The Pittsburgh chapter of UNDM led a rally at the home of the city’s mayor, Bill Peduto. Despite the fact that evictions have been taking place all over Pittsburgh since the beginning of the pandemic, Peduto and the city council have remained silent on this issue. Not to mention the wave of evictions that will occur in the coming months with the end of the eviction moratorium, or the insurmountable amount of back rent that is owed by tenants in the city. This is why we took our demands to his door!
The rally was quick and bold. Protesters left stakes with the heads of various city politicians who play key roles in the displacement of working class tenants across Pittsburgh, as well as signs which read “No Evictions! No Back Rent! We Won’t Pay a Single Cent!” in Bill Peduto’s yard.
(From left to right as pictured) Administrative Judge Christine Ward who ruled to evict the tenants of Valmar Gardens this past fall, claiming it was for their own “dignity”. City council member Daniel Lavelle who is the owner of a real estate company and major player in the gentrification of the Hill District. Slumlord Lara Washington, the owner of AHRCO-an affordable housing company- who received $746,000 from the pandemic payroll protection program, none of which went towards the improvement of tenants’ living conditions. City Council member and Reverend Ricky Burgess who is shamelessly leading the gentrification of Homewood. Last, is Bill Peduto himself.
A speech was given exposing these politicians and the way they use evictions as a tool to fuel gentrification and city development, with no regard for the working class tenants they displace. The main demands were risen: 1. An end to rent collection 2. Waive all back rent, and to meet the demands the tenants of Pittsburgh should join anti-eviction squads. Protesters chanted “Tenants of the ‘burgh unite! Let them know we’re here to fight!”