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‘Vote Art’ Urges Community Participation

Take Action encourages residents to get informed, vote

By Vickie Babyak
The Tube City Almanac
October 30, 2023
Posted in: Politics & Elections

Mon Valley community leaders who participated in Friday’s “Vote Art” event included Judith Moore, founder of Saving Our Sisters Now; Luther Sewell, founder and publisher of Talk Magazine; Roxanne Sewell, president and editor of Talk Magazine; Demetrius Baldwin, community activist; at Fawn Walker-Montgomery of Take Action Advocacy Group, and, kneeling, Rikell Ford of Kindred C.U.L.T.U.R.E. (Submitted photo courtesy Take Action Advocacy Group)

A group of Mon Valley community leaders on Friday urged residents to get out and vote in the Nov. 7 municipal elections.

The program, called “Vote Art,” was held at The Spot on 8th, an event center in Homestead.

Partners included Fawn Walker-Montgomery, chief executive officer and co-founder of Take Action Mon Valley/Take Action Advocacy Group; Demetrius Baldwin of Mon Valley Peoples Action; Rikell Ford of Kindred C.U.L.T.U.R.E; Judith Moore, chief executive officer and founder of Sisters Saving Ourselves; and Luther and Roxanne Sewell, founders of Talk Magazine, Pennsylvania’s only statewide publication focused on Black and African American news and culture.

“I feel like there’s a lot of power in this room (and) knowledge in this room, and I was moved by the things I heard,” Baldwin said.

Vote Art guests painted canvases while they gained valuable information about elections and voting. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

Participants relaxed and enjoyed themselves while they painted their voting visions with artist Clarissa Shockley, proprietor of Paint at Your Own Risk. Light refreshments were served, prizes were given out and a discussion took place on the importance of Black people voting.

People from McKeesport, Duquesne, Homestead, Clairton, Swissvale, Braddock and Pittsburgh attended.

George Montgomery of Take Action and community activist Demetrius Baldwin moderated the discussion about the right to vote, how to get educated about candidates and issues, and to choose candidates that align with their beliefs. Some of the organizers answered participants’ questions.

On Nov. 7, voters will choose candidates for local offices, including mayors in some communities, borough and city council members, township commissioners and supervisors, and school board members.

In addition, Allegheny County residents will elect a new county executive and choose a district attorney.

During the discussion, one community resident expressed she didn’t vote because she wasn't sure who to vote for and didn’t have time to research a candidate.

A panel member said some people want to vote and others say they have to vote, but look at how many people fought for the right. He felt it was his collective duty and that local elections can be more important than presidential elections.

“There are a number of websites to look up information and find out what the candidates stand for,” Walker-Montgomery said. “The League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh and PA Voter Services both have information on local candidates and voting.”

Originally published October 30, 2023.

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