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January 22, 2021

Dear Mayor Peduto,

Whatever our race, background or zip code, we all want to move through our communities without fearing for our lives or our loved ones. We all want to be treated with respect and to feel safe in our city, but Black and brown people live under the threat of police violence everyday. Time and again, we have witnessed evidence of horrors committed against Black people by police across the country and right here in Pittsburgh. This past summer, Pittsburghers from every neighborhood came together to defend Black lives and make this a place where our voices are heard and every one of us can breathe.

On January 6, 2021, right-wing militants attacked our country, fueled by lies peddled by Trump and political leaders more committed to upholding their white supremacist grip on America than on upholding democracy itself. Just a few weeks after the attack, you, our self-described progressive Mayor, took to Twitter to equate Black Lives Matter protestors fighting for equity and justice both with right wing militants who attacked our country in the name of white supremacy, and with the European fascists of the early 20th century.

Two days after a Black legislator who has spent his life fighting for racial justice and police reform announced he is challenging your re-election, you equated those of us who spent months – or in some cases our lives – fighting for Black lives with those who consistently dehumanize us. 

Sadly, this is not the first time you’ve created false equivalency to defend your refusal to support demands for justice and equity. Despite a summer of protests and several local incidences of police violence, including against protestors themselves, under your 2021 Budget the Bureau of Police’s share of the operating budget would rise to its highest level in the last six years. The budget you propose is a direct reflection of your priorities.  It’s not just your Tweets that reflect what those priorities are. 

This city MUST address our racial and economic disparities. Instead of reacting with defensiveness and false equivalencies, we hope you will begin to show up in solidarity with Black Pittsburghers and the thousands of city residents from all walks of life who have taken a stand to make this a place of justice for all. 

If these last few years have taught us anything, it’s that none of us who claim to care about justice and equity can be silent. The more power we have, the more we must use it to make this a place where liberty and justice is for all of us. As Mayor, you have the power to offer solutions and resources that ensure Pittsburghers can all care for our families, set our kids up to thrive, and have full and healthy futures. City residents don’t need a Mayor who trolls constituents on Twitter; we need a Mayor willing to use the tools of the office to fight for Black lives and an end to white supremacy.  

We need a mayor committed to fighting for a better future for everyone. Pittsburghers deserve no less. 

Sincerely,

Jennifer Rafanan Kennedy
Executive Director
Pittsburgh United 

Carol Hardeman
Executive Director
Hill District Consensus Group

Joshua Friedman
Leader
Bend the Arc Jewish Action: Pittsburgh

Monica Ruiz
Executive Director
Casa San José

Brandi Fisher
Executive Director
Alliance for Police Accountability  

Shanon Hughes
Founder
The Wellness Collective | The Narrative Justice | Self Care Housekeeping

Carl Redwood

Project Director
Pittsburgh Black Worker Center

Rev. Dr. Vincent Kolb
Pastor
Sixth Presbyterian Church

Terri Minor Spencer
President
West End P.O.W.E.R. 

Christine Stone
Resident, Point Breeze

Randall Taylor
Penn Plaza

Neashia Johnson
Program Coordinator
Hill District Consensus Group

Mayor Nickole Nesby
Pittsburghers for Public Transit | Take Action Mon Valley

Kadida Kenner
Harrisburg,PA

Dena Stanley
Executive Director
TransYouniting

Rev. Paul Dordal
Director
Christian Alliance For Peace

Jay Ting Walker
Chair
Green Party of Allegheny County

Jess Ansel
Pittsburgh, PA

Benjamin Gutschow
Community Organizer for Social and Civic Engagement
Casa San José

Ken Regal
Executive Director
Just Harvest: A Center for Action Against Hunger

Jalina McClarin
Pittsburgh, PA

Masoud Sayles
Pittsburgh, PA

Jamil Bey
President & CEO
UrbanKind Institute

Ciora Thomas
Executive Director
SisTers Pittsburgh

Diana Polson
Pittsburgh, PA

Juan Garrett
Executive Director
Riverside Center for Innovation

Nthando Thandiwe
Budget and Policy
Economic Justice Circle

Alan Lewandowski
Board Secretary
Let’s Get Free! Women and Trans Prisoner Defense Committee

Dominic Denuzzio
Party for Socialism and Liberation

Kaity Baril
ANSWER Coalition

Gabriel McMorland
Executive Director
The Thomas Merton Center

Carmen Alexander 
Deputy Director
New Voices For Reproductive Justice

Fawn Walker Montgomery
Co Founder and Executive Director
Take Action Mon Valley

Verónica Lozada-Jenkins
Community Organizer
Casa San José

Daniel Sun
Bloomfield, PA

Julie Mallis
City Director
Repair the World – Pittsburgh

Laura Chu Wiens
Executive Director
Pittsburghers for Public Transit