The 2019 Summit

Dear Justice Seeker,

Voter suppression. Family separation. State violence. These are just a few of the symptoms of the root causes of oppression within our nation, our cities, our neighborhoods. Now, more than ever, we need folks who are committed to justice. This is why the Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit (formerly the Summit Against Racism) is revamping its efforts to create community in the midst of struggle. We have a new name, new logo and more importantly a revitalized perspective on what racial justice looks like in Pittsburgh.

Our intention behind the new format is to create more opportunities that bring the community together in conversation around healing the division in our country in imaginative new ways. Our objective is for these discussions to translate into sustainable collective action which joins and expands existing movement work within the city of Pittsburgh. This year, we are calling those who are ready to move beyond racism in theory and who are ready to do the personal anti-racism work necessary for systemic change.

Our theme for the 2019 PRJS is Moving Forward Together: An Honest Confrontation and Resource for a Just Community. We face deep divisions across our country, region, city, and world. We, the people must step up to reckon with the continued violence on people across ideological divides to reconcile the injustices and to begin to repair our frayed social fabric.

The PRJS topic for this year is Reckoning, Reconciliation, and Repair. In order to pursue justice for all, we must fully acknowledge the ways white supremacy oppresses Black and Indigenous people of color, actively seek ways to equitably re-distribute power and resources, and envision a way forward which unapologetically centers marginalized folks. We will explore and re-imagine this process within the realms of education, criminal justice, healthcare, finance, and other societal institutions.

For those of you that attended SAR in the past, you will see that we have adopted a new format for our 21st year. The opening ceremony will take place on January 25, 2019, at Union Project, 801 N Negley Ave, from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. The full-day Summit follows on January 26, 2019, at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm. Doors open at 7:30 am. A final call to action will be made at our closing Organizing Dance Party that evening at Union Project, 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm.

PRJS is committed to holding a space which builds community by actively dismantling the structures that gain power through the systems of oppression that marginalize folks. We unapologetically center folks who are black and brown, trans, queer, gender non-conforming, youth, immigrant and people with disabilities.

For more information, please contact us at
[email protected]

In solidarity,
The 21st Annual Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit

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The Day of the Summit

We will gather in the Chapel auditorium (#6 on the map) the morning of January 26th to gather our bodies and minds in preparation for the day ahead.  After a brief welcome, we will join with a set of expert panelists in a discussion.  The whole of the Summit will gather multiple times during the day for panel discussions.  After each panel discussion, we will separate into breakout sessions to continue the discussion and build realistic further actions.  The themes are centered on Reckoning, Reconciliation, and Repair.

During the lunch session, you will have the option of joining an affinity group or view Enough is ENOUGH: The Death of Jonny Gammage.

Enough is ENOUGH: The Death of Jonny Gammage was produced by local filmmaker Billy Jackson on the law enforcement and criminal justice system in Pittsburgh and throughout the United States.

Affinity groups are a small group of folks who are linked by a common purpose, ideology, or interest.  Affinity groups are organized in a non­hierarchical and autonomous way where there are no leaders and everyone shares in the responsibility. We have five affinity groups scheduled during lunch: 1)Police violence & healing; 2)Housing; 3)Kota (UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People); 4)Ableism; 5) LGBTQA+, Queerness.  Please check the program book or addendum in your folder for specific locations.

We are also accepting donations to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, so don’t forget a couple non-perishable items.

Summit Overview

Check-in & Continental Breakfast (in Chapel Foyer)7:30 am
Welcome/Overview8:30 am
Panel 1
Race & Immigration
9:00 – 10:15 am
Breakout Sessions 1
(details below)
10:25 – 11:25 am
Documentary: Smoke City with Filmmaker, Cami Thomas10:25 - 11:25 am
Documentary: Enough is ENOUGH with Filmmaker, Billy Jackson11:30 am - 12:40 pm
Affinity Groups
11:30 – 12:45 pm
Panel 2
Law & Disorder
12:55 – 2:10 pm
Breakout Sessions 2
(details below)
2:20 – 3:20 pm
Documentary: GENTRIFICATION IS REAL: Discussing "East of Liberty" 13 Years Later with Filmmaker, Chris Ivey2:20 - 3:20 pm
Documentary: In Their Footsteps: An American Muslim Civil Rights Journey with Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)2:20 - 3:20 pm
Panel 3
Rewriting the Narrative, Reimagining the Future
3:30 – 4:45 pm
Breakout Sessions 3
(details below)
4:55 – 5:55 pm

During the Summit… … …

Jonny Gammage Remembrance Table

This year, the 21st Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit will include a Jonny Gammage Table of Remembrance to acknowledge the racial violence in this country.

Twenty-four years ago, Jonny Gammage was stopped by police of the Pittsburgh suburbs of Brentwood, Whitehall, and Baldwin of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Jonny Gammage was murdered by these police officers. An autopsy showed that Jonny Gammage suffocated when unnecessary pressure was applied to his neck and back. The officers involved in his murder were not convicted.

