Daily Archive: July 20, 2011


Police recruiting changes could increase diversity

At a recent meeting with local community groups July 14, Tamiko Stanley, the city’s equal employment opportunity officer, announced a series of changes to police officer recruiting aimed at increasing diversity on the Pittsburgh police force. “I think this is an exciting time to be a part of recruitment. I hope all of these changes will really bring about the changes we want to see,” Stanley said. “We really had the mayor stick his neck out to make changes to increase diversity.” CITY EMPLOYMENT—From left: Paula Kellerman, Tamiko Stanley, Sylvia Robinson and Nadia Schweizer are members of the department of personnel and civil service commission for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. (Photo by J.L. Martello) According to Stanley, large portions of diverse applicants are lost during the initial written test and interview phase of the application process. In an effort to change this, a member of the community will be added to the interview panel of police officers through a partnership with the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network.


Prattis Jennings earns Courier legacy honor

After first introducing its Legacy Award at last year’s 50 Men of Excellence awards ceremony, the New Pittsburgh Courier has also added this honor to their list of 50 Women of Excellence. This year’s inaugural honoree is Patricia Prattis Jennings, a retired principal key­boardist for the Pittsburgh Sym­­phony and daughter of the late Pittsburgh Courier Executive Editor P.L. Prattis. PATRICIA PRATTIS ­JENNINGS “I think it’s singularly appropriate that she should be recognized by the New Pittsburgh Courier given her father’s leadership role in the historical Pittsburgh Courier,” said Marva Harris, retired PNC senior vice president. “She is a highly accomplished woman and an extraordinary professional. She’s blazed new trails for women and for us as African-Americans.” Jennings was the first African-American woman to be awarded a full contract by a major American symphony orchestra in 1966. She served as the Pittsburgh Symphony orchestra’s principal keyboardist until her retirement in 2006.


Growing hunger in Pgh area

To some, the recommended three meals a day is just an everyday, run of the mill occurrence, but to many others, three meals a day is a luxury, especially in a struggling economy. According to the Feeding America website, a nonprofit organization working to end hunger, in 2009, 50.2 million individuals in the United States lived in food insecure households, 21.3 percent of those households had children and 24.9 percent of the 50.2 million were Black non-Hispanic households. Food insecurity is a lack of access to enough food to fully meet basic needs at all times. A HELPING HAND—Staff and volunteers of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank distribute food in McKeesport to those in need. (Photo by J.L. Martello) “The number of people participating in food stamps, or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs) as it is now called, in Allegheny County is 159,118, that’s 13 percent of the population,” said Ken Regal, co-director of Just Harvest, a local non-profit advocacy group. “That is up 7 percent in the year and has gone up every month for the last 43 months in a row.”


Pittsburgh rallies for jobs

Since returning to Pittsburgh from Baltimore, 54-year-old Kim Brown has taken up residence in Braddock, an area in the region that knows the story of joblessness all too well. Now, Brown too finds herself living out that story as she and her family struggle to find work. “I’m educated. I put in my work. I got off welfare. I came back to Pittsburgh for an easier life, a better life. I was an administrative assistant for ten years and now I’m out of a job,” said Brown who has worked as an electrician, truck driver, administrative assistant, and even served time in the military. “So you can’t say get an education; I have that. Instead of having corporations making millions, let’s share the wealth.” RICK ADAMS (Photos by J.L. Martello) Brown was just one of the many speakers at the local rally for the “Speakout for Good Jobs Now! Rebuild the American Dream Tour,” held at the Kingsley Association July 18. The congressional listening tour has given the public a chance to speak to their progressive representatives, although these representatives might not be the ones most in need of persuading.


Community Calendar

Support group JULY 20—The Cancer Caring Center will host the African American Women’s Breast Cancer Support Network from 6-7 p.m. at the East Liberty Branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, 130 S. Whitfield Ave., East Liberty. Every first and third Wednesday of the month, this free networking social support group will be led by Yvonne Durham, breast cancer survivor and local advocate. Registration is requested. For more information, call 412-622-1212.


This Week In Black History

For the Week of July 23-29 July 23 1900—The first Pan African conference takes place in London, England. Blacks from throughout the world gathered to plot strategies for bringing about rights for all people of African ancestry, independence from colonialism for African countries and international Black unity. This “conference” was the precursor of all the subsequent Pan African “Congresses.” Among the most prominent names present in 1900 were African-American activist and intellectual W.E.B. DuBois and West Indian lawyer H. Sylvester Williams. “Pan Africanism” became both a movement and a way of thinking. W.E.B. DuBOIS



Golden opportunities for Black developers, others

If you remember two weeks ago I wrote a column titled, “Only Blacks can resurrect their communities.” The URA last week had a news release that stated, eventually the entire 9th district (East Liberty Homewood) would be rebuilt. The first contract will consist of 20 houses, and I KNOW there are Black developers and contractors that will be bidding for the project. This can be the beginning for Black men and women who are business-oriented. Overwhelmingly over the last 40 years the alleged programs that in theory were designed to ensure Blacks share in contracts, goods and services, have not been overly successful. In the year 2011 Blacks are still fighting the same fight over and over. Governmental bodies and corporations will take exception to this column but you know it’s the gospel (truth).


Some of what’s at stake in 2012

(NNPA)—Most of the attention that has been focused on the upcoming 2012 election revolves around who the Republican nominee will be and whether he/she can defeat President Obama. That is not what I want to address in this commentary. It seems fairly apparent that there is a Republican plan afoot to, not only win the 2012 elections (at a minimum at the presidential level), but to do so at all costs, including through electoral theft. You do not have to be a meteorologist to feel the storm coming in. In Republican-controlled state legislatures there have been a rash of bills passed that make it more difficult for people to vote. There is a range of content but it all equals the same thing: ensure that any section of the electorate that is potentially pro-Democratic is restricted electorally.