC and community organizer. He said to me,
"I listened to speeches and read a lot of material that was being handed out. I never knew the situation was so serious with the environment. At the same time, I didn't know about these solar panels and these green jobs. If we could bring green jobs to the hood, we could deal with the violence and poverty, by giving cats an opportunity to get off the block".
Shouts to everyone who participated in Pittsburgh's Green Jobs Day of Action! Job Well Done.