Daily Archive: January 25, 2012

Metro

First Black Aliquippa mayor reflects on future of city

On Jan. 3, Dwan Walker, Aliquippa’s first African-American mayor, took office after a hard fought two-year campaign. His journey began in 2009, when 14-year-old TiQuai Wallace, was struck and killed by a 17-year-old drunk driver, an incident that forever-changed Walker’s outlook on the community where he was born and raised. “There was a death of a young man in 2009. Our families were close. Everybody took it hard,” Walker said. “It was one of those things that changed the landscape of Aliquippa, it changed the way people looked at things.” ALIQUIPPA MAYOR—Dwan Walker accepts a 2011 50 Men of Excellence award from the New Pittsburgh Courier. (File Photo by J.L. Martello) Tragedy struck Aliquippa again that same year when Walker’s sister, Deidre Walker, was killed in a murder suicide. It was ultimately the death of Walker’s sister, his strongest supporter, that led him to run, alongside his twin brother Donald Walker, on the One Aliquippa ticket for city government.

Metro

‘21 & Able’ United Way seeks help for disabled youth

Turning 21 is supposed to be a joyous milestone in a young adult’s life, one that is looked at as full of possibilities. But to an individual with a disability and their families, it can be looked at as a time of anxiety and hopelessness. For many individuals turning 21 means they will no longer receive the supportive services needed to live a full life of quality and independence. Instead it is the age when many “graduate to the couch.” BOB NELKIN But the United Way of Allegheny County and other civic leaders and businesses are working to bridge the transition from supportive services and education to adulthood through their new 21 and Able initiative. Bob Nelkin, president of the United Way of Allegheny County, said in many cases at one’s 21st birthday individuals with disabilities and their families feel like they are falling off a cliff. Because of their age, they no longer have support services needed.

Metro

Incarceration major topic of Black and White Reunion

While Blacks make up only nine percent of the Pennsylvania population, they make up 57 percent of the Pennsylvania prison population. Across the United States, the number of people in prison has risen to 2.3 million, the highest incarceration rate of any industrialized nation. TIM STEVENS Despite the fact Black males make up less than 10 percent of the general population, they make up 35 percent of the total number of those incarcerated. According to Martha Conley, an attorney who has studied mass incarceration, these statistics are the result of the War on Drugs, a campaign aimed at reducing drug trafficking that began under President Richard Nixon in 1971, but actually goes back to the Teddy Roosevelt presidency in the early 1900s.

Metro

Northsiders protest school mergers

Two months after the Pittsburgh Public School District Board of Directors approved the district’s realignment plan for the 2012-2013 school year, students, parents and concerned citizens gathered outside the Board of Education building to protest the closing of seven schools and merging of students from schools around the district. NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND—Abu Malik, executive director of the organization Creating Positive Self Image, joins others in protesting the merging of several schools. (Photo by J.L. Martello) “The transition strategy must be developed and implemented well before the beginning of the 2012/2013 School year to allow parents, faculty and students the opportunity to become accustomed to the newly configured programs, as well as, build a cohesion between both populations. This initiative will also ensure, as much as possible, the welcoming and receptivity from the receiving population to the feeder population,” said Shanon Williams, an Oliver High School graduate who served as the group’s leader. “Due to the history of mergers throughout the districts of PPS, we are assembled to prevent any unnecessary reconfigurations of our schools past this point.”

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Opinion

William ‘Bill’ Robinson; dean of Black politicians

As I write this column it brings to mind that “an apple does not fall far from the tree.” Bill Robinson is the son of two of the finest people that I ever had the privilege of knowing. Devoted,God-fearing parents that mirrored untold numbers of other parents, wanting the best for their children. They instilled in Bill the importance of family and a sense of responsibility for self and others. He was an excellent student in high school and furthered his education by obtaining a BA in political science from Ohio State and upon graduating, returned to Pittsburgh and enrolled in Duquesne University and graduated with a Masters in Political Science.

Metro

Community Calendar

Haiti healthcare JAN. 26—Global Links will host a “Rebuilding the Healthcare System in Haiti” discussion at 6 p.m. at 4809 Penn Ave., Garfield. Program Officer Marisol Wandiga will facilitate the discussion on Haiti’s healthcare system and how Global Links is working to provide all Haitians with access to healthcare. Registration is requested at 412-361-3424 ext. 204 or email Jennifer Novelli at jnovelli@globallinks.org.

National

This Week In Black History

Week of January 28-February 3January 28 1938—Crystal Byrd Fauset becomes the first Black woman elected to a state legislature when she wins a seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

National

Abdul-Jabbar thrilled with ambassador appointment

NEW YORK (AP)—In a move to engage young people worldwide, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has named Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as a global cultural ambassador. The Hall of Famer and NBA career scoring leader will promote the importance of education, social and racial tolerance, cultural understanding and using sports as a means of empowerment. AMBASSADOR—Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton looks up at Global Cultural Ambassador and former NBA basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jan. 18, at the State Department in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

National

Food stamp families to critics: Walk in our shoes

by Jessie WashingtonAP National Writer Some have advanced degrees and remember middle-class lives. Some work selling lingerie or building websites. They are White, Black and Hispanic, young and old, homeowners and homeless. What they have in common: They’re all on food stamps. As the food stamp program has become an issue in the Republican presidential primary, with candidates seeking to tie President Barack Obama to the program’s record numbers, The Associated Press interviewed recipients across the country and found many who wished that critics would spend some time in their shoes. SINGLE MOM—Victoria Busby holds her three-week-old daughter Christy Kalbaugh, at the Department of Human Services, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Opinion

‘Red Tails’ shoots down stereotypes

(NNPA)—“We hope what youngsters get out of the story is that under some dire circumstances we prevailed. We performed successfully and we opened doors that they don’t have to fight to.” Col. Charles McGee, “Red Tails” technical consultant and surviving member of the Tuskegee Airmen Last week, I attended the New York premiere of a new George Lucas film about the heroic exploits of the all-Black fighter pilot squadron that helped America defeat the Nazi’s in World War II. I am not in the business of promoting new movies. But, there are several reasons that compel me to highlight the release of “Red Tails,” the story of the pioneering Tuskegee Airmen. First, the movie has a virtually all-Black cast with Black male heroes—a rare depiction by Hollywood. Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, and NE-YO all play key roles. Lucas has said that the Black theme and Black cast were major reasons Hollywood repeatedly declined to back the film. He struggled 23 years to get major studio financing. “I showed it to all of them,” he said, “and they said no, we don’t know how to market a movie like this.” He wound up pouring $58 million of his own money into the project.