Daily Archive: June 8, 2011


‘Charge officers in Miles case’… Citizens challenge Zappala

When the U.S. Justice Department began a civil rights investigation of the three officers whose January arrest of CAPA student Jordan Miles left the 18-year-old in the hospital, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala deferred filing any state charges. Now that the feds have said they wouldn’t pursue the case because they couldn’t win, the ball is back in Zappala’s court, and citizens from across the county are asking him to take his shot. NOT GOING AWAY—Brandi Fisher tells reporters the community will not forget the excessive force used against Jordan Miles as his mother Terez, sister Kielan, grandmother Patricia Porter and supporters including Black Political Empowerment Project Chair Tim Stevens look on. (Photo by J.L. Martello) Several of them, including Miles’ mother, grandmother and sister, delivered a petition to Zappala’s office signed by more than 1,000 county residents, calling for charges against Pittsburgh police officers Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak. “We’re asking him to prosecute,” said Brandi Fisher, chair of the Alliance for Police Accountability. “What charges he prefers, we leave to him. But we’d expect assault, false arrest, and perjury to be among them.”



Young guns taking the streets

As Center for Race and Social Problems Associate Director Ralph Bangs often points out, African-Americans in Pittsburgh often lag behind their White counterparts in most areas of social and economic achievement. One area where they do not is Black male gun violence. This grim reality was the focus of a June 2 symposium Black Male Gun Violence hosted by the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work. NATE HARPER The daylong session was designed to inform academics and front-line personnel of the contributing factors and possible means of reducing the trend that saw Pennsylvania reach the highest percentage of Black homicides in the nation. In one respect, the timing of the symposium was fortuitous because the Pittsburgh police annual crime report (for 2010) was released just a week earlier. Bureau Chief Nathan Harper included some of that data in his presentation on the bureau’s strategies for reducing Black gun violence.



25 of 34 homicides Black lives

Although we are only halfway through the year, May, thus far, has had the lowest number of Black homicides. From January to April, each month has had five or more Black homicides. Are those in the community finally getting the “Stop the Violence” message or is this just the calm before the storm? We are hoping the message has gotten through. We as a community, especially the Black community, need to realize that when we destroy and tear down things in our own community, we are only hurting ourselves. For several months we have issued challenges to members of the community, well here’s another. To those individuals gang banging, instead of doing things to destroy the community, why not do something positive to build it up? Instead of picking up a gun, why not pick up a paintbrush or a hammer? Besides, these actions are more beneficial and the consequences are far less than that of picking up a gun and committing a senseless killing.


WAMO’s return disappoints

After a few weeks of listening to what some referred to as a “Top 40 playlist,” listeners tuned into the new WAMO100 June 6 for the radio station’s official launch. Those who hadn’t already prematurely given up on the station were disappointed to hear the station hadn’t changed much musically from its initial start in May. WAMO LEADERS—From left: Laura Varner Norman; Tim Martz, owner Martz Communications; Orlana Darkins Drewery, director of marketing and events; and Tim Steele. (Photo by J.L. Martello) “I thought the idea was to bring back legitimate hip-hop and R&B back to Pittsburgh. Oh yeah I forgot, this is Pittsburgh. Hip-hop means nothing here cause all you big money suits give your ‘listeners’ what they want,” said Billy Thomas. “The real WAMO 106.7 was the reason I fell in love with hip-hop music, the DJs were colorful and brought a different delivery to radio. They too played everything hip-hop from old school, new school, something for everybody.”


Teen bond overcomes girl’s heart transplant fear

by Lauran Neergaard WASHINGTON (AP)—Courtney Montgomery’s heart was failing fast, but the 16-year-old furiously refused when her doctors, and her mother, urged a transplant. Previous surgeries hadn’t helped and the North Carolina girl didn’t believe this scarier operation would either. It would take another teen who’s thriving with a new heart to change her mind. HITTING IT OFF—Courtney Montgomery and Josh Winstead pose for a photo April 9, before Courtney’s prom. Given a choice, Courtney had refused a heart transplant; but then she met Winstead who’d just had one and was doing well. (AP Photo/Michelle Mescall) “I was like, ‘No, I don’t want this. If I’m going to die, I’m going to die,’” Courtney recalls. “Now I look back, I realize I wasn’t thinking the way I should have been.” Teenagers can add complex psychology to organ transplantation: Even though they’re minors, they need to be on board with a transplant because it’s up to them to take care of their new organ. Depression, anger and normal adolescent pangs—that tug-of-war with parents, trying to fit in—can interfere. It’s not just a question of having the transplant, but how motivated they are to stick with anti-rejection treatment for years to come.


Community Calendar

Film Showing JUNE 10—One Vision One Life will host “A War For Your Soul” from 6-8 p.m. at the Letter Carrier’s Building, 841 California Ave., North Side. There will be a showing of the film “A War For Your Soul,” a film exploring the social issues that plague urban communities. There will be a question and answer sessions with filmmaker and public speaker Reggie Bullock. For more information, call El Gray at 412-996-1626.


This Week In Black History

Week of June 11-17June 111963—President John F. Kennedy declares during a nationwide radio and television address that segregation was “morally wrong” and told the U.S. Congress it was “time to act” (pass legislation) to end all segregation of the races. That statement and similar ones endeared Kennedy to millions of African-Americans. However, a few months after making the declaration Kennedy was assassinated (November) in Dallas, Texas. But most of his legislative ideas would be implemented by his successor President Lyndon B. Johnson. President John F. Kennedy


Spelman’s LGBT forum earns national kudos

by Adrienne LeonFor New Pittsburgh Courier ATLANTA (NNPA)—Spelman College is receiving national media attention for hosting an unprecedented summit on lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender issues at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The Chronicle of Higher Education, National Public Radio, BET, and Color Lines News for Action are among the media outlets that wrote about the significance of the conference in dealing with gay and lesbian issues on Black college campuses. UNPRECEDENTED SUMMIT—Panelists address audience members at an unprecedented summit on lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and, transgender issues at historically Black colleges and universities. (Photo by Anare V. Holmes)



Pittsburgh suffers great loss

This column is dedicated to the memory of two proud Black men—John H. Adams and Richard M. Adams Sr. Their last names are the same, but they are not biologically related, however they lived by common denominators. They were both concerned, committed, Black men who epitomized love of family, community and were God-fearing men. I never heard either of them vilify another human being, but always focused on the best in the individuals. Both of these men were soft-spoken, never loud or braggarts, and always dealt with things in a positive way.


Proposed mortgage qualification rule may end home ownership as we know it

“A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.” Homeownership, as we know it, could be a thing of the past if a proposed Qualified Residential Mortgage Rule takes effect. In a letter I sent last week to the heads of the six federal agencies charged with developing risk retention regulations under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, I pointed out that the proposed rule would be especially damaging to the home owner aspirations of minority and working class citizens. Here’s why.