Reaction among African-American community leaders to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s appointment of Elliot Howsie to lead the public defenders office has been largely positive, with most confident that he can change the office for the better. Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh President and CEO Esther Bush said she’s “very supportive of the choice.” ELLIOT HOWSIE “I am extremely optimistic. He is a Pittsburgher who understands the community, the system, and the result of the politics that has plagued that office,” she said. “I didn’t know Elliot. But now that I’ve met him, what comes through are his values. I look forward to working with him and I am confident that the people of Allegheny County will be better served by his presence.”
Daily Archive: March 14, 2012
During the more than 10 years now retired NFL Coach Tony Dungy worked for the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of his fondest memory was time spent at Bethany Baptist Church. Now, the Homewood church is engaged in a stewardship campaign to raise money for a new sanctuary. In 2001, Bethany Baptist completed construction of Bethany Center, a multi-purpose building dedicated to the church’s community ministry. However, in 2008, when the church was demolished, due to structural deficiencies, the Bethany Baptist congregation was forced to move its worship services to the center. GIVING BACK—Tony Dungy speaks to the Bethel Baptist Church members and friends in his effort to help them in their time of need. (Photo by Debbie Norrell) “Those were 12 very special years for me, but I believe what was a big part of what made it special for me was Bethany,” Dungy said. “The problem is the ministry and the outreach can’t exist at the same time in the center. The recreation, for the kids, so they will have something to do, can’t exist.”
As people continue to suffer economic hardships, such as unemployment, high gas prices, etc., there is now an ever-growing need for assistance. Well now there is a single place where individuals seeking assistance can get all the information needed, without having to spend a lot of time. After six months of working on a limited basis, the United Way is now introducing the PA 2-1-1 Southwest hotline, a free human services hotline, which will now be fully operational and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. JULIE DeSEYN Like 9-1-1 is nationally recognized for its emergency services, individuals will be able to dial 2-1-1 to speak to trained professionals and gain information to human services available in their area, services such as utility and eviction prevention, food, shelter and transportation assistance.
This week, Pennsylvania will most likely become the 16th state to pass legislation requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. “I think the Republicans have been very clear that they want to regain the White House and this is one of their strategies to do that. I see this as nonsensical, not something that is a high priority in Pennsylvania,” said State House Rep. Jake Wheatley. “The fact that we have so many issues of critical importance, the fact that we’re spending two three days on this subject matter, is comical to me.” JAKE WHEATLEY
Amid the dreary, apocalyptic prediction of an eminent demise, there is a beacon of hope and it was very bright last Friday when the New Pittsburgh Courier held its annual Fab 40 soiree saluting the region’s young and emerging leadership. Family, friends, co-workers and colleagues filled the Fairmont Hotel ballroom to fete the 40 honorees, all under age 40, for what they have already accomplished and shared high hopes for what collectively lies ahead. “We are pleased to honor these aspiring leaders as the counterpoint to the negative,” said Rod Doss, editor and publisher of the New Pittsburgh Courier. “They have opted to be part of the solution instead of the problem.”
Panel Discussion/Reception MARCH 15—The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh and the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh will host a Panel Discussion and Reception for the International Women’s Day 2012 Celebration from 4-6 p.m. at Point Park University’s GRW Theater, University Center, Wood St., Downtown. The theme is “Trafficking of Women and Girls: A Global Challenge in Our Own Backyard.” Community members will learn the conditions that give way to trafficking, and solutions and strategies to address the issue. Deborah Acklin of WQED Multimedia will be the moderator. For more information, call Tiffany Tupper at 412-281-7048.
According to a recently released study by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, Black students face harsher discipline, have less access to rigorous high school curricula, and are more often taught by lower-paid and less experienced teachers. “The power of the data is not only in the numbers themselves, but in the impact it can have when married with the courage and the will to change,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “The undeniable truth is that the everyday educational experience for many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise. It is our collective duty to change that.”
While natural gas customers have been able to shop for the best price since utility deregulation in 1999, not everyone does, or can, take advantage of their options. Low-income customers subsidized either through enrollment in LIHEAP or their gas company’s Customer Assistance Programs automatically get billed at the lowest available price regardless of their distribution company. Everyone else can either pay their company’s default price, or shop for a supplier themselves. In this instance, residential customers can save on the administrative fees their supplier would normally charge, and on the price of the gas itself. Regardless, they will still pay their distributor’s fee for service delivery.
Week of March 14-20 March 14 1821—The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church is officially formed in New York City. However, the church had been actually operating since 1796. A decision to officially separate from the White-controlled Methodist Church was reached in 1820. The dispute centered in part on the refusal of the Whites to allow Black ministers to preach. Among the founders were James Varnick, Abraham Thompson and June Scott. Today the denomination has an estimated 1.2 million members and operates Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C. 1933—Legendary music composer and producer Quincy Jones is born on this day in Chicago, Ill. QUINCY JONES
(NNPA)—African-Americans in Harrisburg, Pa., are striking back against an atheist billboard that depicts a slave in a metal collar. Atheist groups unveiled the billboard March 5 in protest of a law passed by Pennsylvania lawmakers deeming 2012 “The Year of the Bible.” Lawmakers believed a return to faith would help the nation through its present troubles. The sign mocks that belief, quoting the Bible text, “Slaves obey your masters” next to a large image of the shackled slave.