The women, men, and children of African ancestry who have lost their lives to crimes of racial violence are to be commemorated at the Summit.  

The numbers of people who have been injured, harmed or killed are staggering and ongoing.  As we acknowledge Johnny Gammage, we will display the names of and send light to these individuals who unjustly suffered.  

Remembrance cards will be available for participants to add the names of people who lost their lives due to racial violence — they are gone far too soon.

Oppression Timeline Walk

Did you lose your home in the housing crisis?

Do you know someone who lost their children due to a loss in income because they were laid off?

How about someone who was never found guilty, but who spent years in jail because they could not meet a $300 bail?

A trans person who was murdered because of their gender identity?

The Oppression Timeline Walk is a visual and interactive experience inviting participants to share their stories of systemic oppression based on the intersecting nature of race, class, gender, sexuality, physical/mental ability, religion, and any other identity markers. The time period begins with the death of Jonny Gammage — October 12, 1995, and continues through the present. The intention of the project is for participants to engage with each other.

Wellness Clinics

Reparations Clinic + Every Body Clinic 

In collaboration with the Iroquois Confederacy, Rest is Radical, and the Three Rivers Free Clinic for the People; the Reparations Clinic is a community-based project that brings individuals together from both oppressed and privileged communities in a radical form of healing that allows ally communities to offer material reparations to their oppressed counterparts in a way that heals their own bodies.

Individuals from privileged communities pay for bodywork -massage, reiki, or the like and the fee goes to subsidize bodywork services for individuals from oppressed communities. The physical benefits are experienced by all. For some, the experience of self-care is new, or at least rare.

Those who understand the nature of generational trauma and are sensitive to the historic injustices visited upon black and indigenous people of color are given an opportunity to make direct and personal acts of reparations, however symbolic.

Please see the program book for specific locations for each clinic.

Breakout Sessions

Locations and full descriptions of Breakout Sessions will be in your program book.

Breakout Session I - Race & Immigration
From Prison to Freedom: Building Pathways Homeetta cetera
The Afro-Indigenous Brazilian TraditionsGiselle Fernandes
Denial is the Way of Whiteness Kevin Mosley
Racial Justice and our Immigrant CommunitiesLaura Perkins
Improv for Social JusticeOlivia Hartle
Asian Americans & Building Intersectional SolidaritySatvika Neti
Reclaiming and Reconnecting with our CommunitiesLyle Wood
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Presents: Race, Reading, and Youth Zia Meyer
Race and Intimate Partner ViolenceJudy Hale Reed
Start Snitching: A Discussion On Interrupting The Stop Snitching Police CultureFawn Walker
Adverse Childhood Experiences Workshop (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color folks only; youth-oriented)Sharise Nance
Race and Immigration Panel: DebriefingEmiola Jay Oriola
Breakout Session II - Law & Disorder
2gether We Can!Claudia Vidal
Fighting Antisemitism Means Fighting White Nationalism: Decolonizing at the IntersectionDiana Clarke
Law Enforcement, Social Work & Ministry: How can they work together?Jay Arthur Gilmer
A Public Forum (Performance) on Racism and White Supremacy in the Education SystemLiz Foster-Shaner
Growing through Pain to Reach Your PurposeLovie Jackson-Foster
From Beyond BarsFariha Huriya
Improv for Social JusticeOlivia Hartle
Expunging a Criminal Charge in Allegheny CountyElliot Howsie
Herbal Medicine Workshop (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color folks only)Dana Harris-Yates
Law and Disorder Panel: DebriefingEmiola Jay Oriola
Breakout Session III - Rewriting the Narrative, Reimagining the Future
Building an Intersectional Movement for Housing Justice in our RegionJackie Smith
Liberation. Genealogy: Setting Black Family History FreeJoe Kennedy
Racial Wealth Inequality in the United StatesJulián Nelson
Stronger&Smarter TogetherKaty DeMent
Make Her Voice HeardRev. Oghene'tega Swann
Theater of the Oppressed and Recovering Movement SpacesReg Flowers
Neither Black nor White: Living Beyond the Binaryanupama jain
Reparations and Black Self-DeterminationKhalid Raheem
Not My Idea—Children’s Book About Undoing White SupremacyAnastasia Higginbotham
Understanding Disability JusticeJess Benham
Rewriting the Narrative, Reimagining the Future: DebriefingEmiola Jay Oriola
We Got Us: Building Collective Power to Stop the Pushout of Black Girls and Femmes (Black girls and femmes only)Sarah Brown, Tia Torres

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Closing Ceremony – Organizing Dance Party

After a full day of learning and work, we’ll come together to organize as a community. Join Summit attendees at the after Summit Organizing Dance Party at Union Project (801 N. Negley) on Saturday, January 26th from 7:30 – 10:30 pm to sign up for opportunities to further your commitment to justice. If you can’t make the Summit, but would like to come to the organizing dance party don’t forget to register first.

