Transit Justice Year-end Victory Party! with Awards + Photos!

Image Description: PPT Executive Director, Laura Chu Wiens, presents an award to Lorena Pena!

Sweet victory! It was an all-out celebration at our year-end victoy party last week.

YET AGAIN! We were overjoyed to close out another year of organizing with a tremendous victory party with all of our members. This one was probably our biggest yet! with more than 100 people coming from all parts of the county. The blow-out gathering of PPT Member-love was certainly a fitting finale to our year.

It has been a difficult year for the PPT family, as many of our members struggled with health issues, and we lost two core members to complications. So we started our party with their spirits centered in our hearts, holding a moment of silence for PPT Members Lisa Gonzalez and Jon Robison and a moment of solidarity with PPT Members Paul O’Hanlon and Molly Nichols. These people have all shaped our work in their own ways and built our family. Each of their legacies will always be a part of our organizing.

We then transitioned on to a recap of our year! There was A LOT of work done by PPT Members in 2023 and we have victories to show for it. For one, we are still celebrating the election of a champion for public transit as the next Allegheny County Executive and eagerly awaiting her inauguration on January 2nd. The work that PPT did during the Primary and General election cycles in collaboration with transit workers paid off big time. Sara brings both a big vision and a core belief that transit riders and workers need to play a huge part in shaping our transit system.

We also made some more big steps forward on the other campaign goals of our 2023 Strategic Plan. On Fair Fares, we were able to continue organizing to enroll 14,000 people into the Department of Human Services Discount Fares Pilot Program, that tested the impact of free fares for Allegheny County families who receive SNAP/EBT benefits. We were also able to secure the indefinite extension of the pilot program, giving these families support as we push to make a fully free and permanent program for all. Big victories on the other areas of that plan will be pushed on an upcoming blog!

Member Voting Continued on the 2024 Strategic Plan! Don’t forget to vote before January 1st!

image description: a visual rendition of our 2024 Strategic Plan takes the form of a tree. With 5 core campaigns spread out as the trunk, the roots, and the branches. The Organizational Strength goals are at the trunk of the tree. The Expand Reliable Service, Secure Equitable Infrastructure, Win Affordable Fares and Fund Transit for All PA! goals are the branches. And the #VoteTransit at all levels campaign is at the roots.

Our 2024 Strategic Plan is called We Ride Together! And it has been crafted over the last 5 months with input from more than 150 PPT Members at 3 big events. Its been edited and workshopped by our staff and board and the final draft is up for a ratification vote before January 1st.

If you’re an active PPT Member, you’re eligible to vote on this plan! See more of the plan’s details and cast our ballot below.

Thanks to all the members, staff, and volunteers who made this year a success. Also, thanks to County Executive-Elect Sara Innamorato and Councilwoman Barb Warwick for stopping by!

We need to give so many thanks to all of the members who came to celebrate. Thank you for donating your time and resources and believing in the work that we’re doing together. Thank you to all of the volunteers who helped to make the event a success, and helped us with all of our phone banks to invite people!

Thanks to PRT Bus Operator Khristian Sheard for providing the catering (you can book her by sending an email or Facebook Message) and to DJ Frank Nitte for spinning A+ tunes all night (send DJ Frank an email or check out his facebook to book him).

In another 2023 first, we gave 20 awards to 20 different and utterly incredible PPT Members! All of our members play a vital role in moving our campaigns forward, but these folks went above and beyond this past year. Below are the names and awards that each received!

Contact NameAward Name
Gabriel McMorlandBadass Bass Builder Who AMPS Us Up
Bill McDowellSidewalk Superhero
Damitra “Penny” HarrisCapitol Steps Speech Slayer
Gina AndersonDeploys Planner Powers for Good
Teaira CollinsJust Fabulous. Wherever she is, you wanna be
Fred MergnerBest Hidden Historian
Mona MezcarRogue-ish, Most Chaotic Good
Rahul AmruthapuriDynamo Data Digging Dad
Amy ZaissPRT Board-Dogger Award
Spike LewisTransit for All PA! One Man Army
Brian HatgalakasPhonebank Phenom
Andrew HusseinServing the Inside Scoop since PRT was PAT
Jessica BennerCartographer and Scribe Most Wise
Clair HopperChief Strategist of Strategy
Lorena PenaLa mera, mera guerrera de transito
Morgan CikowskiB(adass) R(ebel) of T(ransit)
Antonia GuzmanCampeona de Tarifas Libres Para Todas
Ross NicoteroThe People’s Transit Boss
Sue ScanlonPPT’s Drive or Die

These victories are only won when we have folks invested in this movement. Become a PPT member today and join our fight for transportation that all can access.

AND OF COURSE, HERE ARE SOME PHOTOS! See the full album here on Flickr.

image description: below are photos from PPT’s Victory Party & Year-End Celebration. There are lots of people in these shots. Photos of colorful food. Colorful outfits. Many smiles. Dancing. Wonderful transit-themed artwork. Feather boas, and crowns. Delicious food, balloons, shiny tinsel wall decorations, and all-round fun times with loving community.

PPT is successful because we organize with love and vision. We organize as a family. Be a new member of our family, and join as a PPT Member today!