I was extended an invitation to a meeting held in the 9th council district, particularly Homewood and East Liberty, and I very forcefully declined. The question was why, and I responded by reminding the individual that by now we should understand very clearly that change for change sake does not benefit Black people.
For example drive past those sections of East Liberty where they are building houses every day and see if your father, husband, son, nephew, cousin or neighbor is working. Sections of Hamilton Avenue look like a war zone and there are many other sections of Homewood with its untold number of abandoned buildings and vacant lots. Colored people representing the interest of White developers are attempting to sell us the idea that even if Blacks don’t share in the new Homewood, it’s change, and that is better than what we have presently.
Do these colored spokespersons (who are getting paid) believe that we are totally stupid? Ask yourself. The houses are boarded up and they look deplorable, so we support the developers with no guarantees that Black contractors and community persons are afforded an opportunity to work on restoring them or the building of new facilities? Yes the boarded buildings become completely remodeled and new persons, who may not look like us become the tenants. That will be change.
In years gone by the schools had discipline, parental involvement, college preparatory courses and our children graduated, but in 2012 discipline, parental involvement and college preparatory courses no longer exist. That is change. There were vocational schools that taught mechanics, auto bodywork, hair styling, carpentry, plumbing, brick laying, and other vocations, but the Pittsburgh School Board closed them, and that is change.
In today’s homes the absence of males is staggering and there exists an all time low of positive male images for our children. Too many modern parents or single parents run the homes and the children are in control. Children did not change too many of us as adults have changed.
There was a period of time when local Black politicians had access to power and were able to make positive actions occur in our neighborhoods, but they have died and their influence no longer exists. And that is also change. The redevelopment of the Hill District started in the 1950s and it was titled Renaissance One and it was completed 33 years later and it was definite change, but Blacks had limited actual participation in the change.
Change for change’s sake is no longer good enough. If the Larimer neighborhood of East Liberty and Homewood are to be rebuilt then it is mandatory that we stand together and mandate that we share in the change. A Black contractor who hires all White subcontractors and no Black subcontractors is not acceptable. True change must not occur without us.
Kingsley Association needs your help.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)