Daily Archive: March 9, 2011



Bev refuses to bow to pressure

by A.M. Muhammad (NNPA)—Recently, several articles have appeared in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle criticizing the decision by radio host Bev Smith and American Urban Radio Networks for inviting Min. Louis Farrakhan to a March 11 Town Hall Meeting in Pittsburgh, to discuss issues affecting the Black community. BEV SMITH In writings appearing in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle during the past two weeks, its Executive Editor Lee Chottiner, Jeffrey Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and David Ainsman, chairman of the Community and Public Affairs Council of the Federation, were all critical of Smith and Pittsburgh’s Black leadership for inviting leaders to discuss Black issues that had not been pre-approved by the Jewish community. If they thought their threats would undermine support for the event, their efforts have backfired. It is being reported that there are no more tickets available to the event and, according to a spokesperson for the August Wilson Center, the nearly 500-seat auditorium will be filled with an overflow room set up in order to accommodate even more people interested in solutions to the problems plaguing Pittsburgh’s Black community.


Candidate Copeland- Mitchell fired

The day after Phyllis Copeland-Mitchell received the Allegheny County Demo­cratic Committee’s endorsement for the District 9 City Council seat, she also lost her job. For the past 15 years, Copeland-Mitchell has worked for The Program for Offenders Inc., a government funded residential treatment facility. COPELAND-MITCHELL “After winning the Democratic Endorsement on Sunday, March 6, over the incumbent Ricky Burgess, Phyllis Copeland-Mitchell became the strongest candidate to beat the incumbent. Phyllis was fired from her job for no cause,” said 12th Ward Democratic Committee Chair Jacque Fielder. “This is a travesty that such a dedicated community worker for more than 25 years would lose her job during these tough economic times just because she exercised her right to run for City Council. Obviously the Democratic Party thinks enough of her to endorse her for City Council District 9.”


Gang members given choices

When One Vision One Life Director Richard Garland spoke to the 30 or so gang members at the federal courthouse March 3, he told them about a phone call he got at 7 a.m. that morning after a massive police raid had yielded 30 arrests for guns and drug violation the day before. “Manchester Youth Development called and said they had 23 kids who are now without parents. We’re going to be there all weekend trying to help,” he said. “Some of you have kids. You want that for them? Everyone here, the police, judges, the community—they all want you to succeed. This is your chance.” JAY GILMER The meeting was the first of two Pittsburgh Initiative to Reduce Crime call-in meetings held that day for gang members from across the city. All are on probation or parole, and all heard about the damage their lives of violence and drug dealing not only to their victims, their community and the city, but also to their loved ones.


Floating to the top

by Abdul Al-Nakhli BRIDGEWATER, Pa.—Fourteen-year-old Amber Liggett continually redefines the term, “young entrepreneur.” As the owner/operator of, “Amber’s Amazing Animal Balloons,” she has brought countless smiles to children’s faces throughout the Valley since the age of nine. TEACHING HER CRAFT—Amber enjoys taking time from her schedule to teach a balloon making class for young children (ages 3-5) at the Community College of Beaver County campus. (Photos by Abdul Al-Nakhli) Currently attending the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School in Midland, Amber’s journey began when her family purchased a balloon making kit for her as a present. As Amber mastered creating her own animals and shapes, her mother and partner, Marcia Liggett, made a proposition to her talented daughter. “Once I saw how good she was becoming, I told her if she started to become more confident, I would help her turn this into a business,” said Mrs. Liggett.


6th Annual Women of Achievement Awards

Twenty-three of Pittsburgh’s most notable women were honored for their accomplishments and contributions to the city of Pittsburgh at the 6th Annual Celebrate & Share, Women of Achievement Awards Dinner. Nearly 300 people gathered at the Omni William Penn Hotel on, March 2, to honor women from the region and to raise funds for the Pittsburgh based charity, Cribs for Kids®Infant Safe Sleep Initiative. District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. and his wife Mary Zappala returned to host the event along with presenting sponsors, Fifth Third Bank and UPMC St. Margaret, and Mistress of Ceremonies Julie Bologna. The Women of Achievement Award ceremony is traditionally held every March in observance of Women’s History Month. The event kicked off with the presentation of a proclamation from Pittsburgh City Council. BLACK ACHIEVERS—The African-American awardees from left were: Valerie McDonald Roberts, government; Carmen Anderson, foundations; Trooper Robin Mungo, law enforcement; Jada Grandy, banking; and Velma Monteiro Tribble, business leader. (Photos by J. L. Martello)


Davis joins AIDS Task Force

Homewood resident Chevette L. Davis was recently hired as a supportive services coordinator with the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. In her role at PATF, Davis assists clients with receiving social services such as food pantry assistance, while she supports them in continuing towards healthy living goals. “I want to help people break down barriers so they can live better lives. HIV/AIDS has caused so much destruction to infected individuals and those affected by the disease in our communities. This is something that needs everyone’s help,” she said. CHEVETTE L. DAVIS


Community Calendar

Nutrition fair MARCH 10—The Dietetics Program of the Community College of Allegheny County will host a Nutrition Fair from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Foerster Student Services Center Auditorium, 808 Ridge Ave., North Side. There will be demonstrations, food samples, nutrition information, free giveaways and a feature presentation by Leslie Bonci, Director of Sports Nutrition at UPMC, on “Performance Eating: How Good Can You Be? Do It Right!” For more information, call Elizabeth Vargo at 412-237-2640 or email evargo@ccac.edu.


Guineans find themselves poorer under democracy

by Boubacar Diallo CONAKRY, Guinea (AP)—Even as a dictator plundered the country’s mineral wealth for years, Karim Conte still could afford to buy medicine for his sick relatives and a new outfit for his wife to wear during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. CRISIS IN GUINEA—In this March 4, photo, food vendors serve up rice dishes at a street restaurant in Conakry, Guinea. (AP Photo/Idrissa Soumare) So when Guineans chose their first democratically elected leader ever last year, Conte thought life could only improve. Instead prices have since spiraled out of control, adding to the misery in this West African country where people have long suffered through colonialism, despotic rule and coups. “I’ve banished meat, fish and chicken from my diet because these staples have now become luxuries for Guineans,” the 62-year-old father of 14 said. “When my wife asks me if I feel like eating meat, I pretend like I didn’t hear her. If she insists, I pretend to be sick because I don’t want her to know that I can’t afford it.”


This Week In Black History

Week of March 12-18 March 12 1773—This is the most probable date when Black explorer Jean Baptiste Pointe de Sable begins building the settlement which would eventually become the city of Chicago, Ill. The Haitian-born de Sable would over time become a man of considerable wealth owning commercial buildings, docks, trading posts and a mansion. De Sable was the product or a French man and an African woman. He died Aug. 19, 1818. BENJAMIN BANNEKER, MALCOLM X and QUINCY JONES 1791—Pierre Charles L’Enfant is commissioned to design and layout the nation’s capital city—Washington, D.C. However, a dispute with President George Washington forces his departure the very next year. Thus, the final design and layout fell to Black inventor and mathematician Benjamin Banneker. Although two White men were nominally in charge of the project, historical records show that it was Banneker’s mathematical skills and his memory of L’Enfant’s plans that enabled the project to be completed.