Daily Archive: April 15, 2011


PACE implements unique networking forum

When the Program To Aid Citizen Enterprise, hit on the idea of having a reception and luncheon focused around informal conversations rather than a traditional fundraiser with a keynote speaker, no one was sure how it would be received. Now in its third year, organizers for the Inclusive Voices luncheon actually had to limit attendees to 230. So, it seems to have been received well. TALK OF THE TOWN—PACE Executive Director Lucille Dabney, center, and Event Chair Keith Caldwell, right, present Pam Coates of sponsor EQT with an award during the third annual Inclusive Voices luncheon at the Omni William Penn Hotel, April 8. (Photo by J.L. Martello) “Everyone seems to enjoy it. This way, we get to meet everyone, learn from each other,” said PACE Executive Director Lucille Dabney. There’s a lot of research highlighting the importance of face-to-face and interpersonal contact. Our mission is to serve minority and small business/ community groups who don’t always get a seat at the table. So, we thought—why not create a table?”


Still no plans for most of Charles Street property

Following the Courier’s March 23 story on the extensive lot clearing and demolition of dilapidated housing on Charles Street in Pittsburgh’s North Side, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s office confirmed some of the work is for a project of his Green Up Pittsburgh Program. OUT WITH THE OLD—A Mistick van sits by a lot where the city recently demolished one of several condemned properties now owned by the company. “The program aims to stabilize city-owned vacant lots with the goals of reducing blight, inspiring community pride, and promoting environmental values,” said spokesperson Joanna Doven. “The innovative initiative converts city-owned blighted vacant lots into stable, community green spaces, thereby transforming the city’s liabilities into assets.” Doven said the corner lot at the intersection of Charles Street and Brighton Road had been filled with cars at one time, but now will feature an “educational rain garden.”


Tax delinquencies hampering Black communities

A new audit of the city’s real estate acquisitions and holdings shows that although the bulk of the properties taken for tax delinquency are in predominantly Black neighborhoods, most saw more properties resold. The audit released March 29 by Controller Michael Lamb found the City is the major owner of vacant, tax-delinquent properties in the following city neighborhoods: Perry South, California-Kirkbride, Garfield, Homewood North, Homewood South, Beltzhoover, Hazelwood, Middle Hill and Larimer. “Many City owned vacant and tax-delinquent properties are in our most underserved communities,” he said. “We must make every effort, including working with the citizens in the community in which these properties are located, to get these properties back on the City tax rolls. We also must create a system so these properties are given regular maintenance. They are contributing to neighborhood blight and in some cases are safety hazards.”


2 shot dead, 8 wounded at teen party near Philly

CHESTER, Pa. (AP)—Shots rang out in a suburban Philadelphia social hall where a teenage party was being held, killing two people and sending eight others to hospitals, authorities said Saturday. Police in Chester, where a state of emergency was declared last summer because of crime concerns, said a suspect was taken into custody after officers were called to the Minaret Temple No. 174 around 11:30 p.m. Friday and found “numerous victims.” THE CARNAGE CONTINUES—Israel Laboy, father of Robel Laboy who was shot and killed Friday night, is comforted by family members at a candlelight vigil at Fourth and Ward streets, April 9, in Chester, Pa. (AP Photo/Delaware County Daily Times, Eric Hartline) Police said nine people were transported to Crozer Chester Medical Center, where a spokesman said one died soon afterward and another died Saturday afternoon. Four other victims remained in stable condition, and three had been discharged, the spokesman said. A 10th person was treated at Taylor Hospital and was released.


Curt Flood and baseball today

(NNPA)—With the beginning of the baseball season I am always drawn back to the memory of African-American St. Louis Cardinals player Curt Flood. Flood defied the baseball ruling establishment and led a court challenge to the “reserve clause,” a mechanism that held most players in perpetual bondage to their teams. Though Flood lost the lawsuit at the Supreme Court, with the support of the Major League Baseball Players Association he set in motion the steps that would eventually result in the end of the reserve clause and the creation, of “free agency.”


Reverend Al Sampson: an uncelebrated warrior

(NNPA)—This is the first major civil rights organization of our culture that has given me an honorary opportunity with this particular gift. The speaker was Rev. Al Sampson, a longtime civil rights activist and pastor of Fenwood United Methodist Church in Chicago. The gift he was referring to was Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network’s decision to honor Rev. Sampson along with former Southern Christian Leadership Conference President Charles Steele Jr.; Barbara Shaw, board chair of the National Council of Negro Women, and me with a Rev. Dr. William A. Jones Justice Award. The awards were presented by the Social Justice Initiative of NAN.


Jobs returning to cities

President Obama has taken a lot of flack from Republicans for his “failure” to create jobs and get millions of unemployed Americans back to work. To hear his critics tell it, the president has done little to nothing in the way of job creation. However, recent statistics from the Department of Labor paint a different picture, one that shows the president has kept his word and that, slowly but surely, Americans are finding jobs. More than 200,000 jobs were created in February and March 2011—the most jobs created over a two-month period since 2006. Big cities, which need jobs the most, are fairing very well. According to the Department of Labor, more than 75 percent of America’s 372 cities reported lower unemployment rates in February 2011. Among those cities that saw a drop in unemployment claims are Los Angeles, New York and Miami.


It doesn’t get uglier than this

(NNPA)—We are supposed to be the envy of the free world. Yet, here we were in the midst of a budget struggle. Budget struggle? That is the stuff third world countries wrestle with. But, here we were acting like Zimbabwe or something. Our treasury is in a major deficit and our so called leaders act as if they have money to burn. The only ones who are going to get burned are us. China, Japan, and Saudi Arabia hold our financial paper; the price of oil is going through the “roof,” grocery prices are skyrocketing and we are now into three wars with no end apparent. Whatever happened to good fiscal management like they teach us at business schools? We are drunk with malfeasance and our leadership is stuck in the “toilet.”


Discovering Black America

by Linda Tarrant-Reid (NNPA)—“We’ve Come This Far by Faith” and “Steppin’ out on Faith” are very powerful words that have stoked the engine in our push for equality and inclusion in our struggle for civil rights. As a child of the ’50s and ’60s, I witnessed change. On my family’s summer road trips South, I took for granted the preparations that my parents made to make certain my sister and I were safe as we drove through the dangerous roads of Klan country staying in Black-owned bed & breakfasts and guesthouses because Blacks weren’t allowed to stay in motels, eating the fried chicken and potato salad Mom fixed in the car because we couldn’t eat at the roadside restaurants, having the coffee can at the ready because we couldn’t go to the bathroom at the rest stops or gas stations.


Exchange peace, not bullets

Dear Editor: After reading the article dated April 6, 2011 “17 of 20 homicides Black lives…We need to take back our streets,” by writer Ashley N. Johnson, I was compelled to respond to her poignant message. Ms. Johnson is absolutely correct, and right on point. I agree, and it is sad that we as a people are killing each other and destroying lives. I am a poet and aspiring writer and have written one of my poems in hopes that I too, can help stop these senseless crimes.