Hate groups helped storm the Capitol. These groups have been active in Pennsylvania.

Editor’s note: This guide includes hate group symbols and related information that are disturbing and offensive. On Jan. 6, rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol to interfere with the presidential election won by Joe Biden. The attack on democracy was striking for countless reasons — chief among them the presence of white supremacist imagery, such as bigoted references to the Holocaust. Several members of hate groups participated in the riot, including the Proud Boys, a violent white supremacist group that has gained traction in the last few years.

The Capitol riot exposed U.S. extremism on a broad scale. Pittsburgh is no stranger to white supremacist activity.

When Jasiri X moved from the south side of Chicago to Monroeville as a teen in the 1980s, he discovered “in-your-face racism” for the first time. On his first trip to Monroeville Mall, someone called him a racial slur. 

“People refer to Pittsburgh as the Mississippi of the North,” said Jasiri X, founder of the prominent social justice activist group 1Hood in Pittsburgh. “I would tell people that would come here that Pittsburgh is an overtly racist place. It’s not subtly racist. It’s not like, ‘We’re gonna hide it.’ It’s pretty overtly racist.” 

Following the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan.

The pandemic cost public transit dearly. Will Pittsburgh-area riders return in 2021?

Sewickley resident Libby Powers relies on Port Authority transit because of a disability that prevents her from driving. Typically, she takes public transit to her research job at the University of Pittsburgh five days a week, but, in March, she and her coworkers switched to telework due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, she uses transit to get around and certainly noticed the reduction in service the Port Authority implemented toward the beginning of the pandemic. “Being a person with a disability, public transit has become a way of life for me,” said 33-year-old Powers. “It helps me to get from point A to B; it takes me to places I want to go explore, like in the city; and it helps me be as social and as involved in my own community as I want to be.” 

About three months ago, her employer started having staff come to work once a week and telework the rest of the week.

Millions of dollars in housing aid have been directed by state and local programs to stave off the threat of evictions and foreclosures. Some neighborhood advocates worry it won't be enough. (Photo by Jay Manning)

‘A patchwork of safety nets’ presents challenges for Pittsburghers facing housing insecurity

When Autumn Young-Dorsett lost her job as a life skills assistant teacher due to the COVID-19 pandemic, paying the bills became a lot more difficult. Her employer continued to pay her until mid-June, at which point she had to file for unemployment. Mortgage payments presented the biggest burden, but other expenses also added up. “The car payment arrangement, car insurance, life insurance. Everything has just gone back,” Young-Dorsett said. “It feels like I’m going backwards.”

She’s been getting guidance from the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, a community group that in 2012 sold her the home she currently lives in with her children.

July 4 rally Downtown calls for changes to Pennsylvania law to combat police brutality

Hundreds of protestors marched for more than three hours Saturday from Market Square and then across Downtown to advocate for policy changes following long-held frustration with police brutality. 

“I know today is around 95 degrees, but I’m gonna still need you to come with the same energy as always,” 18-year-old organizer Nick Anglin said at the beginning of the event. 

The protest, part of Black Young, & Educated’s “Civil Saturdays” series that began in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, brought together a multi-racial group of people who marched and chanted from 3 p.m. into the evening. Protestors primarily urged changing Section 508 of the Pennsylvania statutes, which details when a police officer can use force. Activists argue the language is overly broad, allowing police to carelessly use force. 

The demonstration engendered plenty of emotion throughout the day, and some speakers teared up. After an especially emotional eight minute and 46 second moment of silence to remember Floyd toward the end of the day, one activist suggested the crowd destress by screaming as loudly as possible. Multiple long, guttural screams ensued. 

The group regularly stopped to allow for speakers to give remarks and for individuals to give out water, sports drinks and snacks. 

Some protestors noted the date: Independence Day. 

“I want to thank you all for coming out today because you realize that July 4th is not a day to celebrate until all of us have freedom,” Anglin said. 

Dena Stanley, head of local activist group Trans YOUniting, spoke about the need for diversity in Black Lives Matter protests. 

“This is what I like to see,” Stanley said.

Teen-led demonstration outside the City-County Building turns into a march through downtown Pittsburgh

About 200 people took to the street Saturday afternoon in front of the City-County Building Downtown for a protest organized by Black, Young and Educated that turned into a march by the evening. 

The event continued the daily string of protests that has gone on for three weeks in Pittsburgh following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, while in police custody in Minneapolis. 

This demonstration is part of the Civil Saturday series of protests from BYE, an activist group made up of local teenagers. Much of the day’s demonstration focused on Black transgender people and Black intersectionality. 

Nick Anglin, 18, read the names of every Black trans woman killed in 2020, followed by a 16-minute moment of silence — one minute for each name read. 

Local activist and rapper Jasiri X spoke at the event, focusing on reading, explaining and rallying the crowd behind the list of 12 demands The Allegheny County Black Activist/Organizer Collective presented to Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald this week; the list includes calls to defund police, disband private police departments and end cash bail. Jasiri X referenced the City-County Building lighting up green, red and yellow in honor of Juneteenth when he explained he wants to see concrete policy change. 

“We’ve had enough symbols,” he said. “We need some substance.”

Much of the event was spent doing organized chants. A few times, those with megaphones would instruct each side of the crowd to chant separate, related phrases.