The Human Rights of Spring
honoring justice workers past and present
dress metallic. think springs
Expect -A giant group photo, A hypnotic choir, A jubilant marching band, FISTacular floats, speeches by Polish Hill’s most eccentric wise man tENTATIVELY, a. cONVENIENCE and City Council Candidate La’Tasha D. Mayes.
Saturday May 2nd
Gather at Noon on Lower Melwood. Push off at 1.
by the Flippin’ Circus
There will be an Immigrants Rights March on Friday May 1st Meeting at 5 pm at the foot of the Smithfield Bridge on Southside. Pushes off at 6pm marching to Market Square. Check Out PA Action for more events
AmeriKKKa: A Post Racial Society, is Alaric X’s first art exhibit. Using photography, paintings, prints, clothing, and an interactive installation, Alaric X has created an exhibition that focuses on making commentary on both race relations and the black experience in AmeriKKKa. The exhibit is up for an entire month and will be home to several events throughout the month of May.
Friday May 1st 6th Annual Mayday Variety Show Polish Hill. Doors at 8pm Show at 8:30
Saturday, May 2 – 6th Annual Polish HIll Parade – Gather at noon – push off at 1pm There is acrobatics after the parade this year!
Saturday May 2nd – Pittsburgh Pounders Baseball Game and Cook Out! 2:30 Polish Hill Field.
In Regards to the Polish Hill Mayday Parade,
This letter is written with respect & acknowledgment of criticism, comments and opinions that have been shared on Facebook in last week regarding the Polish Hill Mayday Parade. We offer the following words to be in dialogue with you. This was written collectively by the founding & current organizers and some regular attendees and we received still more advice from friends.
This parade was conceptualized 6 years ago by Heidi Tucker, Caleb Gamble and etta cetera, 3 Polish Hill residents, as a neighborhood organizing strategy. An idea behind the founding of this event was to embrace the act of a public parade for its power and malleability as a ritual for those who wish to express themselves within its framework. More simply, to creatively communicate in public alongside those willing to participate. This parade embraces the turning of spring, the workers holiday and shared public space. There is beauty & magic in celebrating in the streets, this is something people of all cultures have been doing for thousands of years.
Mayday continues to be organized by a small group of people who, in addition to their day jobs, are musicians, artists and activists. We don’t have a particular political alignment as a group. However, we do see the Polish Hill parade as a political act. We don’t ask permission from the city for our parade but we do ask permission from our neighbors. Since the first parade, and each subsequent year, we have delivered flyers door to door along the parade route, and sometimes the whole neighborhood.
This event is still young, we have tried to create a tradition which can become more inclusive and accessible to people who want to participate. In effort to be in solidarity with other activities surrounding Mayday – organizers, attendees and the Mayday Marching Band, continue to plan around, promote and attend the Immigrants Rights March and other events scheduled during the Mayday week.
This year, though unsuccessful, we made a special attempt to engage a local senior center and are looking forward to trying again next year. Because our group is so small sometimes there is a lack of transparency regarding event logistics, which is never positive. For example, there is a van and cars that follow the parade if you are not up for walking the whole way but we are not super good at advertising that.
We recognize in America, white people have forcefully taken space, continue to take up a lot of space, and have more access to public space. The people who participate in this event are a mostly white group of people – however, we are not monolithic. We recognize the fact that we organize this parade without fear of arrest or criminalization. We recognize that resources are easier to come by for white people, be that time, money, or space and this factors into organizing.
During this year’s parade, two women had their picture taken dressed as birch trees, later it was posted on social media and it was perceived as black face. If people see black face it is real. It’s unfortunate, hurtful, and disrespectful. And the photos were definitely read that way. One of the costumed women, who posted the picture, immediately took it off social media, ashamed and horrified. She reached out and called the person who brought it to her attention.
In person, the costumes were not perceived as black face. The organizers do not condone black face ever and would never have permitted this behavior if we were aware that this was the perception. We sincerely apologize for hurt & pain people have experienced because of this incident.
If you believe our country is racist, which we do, then yes all white dominated spaces are inherently racist.
We are choked by our own limitations set by white ancestors, geography, segregation, capitalism, colonial imperialism, the ableist cis –hetero patriarchy etc. We acknowledge these limitations. We strive to make anyone who participates in this event comfortable. We fear that it would be tokenizing and inauthentic to recruit people of color or more specifically Black people to come to this event, without their own curiosity and desire to attend. While we do make small attempts to get the word out beyond the neighborhood and end up attracting people from the rest of the city, Polish Hill is where we spend most of our energy.
This communication is an attempt at transparency and accountability in living within many dynamic overlapping circles of Pittsburgh.
Thank you for expanding the conversation. We look forward to continuing to grow in our understanding. We extend an invitation to anyone who wants to participate in the parade, whether it be organizing, playing in the band, making signs or making floats to connect with us. If you are interested in building on this conversation please contact etta at writealetta(at)gmail.com or Caleb candide39(at)hotmail.com
With sincere solidarity and care,
This years organizing crew:
etta cetera, KT Tierney, Ben Grubb, Caleb Gamble, Heidi Tucker
with several parade participants and advice from friends.