Unity Rally set for Tuesday
In 1997, southwestern Pennsylvania was a battle ground for Ku Klux Klan rallies. In April of that year, a rally was scheduled in Market Square in Pittsburgh, after a Supreme Court ruled that a permit had to be given to the group to hold the rally.
This decision paved the way for a similar rally to be held at Greensburg's Courthouse Square on Aug. 14.
Residents of Westmoreland County were enraged. Jeannette resident Carlotta Paige, then president of the Greensburg-Jeannette NAACP worked together with Bonnie Lewis, director of the YWCA, and Rabbi Sara Perman, of Congregation Emanu-El in Greensburg to form the Central Westmoreland Unity Coalition which became part of the PA Network of Unity Coalitions.
On Aug. 14, 1997, two days before the planned Ku Klux Klan Rally at Courthouse Square in Greensburg, the Central Westmoreland Unity Coalition held its first Unity Rally. The response was overwhelming as more than 500 people attended the rally not only to protest the Klan's message to Westmoreland County, but also to show unity and support of civil liberties.
The Unity Rally has continued every year since and after the second year, moved to its current location.
This year's rally is Oct. 15, from 6-8 p.m. at St. Clair Park in Greensburg. At 8 p.m. participants will march in a candlelight vigil over to Courthouse Square. The theme this year is “Harmony Creates Unity” and there will be music performed by Sean McGowan and the Griffin Band.
The Unity Coalition invites residents from all central Westmoreland County communities to attend this activity.
The late Jeff Holmes of Jeannette was on the planning committee for many years and Jeannette resident Marilyn Lewis, is on this year's planning committee.
“What I love the most about the Unity Rally is the inclusion of people of all ages — pre-school to senior citizens — in the planning. We have art work from pre-school and middle school children. College students take part in the programs and preparation. All ages, ethnicities, and social classes have participated in the programs each year. Although the theme may change each year, the focus remains upon unity,” said Lewis.
The Central Westmoreland County Unity Coalition encourages all residents of Jeannette and central Westmoreland County to attend the event.
For information or questions, contact the Greensburg-Jeannette Branch of the NAACP at 724-838-8146.
Margie Stanislaw is a contributing writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Raible takes on new role at McKee K-8
- Sacred Heart continues Jubilee celebrations
- Jeannette resident spent years organizing city’s annual Community Days festival
- Bushy Run woman’s gardening a positive impact at home, throughout community
- More than a dozen roads in Jeannette paving program