📣 Sandra Oh stands up in Oakland
Plus, in some otter news...
Welcome to Tuesday!
Over the weekend, I was following coverage of the “Stop Asian Hate” rally in Oakland, which attracted more than 300 attendees. Among them was actress Sandra Oh, who is in Pittsburgh filming a Netflix series.
Oh, who is Korean-American/Canadian said this in her speech:
“For many of us in our community, this is the first time we are even able to voice our fear and our anger, and I really am so grateful for everyone willing to listen. I know many of us in our community are very scared, and I understand that. And one way to kind of go through and get through our fear is to reach out to our communities.”
I caught up with Kimberly Rooney 高小荣, who covered the protest for Pittsburgh City Paper, to hear what they were feeling during Saturday’s events. Read on for more.
In other news: Restaurant workers want their vaccines, a virtual Pittsburgh music event is returning this year, a highly anticipated Japanese bar opens Downtown, and a Pittsburgh photographer captures a rare sight on the river shore.
What Pittsburgh is talking about
4 things to know today
💉 Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Aid are calling for industry employees to be added to the state’s vaccine priority list. This comes after Gov. Tom Wolf announced the indoor capacity limit is being raised from 50% to 70% starting Sunday, April 4. (Pittsburgh City Paper)
🤒 Allegheny County may see a COVID-19 surge due to increased gatherings and activities, according to health department director Dr. Debra Bogen. This trend is concerning due to the virus variants that spread more efficiently. (90.5 WESA)
➡️ Related: The University of Pittsburgh said it has seen an 83% spike in new COVID-19 cases and four of its campuses are in a “guarded risk posture.” (TribLIVE)
🐝 Is it allergies or COVID-19? It’s finally spring, and that means many will experience symptoms resembling the virus. Excela Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Carol Fox has advice on how to tell the difference. (TribLIVE)
🎹 “Yinz Citizen” is drumming up another virtual concert in September. The first event, which was called “the ultimate Pittsburgh mixtape” raised $54,000 for 412 Food Rescue. Performers included Wiz Khalifa, Joe Grushecky, The Commonheart, and Musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The 2021 lineup will include acts from Swiss Army, Derek Woods Band, Pittsburgh-based soul singer Inez, and more. (TribLIVE)
4 things to make you smile
🎂 Did you sing happy birthday to your favorite neighbor? Mr. Rogers would have been 93 on Saturday, and Tom Bergeron hosted a virtual celebration dedicated to his wife Joanne Rogers, who died earlier this year at 92. You can still watch it here. ➡️ (Thank You, Mister Rogers on Youtube)
🍣 A long-awaited Japanese hand roll and gin bar is finally open Downtown. The restaurant, named gi-jin, is the newest eatery from Richard DeShantz and features dishes like poke, ahi tuna, and spicy rice cakes. DeShantz previously brought us Poulet Bleu, Coop de Ville, täkō, Butcher and the Rye, Meat & Potatoes, and Fish nor Fowl. (NEXTPittsburgh)
🌊 In otter news… check out this river critter sunbathing on the Monongahela River. The river otter population once plummeted due to pollution and over trapping, so their sightings are rare. However, Pennsylvania Game Commision officials say their populations have been growing throughout the state. (TribLIVE)
🎨 This beautiful watercolor of Pittsburgh’s rivers by Zanetta Illustration has me thinking back to a hilarious tweet I saw from Pittsburgh writer Virginia Montanez: “Pittsburghers point and say ‘barge’ the way others point and say ‘cow.’” Would you agree? (Zanetta Illustration on Instagram / @JanePitt on Twitter)
📰 Behind the byline
I caught up with Kimberly Rooney 高小荣, who covered the “Stop Asian Hate” protest for Pittsburgh City Paper, to hear what they were feeling during Saturday’s events.
“As a Chinese nonbinary person, attending the protest was overwhelming in a comforting way,” Kimberly said. “Getting to hear other Asian people sharing their grief and experiences, many of which resonated with my own, and seeing so many people attend the protest made me feel like part of a larger in-person Asian community for the first time since I came to Pittsburgh.”
Kimberly, 23, moved to Pittsburgh in 2015 to go to Pitt, and graduated with a bachelor of philosophy in english writing and communication rhetoric. Kimberly is no stranger to the issues at the heart of Saturday’s demonstration — their thesis was on racial identity formation in Chinese American adoptees.
“Seeing allies from so many other communities stand in solidarity with us also gave me hope for the fight against white supremacy, and I’m glad that many speakers at the protest talked about the intersectional identities of the Asian women who were killed,” Kimberly said. “This was the first time I’ve ever covered a protest, and seeing people’s responses to my coverage has been incredibly humbling.”
I wanted to talk to Kimberly because I was curious what formal journalistic reporting would emerge from the protest; it weighed heavily on my mind that some Black reporters were barred from covering protests in Pittsburgh last summer.
“People have complimented me for ‘objective’ coverage or for ‘not letting my personal feelings get in the way’ of my coverage, which has felt very loaded, because of course my gender and racial identities affected my coverage just as they affect white male journalists’ coverage,” Kimberly said. “But who I am has made me prioritize the humanity of those who were killed and the communities who are currently grieving, and I don’t think that makes me a worse or less objective journalist. I think journalists have a responsibility to care about the people we report on and the communities we engage with—and in many cases, are a part of.”
Thanks for listening!