Reverend David Thornton

Reverend David Thornton has been with One Pittsburgh since the begin- ning. He led our march last June as we called on ExxonMobil to pay their fair share. He helped janitors in our city win family-sustaining wages and good health insurance.

He’s a leader in the work to end gun violence in Pittsburgh. And no one speaks with more passion or conviction about the need for all of our children to have access to quality education.

An active member of PIIN (Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network), Rev. Thornton also serves as pastor of Grace Memorial Baptist Church in the Hill District. Like many clergy, Thornton felt called in this moment to walk in the steps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For Thornton; Selma was a commemoration, but this year’s march was still very much needed.

He sang through the days to keep motivated and to inspire those who walked beside him in the unusually hot Alabama sun. It recalled his days of military service he said, as they called out cadence while running 8 miles every Friday.
I asked him how his spiritual work fits together with the work he does with One Pittsburgh, to further the interests of working people and to hold corporations and the super rich accountable.

He says that there’s no separation between the two. Taking care of each other is the right thing to do, it’s what he preaches on Sunday, and also the message he brings to the larger public. We should all do our part, and we should all be looking out for the best interests of others. This is the conviction that fueled him over the three days that we marched in Alabama for immigrant rights and voting rights. Rev. Thornton returned to Pittsburgh ready to renew our fight for what is true and what is right.


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