With a national unemployment rate of more than 10 percent and a city of Pittsburgh rate of 7.5 percent, both for the month of November, according to the Center of Workforce Information & Analysis of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, it is no wonder that local employment programs are in greater demand. According to the center, Pittsburgh figures are lower than that of October, which was 7.8 percent and September, which was 7.6 percent. But what do these numbers mean for the African-American community in Pittsburgh? As these numbers decrease, unemployment rates for African-Americans are steadily increasing. JOB HUNT—Job seekers stood in line to talk to a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center representative about company job opportunities at the Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center’s Job Fair held in October at the Kingsley Association.
Monthly Archive: December 2009
The Pittsburgh branch of the NAACP has completed the final phase of a series of demonstrations at the Pittsburgh School District administration building in protest of the district’s racial achievement gap. Their seven-week effort, which ended Dec. 28 was to increase awareness of the gap and inspire district administrators to take action. “The emphasis on resolving disparities has to be a top agenda item of the school board, administration and teachers,” said NAACP member and Black Political Empowerment Project leader Tim Stevens. “If we don’t collectively address that ongoing disparity, people in this region, particularly African-Americans, will have a difficult future.” BRAVING THE COLD—NAACP President Gail Moss, Richard A. Stewart Jr. and Curtis Page finish their final lap around the administration building.
NEW YORK (AP)—South African poet and former political prisoner Dennis Brutus, who fought apartheid in words and deeds and remained an activist well after the fall of his country’s racist system, has died. He was 85. Brutus’ publisher, Chicago-based Haymarket Books, said the writer died in his sleep at his home in Cape Town Dec. 26. He had been battling prostate cancer, according to Patrick Bond, who directs the Center for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, where Brutus was an honorary professor. DENNIS BRUTUS
The city is waiting to hear whether or not Mayor Luke Ravenstahl will sign a piece of legislation, which calls for a prevailing wage to be paid to service industry workers in developments that have received $100,000 or more of city aid. City council unanimously passed the legislation on Dec. 21 by a vote of 9-0. For this reason, the mayor will be unable to veto the legislation, but his support or lack of support could have an impact on future relations with the council. DOUG SHIELDS
On Dec. 28, the Community Empowerment Association held its 15th annual Kwanzaa celebration, complete with live entertainment and traditional gift- giving. Kwanzaa is a weeklong holiday following the seven principles of African culture. CEA’s celebration followed the theme for the first day, Umoja, which means unity. “The goal is for the mind-set to spread into the community,” said CEA founder Rashad Byrdsong. “Building self-determination and self-consciousness is the purpose of Kwanzaa and a philosophy in which we live. It’s our way of keeping the rich tradition community-based and community driven.” KWANZAA—The New World drummers perform traditional African drumming.
(AP)—Pittsburgh City Council on Monday approved a $3.77 million settlement with a man who spent 19 years in prison before his rape conviction was overturned by DNA evidence in 2005. Thomas Doswell, 50, and his attorneys will receive the money over three years from the city’s insurance company, Liberty Life Assurance Co. of Boston, once Mayor Luke Ravenstahl signs off on it. The council approved the settlement unanimously at the request of the city’s Law Department.
Witnesses wanted The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Homicide Squad is asking anyone with information regarding the shooting death of a Hazelwood man at the intersection of Alluvian Street and Glennbar Way in Hazelwood last Sunday afternoon to contact them. When Zone Four officers responded to a report of shots being fired and a vehicle stopped at the intersection, they found 31-year-old Daton Glenn seated in the driver’s seat of a gold Cadillac with several gunshots to the head. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. Authorities say that no motive has been identified and no arrests have been made. Anyone with information is being asked to call 412-323-7161. Callers may remain anonymous.
Youth open house DEC. 30—The Penn Hills branch of the YMCA of Pittsburgh will host a Youth Open House at 10 a.m. at 11870 Frankstown Rd., Penn Hills. Kids will get the chance to visit the facility’s’ new interactive gaming room, the XRKade. Kids 12-18 will be able to enjoy the new room after an orientation with a fit coach. Supervision will be provided. For more information, call 412-795-2600.
by Jon GambrellAssociated Press Writer LAGOS, Nigeria (AP)—The Nigerian man accused of trying to bring down a U.S. airliner cut off contact with his relatives and disappeared from their lives until they awoke to news of the attempted Christmas Day attack, his family said Monday. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s father talked to Nigerian security agencies two months ago and a month later to foreign security agencies about his concerns that his son had disappeared and ceased contact with the family, the family said in a statement. U.S. authorities said that in November, Abdulmutallab’s father visited the U.S. embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, to discuss his concerns about his son’s religious beliefs. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
(NNPA/GIN)—In a snap survey conducted by The Namibian newspaper, Barack Obama was cited as the top world newsmaker by most respondents. Human rights lawyer Norman Tjombe commended the U.S. president “for his leadership on matters such as global warming, ending nuclear proliferation, bringing to an end poorly regulated financial markets, and making more friends than enemies for the U.S., for showing what presidents must do [and not do].”