Community News/COVID19 Information

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As we are all painfully aware, in the last three weeks our world has drastically changed. Most of us are confined to our homes practicing social distancing, a necessary but repugnant protocol opposite from our social values.
I fervently hope you and your loved ones have kept the virus at bay. I also hope you have access to food, shelter, and health care—knowing that millions here and everywhere in the world do not.
Despite anxiety, the fear of the unknown, and our anger with Capital and a criminally inept White House, we can still share our news and ideas. We can post them on the BHF website. We can conduct committee meetings online as well.
Charlie McCollester’s letter to the PG last Friday is a great example. He spotlighted the courage and sacrifice of our healthcare workers; our retail, food, and delivery service workers; and our first responders.
So I propose that you send me your suggested posts, links, and materials you want to share with BHF members and contacts. We’ll review them and do our best to get them up on the website.
– John Haer, President, Battle of Homestead Foundation

Use These Links For More Information

Digital Storytelling Premiere Goes On

The show will go on for 22 students in California University’s Dr. Christina Fisanick’s honors English class.

In partnership with the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Fisanick’s students have hosted a digital storytelling premiere either on campus or at local historical societies for the past seven years.

They focus on an interesting person, place or thing in the collections of local historical societies and museums.

As Cal U continues with remote operations, this spring’s end-of-the-semester digital storytelling premier will be broadcast live via Zoom at 7 p.m. April 28.

Small groups of students will present six videos focusing on the Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, in Avella, Pa.; the Duncan & Miller Glass Museum, in Washington, Pa.; and the Bethel Park, Fayette County, Elizabeth Township and Rostraver Township historical societies.

Charlie McCollester’s letter to the Post Gazette, March 27th

In the 1990s at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, I did extensive work on worker health and safety, including video and print training material on Pennsylvania’s Chemical Right to Know law for emergency responders and a range of workers from janitors to swimming pool guards. We worked closely with labor and management safety committees. Asked to give a keynote address to the 1994 National Safety Council Congress in San Diego, my passionate speech, Worker Participation: The Organizational Key to Safety, got a standing ovation. The summary remains relevant in this crisis:

“In addition to serious management commitment and involvement of trained professionals, the key to an effective safety program is worker participation. A committed workforce brings a workplace safety and health program to life. Workers provide an indispensable perspective to illuminate problems as well as devise real solutions. Furthermore, a basic component of meaningful participation is a representational structure that provides for free and effective involvement.”

Worker and union participation in developing behavioral and protective equipment protocols and operational standards is critical. Pittsburgh’s high unionization rates are an advantage if exercised. Food service and commercial workers, health care and sanitation workers, and transportation workers need a voice in shaping public interactions. They need protective equipment, respect and hazard pay. Pay workers to stay home — yes; but also compensate those on society’s front lines. The United Food and Commercial Workers represent many local grocery stores, the Teamsters represent sanitation workers, etc. Unions provide a protected context for forthright speech and meaningful participation.

In my late 70s, self-quarantined because of probable exposure, I walk my dog and am buoyed by the growing neighborliness — social solidarity with social distancing. We need to plant gardens, fix houses and maintain contact with friends and neighbors. We need social organization from the grassroots up!

Mount Washington

Grow Pittsburgh –

Some Pittsburgh-area school districts were prepared for unexpected shutdown

ANDREW GOLDSTEIN, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette” APR 6, 2020 “A couple of local districts have been able to make smooth transitions into remote learning because of steps they took in the weeks, months and even years before the novel coronavirus first arrived in the United States.

The Elizabeth-Forward School District in Allegheny County and the Fort Cherry School District in Washington County have continued instruction for their students while others have had to pause their lessons.

UPDATE: PA PRIMARY ELECTION MOVED TO JUNE 2ND DUE TO COVID-19. Registration deadline is now May 18th.

Lawrence McCullough: Anniversary of 15th Amendment & vigilance for voting rights

March 30, 2020 marked the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment’s addition to the U.S. Constitution. It’s the amendment that guaranteed the right of African American men to vote, declaring, “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.”

Coronavirus pandemic disrupts Appalachian Trail dreams

In this March 30, 2020, photo, Alexandra Eagle, left, and Jonathan Hall soak up their last moments hiking the Appalachian Trail in Cosby, Tenn. The couple is postponing the 2,190-mile hike until the coronavirus pandemic ends. (AP Photo/Sarah Blake Morgan)

COSBY, Tenn. (AP) — When Alexandra Eagle first mentioned plans to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alongside her new husband, her sister told her they’d either be divorced in five months or married forever.

Eagle, 33, and Jonathan Hall, 36, had just moved out of their Brooklyn apartment when they married on March 2, the third anniversary of the blind date that brought them together. They had talked about the Appalachian Trail in their first conversation and, when it came time to plan a honeymoon, they decided to make the hike.

“This was going to be an epic adventure,” Eagle told The Associated Press. Read More Here!