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This year will feature three-panel discussions providing an opportunity for all attendees to listen, engage, and learn in the same space together. After each panel, participants will have the opportunity to attend breakout sessions to continue the learning. We can’t wait to share a healing, learning, intentional space with you.

Panel 1 – Race & Immigration


Panel 2 – Law & Disorder

Panel 3 – Rewriting the Narrative, Reimagining the Future
(3:30 pm – 4:45 pm)

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Smoke City

In Their Footsteps:
An American Muslim Civil Rights Journey

East of Liberty

Enough is ENOUGH

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An Inclusive Summit

PRJS strives to be accessible and inclusive for all attendees.  The large number of people at this event may bring about challenges for some of us.  Please keep in mind that some disabilities and differences are less visible than others, and be responsive to any needs that may arise.

All presentation rooms will designate limited spaces with blue paper, in the front row, for people with accessibility needs.  If you would benefit from one of these seats please inform the volunteer monitor so that they can be of assistance.  All others are asked to respect these designations, as well as to keep aisles clear so that people can move about freely.  When navigating public spaces, leave plenty of room for people to pass and enter safely.

PTS designates bathrooms for Men and Women; however, PRJS has labeled several bathrooms will be labeled as ‘all gender’.  Please use the restroom of your choosing, and allow others to do the same.

When encountering people who are different from you:

  • Listen and be open-minded.   Embrace this opportunity to understand a new perspective and make connections, even when it is uncomfortable.
  • Recognize that we come to this gathering at different places on our journeys.  When someone makes a mistake that causes harm, strive to be both forthright and compassionate in your response.
  • Allow people to self-identify.  If you are unsure about someone’s gender pronoun or racial identifier, simply ask their preference rather than making assumptions.

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Community Resource Room

We welcome all organizers, organizations, groups, and individuals interested in tabling in a shared community resource room during the 21st Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit. Additionally, Black and Indigenous folks are invited to vend at the event to sell their wares for profit.

The Community Resource Room is a dedicated space during the Summit for attendees to visit, meet organizers, and shop with local artisans. We want to create an exchange that is based in social justice practice, such as worker cooperatives, and to also create an opportunity for attendees to meet other small local businesses that are grounded in core justice values. Tabling for organizers in the Community Resource Room requires two-staff members per table and each member must register here at the $35 per person rate and complete the form below.

For the second consecutive year, we are offering a limited opportunity for vending for Black and Indigenous vendors. Also requiring two staff members per table, to sell your wares, your team is required to make a donation of 10-15% of your profits from the day of the Summit. You must also register here. Please complete the form below. This is an opportunity for Black and Indigenous local artisans, as well as individuals and organizations that serve Black and Indigenous people of color. If you are in the latter category please email [email protected] for approval. Proceeds generated at this event are to support these specific communities. All products must be original, handcrafted wares. 

If you and your organization wish to table or vend at the Summit, please share how you or your group connect to racial justice and this year’s Summit theme, Moving Forward: An Honest Conversation and Resource for an Anti-Racist Community.

Deadline to submit is Wednesday, January 23, 2019. Space fills up quickly, put in your request early! 

Below are some commonly asked questions.

Will I have to bring my own table?

Due to an overwhelming interest in the community resource room last year, we are encouraging groups to share half-tables. If possible, we ask you to bring a table to share with another organization. Whether a half table is provided to you or you bring your own, you will have to dress the table yourself, so please come prepared with any tablecloths you would like to use.

What if I want to leave information on an unattended table?

We encourage community resource organizations to experience the Summit as participants and attend workshops. If you prefer to just have your information available for attendees to pick up, there will be space for you to leave materials on a shared, unattended, resource table.

How can I secure a space?

Thank you for your interest in representing your organization at the Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit. Please provide us with some information about your tabling needs below. Complete this form to sign up. 

I Want to Table

  • List first and last names of any additional representatives who will attend the Summit . (Please note that organizations must register 2 or more members of their group, and the table must be staffed at all times.)
  • Card tables and tables 4' or smaller will not have to share; tables 4'1 and larger will.
  • Tabling for organizers in the Community Resource Room requires two-staff members per table and each member must register at the $35 per person rate. For the second consecutive year, we are offering a limited opportunity for vending for Black and Indigenous vendors. Also requiring two staff members per table, to sell your wares, your team is required to make a donation of 10-15% of your profits from the day of the Summit at the end of the Summit. This is an opportunity for local artisans. All products must be original, handcrafted wares. Mass produced items will not be eligible.

    Please describe how you or your group connect to racial justice and this year's Summit theme, Moving Forward Together: An Honest Confrontation and Resource for an Anti-Racist Community.
  • Interested in moving from talk to action? Organize at the After Summit Dance Party!

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