Friday, January 28, 2011

PA Progressives Plan for New Battles

Pennsylvania Progressive Summit 2011:

Rebuilding Alliances, Shaping New Messages

Keynote speakers, Leo Gerard and Jess Jackson

By Carl Davidson

Beaver County Blue

Nearly 500 progressive and liberal organizers gathered at Pittsburgh’s Sheraton Station Square over the sunny but bitterly cold weekend of Jan. 22-23 to drawn out the lessons of their setbacks in the 2010 elections and shape a new course for the future.

Under the theme of ‘Taking Pennsylvania Forward,’ the two-day meeting was mainly pulled together by four ‘Organizing Sponsors’—Keystone Progress, a popular online communications hub for the state; SEIU, representing some 100,000 PA workers; the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a coalition between the United Steelworkers and advocates for new manufacturing enterprises; and Democracy for America, the outgrowth of the Howard Dean campaign in the Democratic Party.

A large number of unions other than the USW and SEIU also took part, as well as many local political, civil rights, women’s rights, youth and environmental groups from around the state. Beaver County was represented by a delegation from the 4th CD Progressive Democrats of America.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Aliquippa’s Harsh Realities Featured in Story of the Hope and Vision of its Athletes


Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis visiting his hometown, Aliquippa, Pa.

The Heart Of Football Beats In Aliquippa

Over five decades of economic decline and racial conflict, a Western Pennsylvania mill town has found unity and hope on the football field

By S.L. Price

Sports llustrated’s ‘Vault’

Jan 31, 2011 Issue - The fear came for Willie Walker that November. He was not expecting it. Evening had dropped early and hard, as it does in Western Pennsylvania in the fall, but these were streets he had known forever. Hours had passed since the 2004 regional championship game had ended down in Pittsburgh; the adrenaline and bravado on the ride home had long since burned off, replaced by grief, then mere regret. They had lost. The Aliquippa High football team, for all its history of success, had been beaten. Now, in the backseat, Walker felt a numbness settling in. Losing happens. You move on. You start thinking about what's next.

Walker was a senior. Just seven months until graduation, and he'd be able to say it: He had survived. The town hadn't killed, hadn't crippled, hadn't defeated him, though God knows it had tried. His life had been a cliché of criminal pathology: father long dead, mother struggling with crack addiction, days of hunger, corners promising casual violence. Aliquippa's streets are, as one of Walker's coaches put it, "a spiderweb" capable of ensnaring the most innocent, and though Walker never lost sight of his prize—college somewhere, anywhere—he was hardly innocent. No, for a time he had leaped into the web, daring it to grab hold.

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