Daily Archive: February 3, 2010


Officers suspended… Mother wants charges dropped

(AP)—The city of Pittsburgh has suspended three White police officers while officials investigate accusations that they beat up a Black teenage arts student who was walking to his grandmother’s house after dark, the mayor said Monday. LUKE RAVENSTAHL The city agency that handles police misconduct allegations has agreed to complete its investigation of the Jan. 12 confrontation by month’s end, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said. It must do so before any decision is made on whether to fire the officers.



4 of 6 homicides Black lives

This month the count is lower than that of January 2009. With a new year comes a new start and new hope. While even one senseless death is one too many, this month’s count of six is lower than the seven this time last year. This is a step in the right direction. Now we, as a community, need to come together and continue this step. Hopefully, this will prove to be a record year for the least deaths by homicide.


Living wage, revitalization, crime; Burgess priorities

District 9 City Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess sprinted into another year of his term without missing a beat. Before the first month was through he introduced legislation to activate Pittsburgh’s Living Wage Ordinance and laid the groundwork for several other initiatives. AT WORK—Reverend Ricky Burgess reviews legislation for an upcoming city council meeting. “Workers who mop the floors of our buildings, who guard our buildings, who empty the trash or pick up the garbage, they are saying ‘enough’ to poverty wages, the lack of respect, the bad working conditions,” Burgess said. “No matter what people do—whether they take care of the elderly, or they are teachers, or they make the beds in our hotels—people who do work should be rewarded, and rewarded with a living wage.”


Center for Inclusion reaches out to 6th-graders

Starting in February, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for Inclusion in Health Care will be hosting a series of career fairs for sixth-graders in the Pittsburgh Public School District. The fairs will expose students to a variety of careers in the health care field, beyond the usual professions. Winifred Torbert and Dawnita Wilson “It gives the students the opportunity to explore the many different areas they can go into health care,” said Winifred Torbert, program director, education partnerships. “You don’t have to be a doctor or a nurse and students aren’t aware of that. So it’s an exploration activity.”


Principal shares secrets to reversing achievement gap

In three years, the number of African-American students who were proficient in reading at Louisa May Alcott Elementary School in Texas rose by 16 percentage points to reach 90 percent. During that same three-year period, the percentage of Black students who were proficient in math also reached as high as 90 percent. ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT—Principal Marshall Scott explains how his students are improving. In an effort to see these kinds of results in Pittsburgh schools, University of Pittsburgh professor Jerome Taylor invited the school’s principal, Marshall Scott III, to share what he has done to reverse the racial achievement gap. “I don’t have a secret curriculum to fix inner-city schools. I don’t know if one exists,” Scott said. “Your approach has to be one student at a time.”


Africana Studies celebrates 40 years

What better way to usher in the beginning of Black History Month than with a celebration? The University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Africana Studies celebrated its 40th anniversary on campus in the William Pitt Union Jan. 30. BRENDA BERRIAN The Africana Studies department has seen many changes over the past 40 years, beginning with its name, which was the Department of Black Studies when it was established in 1969. Positive changes the department has seen are the expansion of the department’s curriculum to include the study of Caribbean and African cultures and histories as well as African-American culture and history, and the enrollment of non-African-American students has increased to the point where some classes will have as much as 70 percent non-Black students in attendance, said department chair, Brenda Berrian.


Speak Out: What is your response to beating of CAPA student?

A CAPA student was recently beaten by three police officers. We asked Pittsburghers what they thought and what they think should happen to the police. Here’s what you said: “A man of color is always guilty by reason of suspicion. The police officers should be suspended without pay and not rehired for the simple fact that if it happened once it will happen again. Police need to be evaluated before given the job to ensure that they don’t have ethnic biases. They are meant to serve and protect, not disrespect and destroy.” GEORGE LANE, DARIS SCHULER and GEORGE ALLEN George Lane Labor worker Sheraden


Analysis…For Haiti, opportunity to transform

by Michelle Faul PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP)—Yes, the earth-shattering quake was powerful enough to bring many countries to their knees. But Haiti’s horrendous death toll and cataclysmic damage must also be blamed on a history of bad policies pursued by its own weak leadership and the foreign powers—governments and aid institutions—that have long held sway here. This latest in a history of Haitian calamities may offer an unmatched opportunity to turn the tide in a country where decades of food aid still have left desperate mothers feeding their children chalk to stop hungry stomachs from rumbling.


Pilot considered the only ace Tuskegee Airman, dies

by Virginia Byrne NEW YORK (AP)—Retired Air Force Lt. Colonel Lee A. Archer, a Tuskegee Airman considered to be the only Black ace pilot who also broke racial barriers as an executive at a major U.S. company and founder of a venture capital firm, died Jan. 27 in New York City. He was 90. AVIATOR AND BUSINESSMAN—In this December 2008 photo provided by Beverly Herzog, retired Air Force Lt. Colonel Lee A. Archer is shown. Archer, a decorated member of the Tuskegee Airmen, died Jan. 27, in a New York City hospital at the age of 90. His son, Roy Archer, said his father died at Cornell University Medical Center in Manhattan. A cause of death was not immediately determined. The Tuskegee Airmen were America’s first Black fighter pilot group in World War II.


Genealogist: Obama, Mass. Sen.-elect Brown related

by Glen Johnson BOSTON (AP)—It was bad enough that President Barack Obama lost his filibuster-proof margin in the U.S. Senate to a Republican. Now it turns out he also lost it to a relative. Genealogists said Jan. 29 that the Democratic president and the newly elected senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown, are 10th cousins. COUSINS—This combination of two file photos shows President Barack Obama, left and Massachusetts Sen.-elect Scott Brown. The New England Historic Genealogical Society said Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and Brown’s mother, Judith Ann Rugg, both descend from Richard Singletary of Haverhill, Mass.