Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Script of PIIN's Presentation

Youth & Recreation Task Force

Joint presentation by Kellie Ware, Mark Rautekus and David Dunn to a full church and the first public action ever hosted by the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network. 

I am Kellie Ware of New Life A.M.E. Church in Homewood and co-chair of PIIN's Youth and Recreation task force.

I graduated from Peabody, and am a freshman at Pitt.

I'm 18, and I vote.

Problems loom for our city's youth.

Undirected energy and too much idle time allows kids to
get hooked on drugs,
become gang members and
end up on the coroner's table.

Our youth do NOT have sufficient access to web-connected computers.

The growing digital divide is deep and wide. The lacking technology and literacy in the neighborhoods threatens to bury our youth!

Kids without computers are headed toward the junk heap of life.

For our youth to be competitive for decent jobs, we need access to technology?

PIIN do you hear me? (repeat)


Frisbee Rant (Spoken by Mark Rauterkus)

(Left hand prop.)
This is a Frisbee, a flying disk.

(Right hand prop.)
This, my friends of faith, is a CD-ROM. Insert this disk into a computer with a CD BURNER and store digital information.

(Left hand)
A Frisbee is a low-tech toy.

(Right hand)
Burning a CD represents technology and a key to the future. Entire libraries, such as with Project Gutenburg e-text, can be stored here. Tens-of-thousands of volumes can fit ranging from the classics with Plato -- or the Bible.

Spreadsheets, databases, image manipulation tools, animations, and email are represented with technology. Open source software, programming, languages, text-to-voice, music and editors SWIRL here -- power-ing creativity.

Being digital, it can snap to you. Or to Shenango Valley, or California. And, all at the same time.

My name is Mark Rauterkus. I’m the volunteer webmaster for my family’s place of worship. Our UU Church has an online home at Sunnyhill.Org.

When I was a college freshman, like Kellie is today, only the computer science majors touched computers. They used PUNCH Cards, not CDs. Our kids today can't use the same excuse.

The Mayor wants to spend $100-thousand-dollars on the building of three ULTIMATE Frisbee fields.

The money is for bulldozing and landscaping in Highland Park.

To the Mayor, Ultimate Frisbee is hip and cool. Professional young people enjoy it.

Say with me, "We want technology."
Let's take less than half of that amount and INSIST that the next generation of high-tech citizens are grown in literate ways within our neighborhoods.

We want technology.
The Mayor should NOT spend precious resources on Ultimate Frisbee FIELDS.

We want technology.
Our most valued resource is our children. And they are hanging out right now at Citipark Rec Centers all around this town. They need this investment so they can be competitive and successful for the rest of their lives.

We want technology.

If our youth get computers now, the Pittsburgh Police may not need their computers in the future.

We want technology.

Sadly, the Administration has a Youth Policy that amounts to Truancy Abatement rather than Technology Empowerment.

We want technology.

The focus of the Mayor's Office is on "sweeping kids off the streets" rather than "keeping them online and building excellence and scholarship."

The Solution (Spoken by David Dunn.)
We, as faith-based communities, need to take action for the youth like Kellie and the younger people she represents.

A few years ago, the city's leadership had a vision for establishing fully functional computer rooms for public use in many of the city's Recreation Centers.

A great idea! We love this idea!

Some of the Rec Centers have been remodeled with NICE computer rooms, with good lighting, new carpeting and quality furniture and swivel chairs.

Yet today, the computers are missing and the few that were installed are broken. Plus, connections to the internet never occured.

For two years these beautiful rooms have been missing the computer hardware and net connections to be of any value.

We have pictures on our web site!

Her future should not be as empty as these rooms.

Will Mayor Tom Murphy please come to the microphone?

Swing Section (optional -- spoken by David Dunn)

Pittsburgh Public Schools is installing on-line access for parents. Parents will be able to use an internet-connected computer to see their student's schedules, homework assignments, attendance, quiz-and-test scores and announcements.

