Family and friends said they were inseparable, whether playing football or Power Rangers, they were best friends who went everywhere together. And so it was at their funeral. KiDonn Pollard-Ford, 7, and KrisDon Pollard-Williams, 4, who died of smoke inhalation resulting from a June 30 fire that swept through their North Versailles apartment, were laid to rest in a single white casket, together always. “That’s the way they were,” said their grandmother Carmen Pollard after services at Hillcrest Seven Day Adventist Church in the Hill. “You take one, you have to take the other.” TOGETHER FOREVER—Pallbearers escort the single white casket containing KiDonn Pollard-Ford and his brother, KrisDon Pollard-Williams, killed when their apartment caught fire, from their July 8 funeral service at Hillcrest Seven Day Adventist Church in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. (Photo by J.L. Martello) Fire investigators said the blaze started in a bedroom adjacent to where the boys were found in their third-floor apartment, and may have been caused by an air conditioner that they are still examining. KiDonn, discovered under a pile of clothing, was pronounced dead at the scene from carbon monoxide and cyanide poisoning. KrisDon, who had hidden under a bed, died the next day at UPMC Children’s Hospital.
Daily Archive: July 13, 2011
Armon Gilliam’s friends would tell you that he was a kind, generous man who, though he gave much to his community, rarely spoke of it. Karen Hall, who attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas with him and later served as an assistant coach under him at Penn State Altoona simply said he was a “great guy.” ARMON GILLIAM “As great a player as he was, he was just as awesome a person. He was a big man with a big heart and I was blessed to know him,” she said. “He had a pearly white, infectious smile that lit up a room, and a laugh that was contagious. The sound of it always made me laugh harder. I’m just stunned to hear he’s gone.” Gilliam suffered a heart attack and collapsed July 5 while playing pick-up basketball, the game he loved, at LA Fitness in Bridgeville. He was pronounced dead later at the hospital. He was 47.
Despite the Pittsburgh Public School District’s requirement that students participating in athletic programs have a 2.0 grade point average, schools have been allowing students to slip through. In an effort to remedy this inequity and as part of an overall review of the district’s policy manual, the school board will vote at the end of the month to lower the required grade point average to 1.5 for the 2011-2012 school year. MARK BRENTLEY “We know there hasn’t been a consistent across the board use of the policy. The 2.0 is what’s required and what has been required. In order to not unfairly disadvantage students they’re given this probationary period to get their GPA up,” said Ebony Pugh, public relations coordinator for the PPS. “We know it wasn’t followed consistently across the schools. There were students we know who were participating without a 2.0.”
According to the most recent study released by the RAND Corp. in 2006, 35 percent of Pittsburgh’s high school students drop out without graduating. However, at Imani Christian Academy, a private K-12 school in the East Hills, the dropout rate is zero. At the Symposium on Reducing Youth Violence at Manchester Bidwell Corporation June 17, participants heard from Imani Headmaster Elder Milton Raiford. Despite Raiford’s proven record of success with at-risk students, the discussion by his fellow panelists failed to explore what really makes Imani successful. ELDER MILTON RAIFORD (Photo by J.L. Martello) “I think in our community a lot of people would rather psychoanalyze and to assess African-American boys and men in particular in terms of the damage they perceive they cause as opposed to the damage they endure,” Raiford said in a later interview with the New Pittsburgh Courier. “You can only be what you see, so if you don’t see African-American males in leadership positions and teaching positions then you won’t think you can achieve that.”
(NNPA)—The media’s obsession with the Casey Anthony murder trial has brought attention to an unspoken and significant question: If Casey’s daughter had been Black, Hispanic or Asian, would the case have garnered as much attention? Known as “tot mom” by HLN’s host Nancy Grace, Casey Anthony was acquitted July 5 of a first-degree murder charge, which left viewers across the country puzzled and angry that no one had been held responsible for the death of two-year-old Caylee Anthony. Some news outlets questioned the trial’s overwhelming coverage and said race and social status played a major role in a case that saturated social media. Casey Anthony waits in the courtroom before the start of her sentencing hearing in Orlando, Fla., July 7. (AP Photo/Joe Burbank, Pool) The International Business Times (IBT) was shocked that the Casey Anthony trial drew as much attention as it did because significant elements that attract spectators were not there.
Community Concert JULY 14—Urban Impact Pittsburgh will host a Community Concert at 7:30 p.m. at Mt. Lebanon United Presbyterian Church, 255 Washington Rd., Pittsburgh. The concert will feature the legendary bluegrass band The Del McCoury Band. The cost is $20 and proceeds will benefit the Urban Impact and the Brookline Christian Mentoring Program. For more information, visit http://www.urbanimpactpittsburgh.org.
For the Week of July 16-22 July 16 IDA B. WELLS BARNETT 1862—Crusading journalist and anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells Barnett is born in Holly Springs, Miss. Wells-Barnett was a true militant activist. Her editorials so angered Whites in the Memphis, Tenn., area that a mob burned down the building which housed her newspaper. She was also one of the original founders of the NAACP and in 1884 she committed a “Rosa Parks” type act when she refused an order to give up her seat on a train to a White man. It took the conductor and two other men to remove her from the seat and throw her off the train.
A number of years ago a group of colored men (we were not Black then) were discussing the Pittsburgh Courier in a negative manner by referring to the newspaper as the “Black Dispatch.” There were those who were in disagreement with that description and stated as much, but the merchants of negativity were the most vocal. Mal Goode came in and after listening for a few moments stated in a very clear manner that those of you who vilify the Pittsburgh Courier have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Mal then proceeded to explain for those misguided and uninformed people, the important and significant role the Pittsburgh Courier has performed throughout the community and the Black community in particular.
Since the 2002 passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law by then-President George W. Bush, we’ve heard numerous critics complain that the law stifles real learning and puts undue pressures on teachers and schools. NCLB, which originally received support from both Democrats and Republicans, set high standards for education and put goals into place that teachers and schools had to reach…if they didn’t they’d face stiff penalties. Those who support the law believe that it was necessary to ensure improved student performance. They point to rising standardized scores as proof that NCLB has its place.
(NNPA)—While a Department of Education program embraces “a race to the top”, our nation’s current stance toward our 14 million officially unemployed people represents nothing less than a race to the bottom. We are content to report, month after month, unemployment rates in excess of nine percent, to use questionable language to describe tepid performance, and to assuage ourselves with myths that the economy is in recovery because GDP growth is up. Imagine that one of our children came home from school with a report card that showed a drop from a C- to a D, and she reported her grades as “substantially unchanged”. She would, substantially, find her allowance cut, her study hours increased, and her privileges restricted. But when high unemployment continues month after month, an unsatisfactory outcome in and of itself, we hear nonsense and platitudes.