Daily Archive: March 7, 2012

Opinion

Octavia Spencer wins an Oscar

(NNPA)—“I’m just going to live in this moment because it’s never happened before and Lord knows it may never happen again.” —Octavia Spencer, 2012 Academy Award, Best Actress in a Supporting Role Octavia Spencer brought the gilded audience at Hollywood’s Kodak Theater to its feet Sunday night as she tearfully accepted the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her portrayal of Minny Jackson, a proud, outspoken maid in the Oscar-nominated movie, “The Help.” Ms. Spencer, whose breakout role in “The Help,” comes after years of mostly small parts in dozens of films, was overwhelmed with gratitude for the honor and thanked Steven Spielberg, her home state of Alabama and her fellow cast members, including Viola Davis who was nominated for Best Actress.

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Opinion

Becoming American with a passport

It is often said that people truly cannot understand the United States of America until they have thoroughly traveled the nation. I’d like to challenge that reasoning somewhat—expanding it to argue that one really cannot understand our nation until they have obtained a passport and traveled outside its borders. I would add that this is particularly true for Black Americans who are often trapped in inner cities and regularly surrounded with seemingly inescapable crime, violence, discrimination and poverty. For these people, foreign travel can provide a unique experience.

Opinion

Disenfranchisement of Blacks from higher education

by Jack Daniel For several dec­ades, African-American alumni of the University of Pittsburgh partnered with the University to enhance the institution’s diversity mission. Just recently, 40 years of progress were celebrated. Now, in Pittsburgh and across America, not only diversity initiatives but higher education itself is under fiscal duress as evidenced by the Pennsylvania Governor’s proposal to radically reduce the University’s state appropriation. In his Feb. 29, 2012 statement before the Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee, Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg commented on the proposed cuts as follows:

Entertainment

‘The Gammage Project’ offers insight

Hindsight offers a clearer perspective and such is the case for the risky world premiere production “The Gammage Project,” a collaborative effort of the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company and University of Pittsburgh Repertory Theatre that opened Feb. 9 at the Henry Heymann Theatre, and finished up at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture March 4. SCENE FROM GAMMAGE PROJECT Written by Attilio “Buck” Favorini, Gammage traverses almost every imaginable social landmine—prejudice, classism, the legal justice system, institutional racism, police brutality and use of excessive force—and effectively detonates each one through the use of court transcripts, legal documents, local news reports and first-hand accounts to reconstruct the events that led to the death of Jonny Gammage and the subsequent mistrials and acquittals and the harrowing echo of events of the Jordan Miles case.

Entertainment

Out & About with Brotha Ash

This week I visited CJ’s in the Strip District, The Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum in Homewood, Savoy Restaurant in the Strip District and Art’s in the Strip District. My first stop was at CJ’s in the Strip District where everyone was on the dance floor thanks to DJ Nick Nice on the 1’s and 2’s. The fellas hangin out at CJ’s in the Strip District.

Entertainment

Arts & Culture Calendar

Thursday 8 ‘Woke Up Black’ The Women & Girls Foundation and the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh present Filmmaker and Activist Mary Morten and her documentary “Woke Up Black” at 4 p.m. at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty. This is part of the New Voices Pittsburgh Women of Color HERStory Month 2012 and International Women’s Day Celebration. “Woke Up Black” focuses on five Black youth, along with their struggles and triumphs into adulthood. There will be a Q&A session and 8 p.m. screening. For more information, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/228514.

Business

Black engineering conference to convene in Pittsburgh

The time is quickly approaching when more than 8,000 people are expected to convene in Pittsburgh for the annual National Society of Black Engineering conference. “ We are excited and looking forward to a great event,” proclaimed Carl Mack, executive director of the student run organization. READY TO CELEBRATE—Carl Mack, executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers is flanked by Pittsburgh members Travelius Harris, president of the Pittsburgh Alumni Chapter and Dyinkansola Dina, convention speakers and workshop chairperson. (Photos by Diane I. Daniels) With the mission to increase the number of culturally responsible African-American engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community, the group will celebrate the successes of their members as well as support and promote the aspirations of professionals, students and pre-college students.

Business

America’s families carry heavy housing burdens

(NNPA)—Despite continued reductions in home prices and mortgage interest rates, housing affordability remains a growing problem for many Americans. That was the key finding in a new study, Housing Landscape 2012, from the Center for Housing Policy. After analyzing Census data on housing costs and incomes the organization found that both homeowners and renters are struggling to pay for housing. Since 2008, affordability has eroded for working households in 24 states. Moreover, nearly one in four working households in the country spent more than half of their total income on housing.

Business

Business Calendar

Sustainable Healthcare Series MARCH 8—Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Champions for Sustainability will host its Sustainable Healthcare Series: Improving the Environment from 8-10:30 a.m. at the Regional Learning Alliance, 850 Cranberry Woods Dr., Cranberry Township. The topic is “Healthcare Sustainability: Product Purchasing and Service Procurement.” Guests will learn about the latest strategies for engaging supply chains in the healthcare industry from the perspective of sustainability. Gary Cohen, executive director of Health Care without Harm, will give the keynote address and there will be a panel discussion. There will also be a webinar format available. Registration is requested. For more information, visit http://www.c4spgh.org/ healthcare4.html.