Daily Archive: April 13, 2011

Metro

Incumbent, not issues, tackled in District 9

At a forum for candidates running in the upcoming May primary election, incumbent District 9 City Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess squared off against his two competitors, the Allegheny County Democratic Committee’s endorsed candidate Phyllis Copeland-Mitchell and Lucille Prater-Holliday, the president of non-profit group Action United, formerly known as ACORN. BURDEN OF PROOF—Candidates Phyllis Copeland-Mitchell, right; and Lucille Prater-Holiday, left, challenged incumbent City Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess’ record. (Photos by J.L. Martello) The candidates at the forum hosted by the Western Pennsylvania Black Political Assembly, tackled issues confronting the city’s struggling district 9 neighborhoods. Primary among them was the issue of Black-on-Black violence and it’s connection to economic development and youth recreation. “We have to get the homicide rate down in our community,” Burgess said. “We have to have the public directly involved in the decision making in terms of how government spends our money.”

Metro

Groups unite to reduce gun violence

In an effort to reduce gun violence and bring awareness to a grave epidemic, the Black Political Empowerment Project/ Coalition Against Violence in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network and CeaseFirePA, a statewide gun violence prevention organization, united to hold a regional “Gun Violence Reduction Sunday” this past weekend. TIM STEVENS Last week, the collaborative unit sent letters to more than 200 pastors of various churches in the Pittsburgh region, asking them to participate in the April 10 event to bring awareness to gun violence and a need for reform through a litany that was included for pastors to use during their Sunday services and a petition that the organizations were asking members of the various congregations to sign.

Metro

Westinghouse 93-year-old valedictorian seeks justice

In 1934 Sophia Phillips Nelson became Westinghouse High School’s first Black valedictorian. While her family was elated, the principal at the time was not. “He said, after me there will never be another—the word was not Negro—valedictorian on his watch,” said the now 93-year-old Nelson. “And two years later, he made sure of that with my kid sister, by having her grade changed. I’m very happy to see this finally being corrected.” VALEDICTORIANS VALIDATED—Westinghouse High School’s first Black valedictorian, class of 1934, Sophia Phillips Nelson, 93, poses with alumni association awards and state proclamations honoring her and her sister, Fannetta Nelson Gordon, now recognized as the class of 1936 valedictorian. (Photo by J.L. Martello) Both Nelson and her younger sister Fannetta Nelson Gordon were honored for their accomplishments by the Westinghouse Alumni Association April 7, recognizing Gordon as valedictorian of the class of 1936. Gordon died in 2008, at age 88. “I believe her spirit is with us,” said Nelson. “And she appreciates this—I won’t say tardy—recognition.”

Metro

Corbett cuts community development funds

The second largest cut in Corbett’s budget is to the Department of Community and Economic Development, which would see a $114 million cut. The department has been criticized as a vehicle for politicians to garner votes by funding pet projects with “walking around money,” that is doing little to develop local economies. In his address, Corbett said a business owner would need a “Sherpa” to find his way through the DCED bureaucracy. No more. “Where once there were 127 programs, there are now 56. I think that’s a manageable number and a better way of keeping track,” he said. “Additionally, we have straight-out eliminated line items that produced little more than spending. We have set a goal. We’re looking for results. We’re looking for new jobs, not votes.”

Metro

Community Calendar

Annual banquet APRIL 16—The Greensburg-Jeannette NAACP will host their Annual Human Rights Banquet at the Greensburg Country Club, 309 Pleasant Valley Dr., Jeannette. The theme is “Relevancy…Our Work is Not Yet Done…” and the guest speaker will be Dr. Joan Duvall-Flynn, the Pennsylvania state NAACP education chair. For more information, call 724-838-9146.

National

This Week In Black History

Week of April 16 to 22April 161862—President Abraham Lincoln signs a bill ending slavery in Washington, D.C. Approximately nine months later he would issue the Emancipation Proclamation which had a highly emotional and symbolic impact but actually freed very few slaves when it was first pronounced. The Proclamation targeted slaves in the South. But at the time, Lincoln had virtually no control over the rebellious slave-owning Southern states. ABRAHAM LINCOLN

National

Olympian Carl Lewis announces run for NJ Senate

by Angela Delli SantiAssociated Press Writer MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (AP)—Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis says he’ll run again—for New Jersey Senate. The 49-year-old New Jersey native announced his bid to represent his hometown of Willingboro on Monday. “When I run—as you see from my record—I run to win,” Lewis said outside a historic courthouse in his home county, where he announced his candidacy with his mother and other family members standing nearby. IN THE RACE—Former Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, right, gets a hug and kiss from his mother, Evelyn Lewis, after he announced his candidacy for a New Jersey state Senate seat, April 11, in Mount Holly, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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Opinion

Budget cuts hurt, the people respond

Almost everywhere you go there are ongoing discussions about the budget cuts and the potential for the devastation that may occur. The conversations are generally started by those who head programs and express their concern about what percentages of employees are on the verge of termination. However, the other day I was extended an invitation to meet with the president of the Bedford Avenue Public Housing Tenant Council, Gail Felton. I was impressed with the overwhelmingly sincere way Gail expressed herself, and it became obvious to me that every comment she made was heart felt. Her first statement was that Pittsburgh Housing Authority’s budget was cut by nine million dollars, and that will have an unbelievable negative effect on the tenants and the multiple programs.

Opinion

From Head Start to Harvard

(NNPA)—The colors were brighter than any she had seen before. Shapes, letters and lots and lots of colors adorned the walls; around the room, children worked together building highrises with colored blocks and “read” colorful picture books. “I had never seen so much color,” Angelica Salazar recalls of her first days as a Head Start preschooler in Duarte, Calif. She remembers the discovery of library books and spending hours curled up on the reading rug. Head Start was Angie’s first formal experience learning English. Her parents, who spoke mostly Spanish, enrolled her in the program knowing that their little girl would need English to succeed in school.

Opinion

Manning, Malcolm and meaning

(NNPA)—Dr. Manning Marable made his transition a few days before his Malcolm X biography was released April 4. The community of scholars that admired him was saddened by his death, and also anticipated the work that would be the product of his decades of research. In many ways, the product did not disappoint. Manning Marable interpreted Malcolm X through a lens that is both familiar and unfamiliar. He decoded Alex Haley’s Autobiography of Malcolm X like a surgeon with a scalpel, finding inconsistencies, reinventions, and hard truths. At the same time there were questions that remain unanswered, suggesting that Dr. Marable, much like Brother Alex Haley, could not totally crack the code called Malcolm X.