Daily Archive: November 2, 2011


UYA closes despite plea

When Rev. Cornell Jones learned Urban Youth Action, the organization his father Bernard started 45 years ago to give African-American youths the skills and knowledge to succeed in the job market, was to close Oct.31, he tried to contact the board about keeping it alive. He received no reply—for six weeks. “I don’t want to dog them, but we’re up against the wall right now,” he told the New Pittsburgh Courier. “Under my father’s direction, UYA was the first successful African-American workforce development program in the city. It’s not like there’s no need for this kind of program right now.” URBAN YOUTH TAKE ACTION—Participants and graduates from Urban Youth Action protest the program shutting down on Oct. 31 after 45 years. The rally was organized by Rev. Cornell Jones, far right, whose father, Bernard Jones, founded the program. (Photo by J.L. Martello) Ruthie King, the organization’s executive director, told the Courier on Aug. 30 UYA had lost a major part of its funding from the Workforce Investment Act, which UYA used to leverage other monies. The loss of funding, combined with the ongoing recession, she said, forced the closure of the program.



50 of 63 homicides Black lives

With only three homicides for the month of October, making it the lowest number of homicides in any month thus far, 2011 is on track to be a less deadly year than the previous one. This time last year, there were 83 total homicides, 61 of them Blacks and 53 of them Black males. Is the message finally being heard and getting somewhere, or was this just a lucky month? Hopefully it’s the first. While there is joy in knowing that the numbers seem to be getting lower, we, as a community, cannot forget that there are still far too many shootings occurring where people are getting hurt. Most of the names on this list are young Black males under the age of 30 and even 25.


Local reps oppose PA school-choice legislation

On Oct. 28, the Pennsylvania State Senate passed school-choice legislation that would create a new voucher program to benefit students in under achieving schools. While many school-choice advocates see this legislation as the first step towards expanding educational options for low-income children, local government officials aren’t so sure. “All of the delegation of Allegheny County voted no. This vote to further take away public tax dollars to fund private and parochial education is something I’m opposed to. It’s just bad public policy,” said State Sen. Jim Ferlo. “We have a delicate situation in this city, the district has worked diligently to address a lot of the budget issues and a lot of those decisions have been difficult. This voucher bill would further disrupt this process to improve education.” JOE PRESTON Senate Bill 1 passed with a vote of 27-22 and has moved on to the State House of Representatives for review. If passed, low-income students attending one of the 143 lowest performing schools in the state would be given taxpayer-funded grants to attend private schools or schools in another district.


H. B. Brown dead at 78

Former broadcaster and program director for the original WAMO, Harold “HB” Brown, died Oct. 24, in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. He was 78. Brown was a graduate of Westinghouse High School, class of 1952, and studied at Point Park College and the University of Pittsburgh. HAL BROWN at one of his many promotions for WAMO. See story on Page A3. (Teenie Harris photo from Carnegie Museum)


Community Calendar

Celebration NOV. 3—The Martin Luther King, Jr. Reading & Cultural Center will host its 3rd Annual Tributary: Celebrating 41 Years of Literacy and Community Service from 6:30-8:45 p.m. at the Rivers Club, 301 Grant St., Downtown. The theme is “Excellence: Models of Commitment and Service.” Honorees will be Freda Ellis, Gregory Spencer, Sala Udin and Jake Wheatley. For more information, call 412-681-0461 or email info@mlkcultural.org.


This Week In Black History

Week of November 5-11November 5 1867—The first Reconstruction Constitutional Convention takes place in Montgomery, Ala. In attendance were 90 Whites and 18 Blacks. Reconstruction would bring forth a period of tremendous political and educational advancement for ex-slaves after the Civil War. But Reconstruction was significantly undermined by the Hayes-Tilden of 1877 and the beginning of the anti-Black Jim Crow period. CARTER G. WOODSON


Change in crack sentencing means early releases

by Jessica GreskoAssociated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP)—Darryl Flood thought he would have to wait until 2013 to get out of prison, more than a decade after he pleaded guilty to being part of a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. But if all goes as planned this week, the 48-year-old will walk out of a Kentucky prison two years early and take a bus back to his sister’s home in Virginia. Flood is one of thousands of federal inmates that will benefit from a change that goes into effect Tuesday, reducing recommended sentences for crack cocaine crimes so they are more in line with the penalties for powder cocaine.



Our last all-White political slate

I will vote Nov. 8 because I absolutely refuse to be a non-voter. I will vote for Judge David Wecht for the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, Rich Fitzgerald for Allegheny County chief executive, Chelsea Wagner for Allegheny County controller and the tax increase that will benefit the Carnegie library. This will be the absolute last election that I will participate in unless the candidates reflect the person that I see in the mirror.


Black America is imploding

It is quite evident that Black folks in the U.S. are at the bottom of every good category and at the top of every bad one. You know the stats; they are released every month or so and paint a dreary picture of our status when it comes to incarceration, education, health, employment, net worth, income, life expectancy, and overall political and economic empowerment. With all of this going for us, you would think we’d be spending a great deal of time on initiatives and strategies, both individual and collective, to improve our bleak situation.