Representatives from about 20 organizations, churches and community groups gathered in Pittsburgh’s Hill District Monday to encourage people to vote in the upcoming primary and general elections.

The occasion was the launch of the Voting Is Power Pittsburgh Regional Coalition.

About a dozen or so people spoke at the event. However, none endorsed any candidates.

Instead, they encouraged people to do their own research and select the person that best represents their values.

Black Political Empowerment Project Chairman and CEO Tim Stevens said this year’s primary and general elections aren’t just about electing a president, but also U.S. and state senators and representatives as well as other positions.

“Many of the most important issues that impact African Americans, people of color, the LGBTQ community, the marginalized young people and others on a daily basis can be impacted by electing compassionate, dedicated, committed and honest individuals who believe in and strongly support our collective needs, aspirations and concerns,” Stevens said.

“Our future and the future of our democracy are at stake in the 2024 elections. We do not view this as a rhetorical statement, but a statement of reality. A statement that must take roots in our minds, in our hearts and in our psyches. These upcoming elections are nothing to play with.”

He also stressed that every vote counts, citing how George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in the 2000 presidential race after winning Florida by 537 votes.

“Less than the number of people within blocks of this site,” Stevens said.

Judy Clack, voter service chair of the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh, talked about the launch of, an online voter’s guide.

It has information such as how to register to vote, polling locations, important dates and a political race search.

“You just put your home address in and your whole ballot comes up one race at a time,” Clack explained. “This is a free service done by volunteers.”

Clark said her organization has reached out to candidates with questions, and will be updating the site as more information becomes available.

“Their answers will be posted in their words,” she said, “We don’t change anything. One thing we do is try to educate the voters. We want everyone to vote for the candidate of their choice.”

Lawn signs were made available for people at the event.

A banner was unveiled encouraging people to register to vote. The banner will be on at least 20 Pittsburgh area buses for the next several weeks.

“The voteless people are a hopeless people,” said the Rev. Kevin Cooper of Alpha Phi Alpha National Fraternity and the Alpha Omicron Lambda Pittsburgh chapter.

Other organizations represented in the coalition included the John Lewis Transformative Justice Coalition, YWCA Pittsburgh, Voter Empowerment Education and Enrichment Program, Alliance for Police Accountability, South Pittsburgh Coalition for Peace, Vote Riders, National Council of Jewish Women, Everybody Vote and the Central Baptist Church.

The Black Political Empowerment Project will host “Eat, Meet & Greet Candidate Nights” April 2 at the Letter Carriers on Pittsburgh’s North Side, April 9 at St. James AME Church in East Liberty and April 16 at Beulah Baptist Church in Beltzhoover. Those events are all scheduled for 6 p.m.

More information is available at or call 412-212-8775.

Michael DiVittorio is a TribLive reporter covering general news in Western Pennsylvania, with a penchant for festivals and food. He can be reached at

Important dates
• Pennsylvania's primary election is April 23.
• The last day to register to vote before the primary is April 8.
• The last day to apply for a mail-in or civilian absentee ballot is April 16.
• Completed absentee or mail-in votes must be received by 8 p.m. April 23.
• The general election is Nov. 5.
• People can also learn about elections through the state's website,