We’re combining this month’s staff updates and my November director’s letter into one short message of gratitude, a reflection of how busy we’ve been in this time of transition. We’re in the midst of hiring a full-time technology and operations coordinator and new student workers, and I’m impressed by our staff’s flexibility, stepping into new roles from tech support to publishing the NewPeople newspaper. I’m personally grateful to both our previous student worker and also our outgoing tech/ops coordinator Kim Dinh for the training and documentation they provided to make this possible. In recent weeks, we’ve hosted our annual membership meeting, coordinated multiple repairs on our 5123 Penn Avenue Thrifty building, prepared for the upcoming election of our board of directors, started the NewPeople Fellowship for writers of color, and made plans to celebrate the work of 2018 Thomas Merton Awardee ArchCity Defenders. Krystle Knight also organized residents to testify at the October board meeting of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, calling for debt forgiveness and a moratorium on water shutoffs. She also phone banked TMC members making sure we turned out to support the striking UPMC workers. Despite a cataclysmic rainstorm, I heard later from somebody who was inside the US Steel tower that the workers’ rally could be heard inside the upper floors. I’m grateful to all our members, volunteers, and NewPeople readers. I would love to see readers respond to the intentional questions we discussed in small groups at our annual membership meeting. Feel free to respond by writing a piece for the NewPeople or by emailing me directly at Gabriel@ thomasmertoncenter.org.
•What first drew you to the TMC? Thinking back however long you’ve been affiliated with the TMC, what are some favorite memories of either actions or campaigns the TMC was involved in that you were most excited about?
•How can we make our social justice movements center on and include more women, queer, transgender, and people of color?
•We’re facing major global threats: climate change, nuclear war, increasingly high-tech global militarization, etc: what are the historic and cultural forces at the root of these problems?
•What issues are most directly impacting you and people you know?
Main photo: TMC Annual Membership Meeting. Photo credit: (Joyce Rothermel.)
Second photo to left: The job involved deep excavation. (Neil Cosgrove)
Third photo to right: Work by Armor Plumbing from October 15 to 19 replaced this clearly damaged sewer line behind the East End Community Thrift Store (“Thrifty”), owned and operated by the Thomas Merton Center. The sewer line replacement was made possible through the generosity of those many who contributed to the drive that funded the work. (Neil Cosgrove)
(TMC newspaper VOL. 48 No. 9 November 2018. All rights reserved)