PPT Members got together for the first in-person celebration since the start of the pandemic – the result was a magic summer party
On August 10th, at the Bartlett Shelter in Schenley Park, PPT Members had reason to celebrate. It was the organization’s Summer Party and the first time that Members had gotten together in-person. Even though the pandemic pushed us to organize in different ways than we had ever before, PPT members have been busy winning campaigns and supporting our neighbors.
After spending more than 2 years confined to digital, socially-distant organizing, people were so excited to see one another in real life. DJ Frank brought the tunes. Our friend Kyna catered some incredible food. And members brought their dance moves and good vibes.
When we needed a break from the party, we took a moment to hear some speeches from members who have been leading campaigns in the last year.
First, PPT Members Barb Warwick and Saundra Cole spoke about the amazing win from earlier this year when we pushed Mayor Gainey to cancel the Mon Oakland Connector, and shift the funding to neighborhood needs like affordable housing and safe pedestrian infrastructure. This is still an ongoing and urgent battle – especially as a 6-year-old boy was struck and killed by a driver in the greater Hazelwood area at the end of July.
Next, PPT Board-Member and bus operator Sue Scanlon jumped on the mic to talk about the different ways that we have supported transit workers over the last year. We turned out and turned up for workers as they fought the agency’s decision to ban employees from wearing “Black Lives Matter” masks. The union sued the agency and won in court earlier this spring. When Port Authority implemented its vaccine mandate in March, it fired 100 workers for failure to comply. This decision decimated service quality for riders, and made it more unsafe for riders who were forced to crowd onto fewer buses. We continue to make this demand as we look to the decisions that other agencies have made to keep riders safe and keep service in tact with strict testing and masking requirements for workers.
Finally, PPT Board Member Dean Mougiannis put together a history of PPT and how we’ve grown since our founding in 2010-2012. This history and perspective was helpful for framing our current struggles in the longer context of the organization, and also the movement beyond PPT.
When the crew was ready to groove again, the music started up and the desserts came out! Hugs and fistbumps were given as we split up to share rides and wait for buses to get home.