Daily Archive: November 5, 2010


CCAC spreads literacy to jail

In the book “A Lesson Before Dying” a young African-American man is unjustly sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. The story examines the young man’s relationship with an African-American male teacher before his execution. This text was chosen as the cornerstone for the Community College of Allegheny County’s One College One Community Initiative. INTERPRETIVE DANCE—The August Wilson Dance Ensemble performs a piece inspired by “A Lesson Before Dying.” (Photo by J.L. Martello) The month-long series, which went on through October, was designed to explore and expand community and academic partnerships through a series of themed events. “Literacy is essential to what we do and is an integral part of CCAC’s mission and goals to provide educational opportunities for all learners,” said Barbara Evans, Ed.D., associate dean of academic affairs who served as the project director for the initiative. “This project was an excellent vehicle to work collaboratively with all of the partners and outreach to the community to hopefully have an impact.”


CEA building anti-violence network

Rashad Byrdsong doesn’t like to talk about how long he has been trying to combat street violence, because he’s been at it for more than a decade. But following the shooting that took place outside an August 14 midget football game in Homewood, the founder of the Community Empowerment Association has redoubled his efforts and is working to create what he calls a Peace Alliance Network. COMMUNITY RESOLVE—From left: Reggie Roberts of B-PEP, former McKeesport Mayor Austin Davis, CEA program coordinator Lee Davis and McKeesport Councilwoman V. Fawn Walker, and CEA founder Rashad Byrdsong, right, implores McKeesport residents to stop the violence following a June triple homicide. “We’ve been at this for years, there have been vigils and marches, yet the violence is still here,” he said. “Now we are trying to develop a network of community residents who can come at this issue with some kind of impact.”


Black lawyer rejected from Pa. bar in 1800s honored 

PITTSBURGH (AP)—A lawyer rejected from practicing law in Pennsylvania in the 1800s because he was Black was posthumously admitted to the state’s bar Oct. 21. The family of George Vashon accepted a Certificate of Admission during a ceremony before the state Supreme Court. Chief Justice Ronald Castille noted the “ancient practices” that led to Vashon’s rejection despite having been qualified to practice law in the state. ADMITTED TO BAR—Pittsburgh attorney Wendell Freeland, right, presents the Certificate of Admission to practice law awarded by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to the descendants of George B. Vashon in a ceremony at the courtroom in Pittsburgh, Oct. 20. Vashon’s great-great grandson Paul Thornell, left, holds his son, 7-year-old Nolan Thornel, as Freeland presents the document. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


Jazz icon Pharoah Sanders makes a rare Pittsburgh appearance

Witness a living legend when Pharoah Sanders lets loose on his tenor saxophone at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture Nov.13 at 8 p.m. in a concert featuring his long-time collaborator, pianist William Henderson, as well as Pittsburgh jazz masters Dwayne Dolphin on bass and Roger Humphries on drums. PHAROAH SANDERS “The August Wilson Center is honored to partner with Kente Arts Alliance to give the Pittsburgh region this rare opportunity to experience the majesty of Pharoah Sanders,” said André Kimo Stone Guess, president and CEO of The Center. “It’s his first appearance here in 28 years and we know that jazz lovers will turnout in full force to welcome him.”


Dropout prevention… Program gives ­students second chance

Dropout rates are increasing in urban areas across the country. As a result of factors associated with poverty many students see little value in spending their days at school when many already find it necessary to work full time jobs. For others school becomes more of social affair where they quickly fall behind in their education and become overwhelmed. ONE ON ONE—Teacher Frank Machi, left, helps student Sean Barnes. (Photo by Ashley G. Woodson). Enter Bridges to Success, a dropout prevention program that offers an alternative brand of education with a shorter school day and smaller class sizes. Housed at Clayton Academy, the program provides students with a high school diploma from their home school upon completion of the district’s requirements.


Speak Out: Is voting important??Why or why not?

The mid-term elections were Nov. 2, so we asked Pittsburghers if voting was important to them and this is what you said: “Yes. Voting is important and my vote counts. It gives me the power to choose and decide who I think is the right person for the job.”Robert FitzpatrickHomewoodPersonal Trainer


Report: Nigerian oil city evictions to affect 200k

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP)—More than 200,000 people could lose their homes and livelihoods if an oil-rich Nigerian state proceeds with a mass eviction of its waterfront slums, a report released Thursday by Amnesty International warned. OPPOSITION—Wole Soyinka, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986, the first African honored with the award, is shown after launching a newly formed political party in Lagos, Nigeria, to challenge apathetic voters in the oil-rich nation to overcome a government he called cynical and brutal. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba) The threatened evictions come as Rivers state looks to build an amusement park and other attractions where informal settlements now stand along the waters of oil city Port Harcourt. Already, a forced eviction carried out in 2009 left at least 12 people seriously wounded, Amnesty International said, with locals telling the organization they saw dead bodies carried away in the back of police pickup trucks.


Gay bullying and suicides hit Black Community

by Cyril Josh Barker NEW YORK (NNPA)—Recent anti-gay attacks and suicides among gay youth have ignited a conversation about a problem that those in the LGBTQ community say is nothing new. As the case of what many are calling one of the most brutal anti-gay crimes unfolds, three of the 11 suspects accused of participating in an attack in an abandoned house in the Bronx have been set free. Brian Cepeda, 17, Bryan Almonte, 16, and Steven Carabello, 16, were all cleared on charges after the Bronx district attorney’s office said there was a lack of evidence. Meanwhile, one of the latest suicides took place in the city when 26-year-old Black gay youth activist Joseph Jefferson took his own life on Oct. 23, Jefferson worked with HIV/AIDS charities and was an assistant to promoters of Black LGBTQ events.


Megachurch pastor Bishop Eddie Long denies abuse allegations

ATLANTA (AP)—The megachurch pastor accused of luring four young men into sexual relationships categorically denied the allegations for the first time in a court filing Monday, saying he was only a mentor to the men who filed civil lawsuits against him. Bishop Eddie Long has for weeks vowed he would fight the lawsuits in court, and promised in church sermons he would not let the legal troubles prevent him from doing its work. While his attorney has denied the allegations on his behalf, Long had not refuted them publicly until he filed his legal response. He said in the filing that each of the “claims of sexual misconduct are not true.”


Racial profiling and why you should read ‘Presumption of Guilt’

(NNPA)—In 1981 a good friend of mine and I drove from Boston to Detroit for a labor conference. At the tail end of the conference, I was asked if I could give a ride to a Scandinavian woman who was attending the conference. Apparently she wanted to get back to the East Coast. My friend (an African-American man) and I looked at each other and immediately declined to offer her a ride. Though I felt very guilty about it, what crossed my mind was the idea of two African-American men driving long distance with a very attractive, young, blond White woman in the same car, and the potential ramifications.