Many parents do not have computers in the home. Many parents have work schedules that prevents regular access to their child's teachers.

Rec center computers will serve the youth by giving parents access to their child's schoolwork and attendance on a day-to-day basis.

This quote comes from the Mayor's Youth Policy (1999, Errika Fearby Jones):

"... those who have studied the root causes of juvenile crime report unanimously that poor school attendance is the first step into the spiral that leads many young people into the criminal justice system." We agree with that!

The mission of PIIN's Youth Rec Task Force goes beyond giving youth "something to do." Let's empower parents to better keep the kids out of trouble, out of the criminal justice system, out of the truancy offices.

Installing computers can give parents tools to hold their children

Mr. Elbert Yaworsky, Chief Technology Officer of Pittsburgh Public Schools is in the house tonight.

Earlier today Mr. Yaworsky informed us that:

Pittsburgh Public Schools would be happy to supply all the necessary equipment for this demand. The issues of 32 computers, the networking, and the installation are solved.

High School students from Peabody’s I.T. Essensials Course will do the installs. This course is offered at four schools.

Getting computers into Rec Centers is an effort matches the Digital Divide efforts of the Pgh Public Schools.

As of today, all the technology required -- except the physical wires from the telephone pole, is going to be covered -- at no charge to the city.
Let’s have a great PIIN Welcome and to Mr. Yaworsky.

Is all of this accurate Mr. Yaworsky?

In prior positions, Mr.Yaworsky worked at Quaker Valley School District. There, all the students have laptop computers.

Prior, he was responsible for wiring all the libraries throughout the Carnegie System.

He knows just what we hope to accomplish. And, he knows just how to do it. His consulting is going to be very valuable to all the kids as well as citizens thourghout Pittsburgh -- and the region.

(spoken by Kellie Ware)

Deputy mayor Tom Cox, do you speak for the mayor?

Deputy Mayor Cox, please answer "Yes" or "No" to this reasonable, anticipated question.

By September 1, 2003, will you fulfill the city's vision of establishing fully functional computer rooms with each to have at least 4 web-connected computers for $40,000 in the following Recreation Centers:
West Penn,
Brookline, AND
THREE other sites to be determined in dialogue with PIIN's Youth and Recreation Task Force?

That is EIGHT Locations (and Citiparks has 17 Rec Centers) with four or more computers in each location. We are asking for at least 32 computers.

YES or NO please.


Thank you Mr. Cox (or Mayor Murphy),

you now have 30 seconds to speak about how you will address this issue.


Shake hands and photo opportunity.

On behalf of this city's youth, we thank you for this investment in our future.

If NO: (spoken by Kellie)

The Hill House computer center is private and going "wireless." Meanwhile, the City Rec Centers can NOT even get a wire.

PLEASE sit down.

If NO AUTHORITY: (Spoken by Dave Dunn)

Deputy Mayor Tom Cox: Are you saying that you do not speak for the Mayor?

Are you saying that you have no authority in this matter? Why are you here?

Are you in a position to agree to any of our demands?

+ + + + +


(Spoken by Dave Dunn)

Mayor Murphy promised us that either he or his spokesperson, Deputy Mayor Tom Cox, would be present this evening. We're very disappointed that he is NOT here tonight.

We are NOT disappointed for ourselves, we are disappointed for him.

We're giving him the opportunity to step up to the plate and make a commitment to our youth. If he were to do so, he would be hearing cheers instead of jeers! Most of all we are disappointed for her and our youth.

If we get a REFUSAL: (Spoken by Dave Dunn.)

Can we count on you for a few dozen computers for our youth?

Close (Spoken by Kellie.)

Please, take your CD and scribble on it. Write a statement to the Mayor -- right now. We're passing pens around. We'll collect the disks in an offering basket. Thank you.

(Optional -- housekeeping spoken by Mark.)

If you don’t have a CD and want to express your message to the Mayor, grab any disk and write on the flip side or just add to it.

Chair and Reverend Monroe, the next task force can come to the microphone.

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