Daily Archive: May 2, 2012

Metro

Gainey looks forward after big victory

In a Primary Election that saw low voter turnout generally, two putative underdogs managed to get their troops to the polls and score solid victories. The most impressive of these was Pittsburgh Democratic Party Chair Ed Gainey’s trouncing of his one-time boss state Rep. Joseph Preston Jr., D-East Liberty. ED GAINEY Overcoming Preston’s message of the need for seniority and experience with calls for change and promises of energetic and responsive representation, Gainey bested the 15-term veteran legislator by a nearly 2-1 margin, collecting 4,672 of the 7,089 votes cast to Preston’s 2,433. Gainey said he was surprised by his margin of victory, having expected a tight race.

Metro

YWCA rally against racism

According to findings from the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, White students are increasingly using the “n-word” in schools as a derogatory term against Black students. This example is one of a number of other racist activities currently trending throughout the state, including the resurgence of White supremacist groups. “Supremacist groups are on the increase. I investigate bias related incidents; those are on the increase,” said Robert Flipping Jr., supervisor of the PA Human Relations Commission’s Pittsburgh regional office. “The use of the n-word in schools, that’s on the increase. We’ve also found that our kids are receiving unequal disciplinary action.” STAND AGAINST RACISM—More than 250,000 participated in similar YWCA events around the country in 2011. (Photo by J.L. Martello) For many, these trends are unsurprising in light of recent race related incidents like the killing of Trayvon Martin. At the YWCA Stand Against Racism Rally at the Community College of Allegheny County campus on April 27, Flipping and other speakers shed light on these and other issues of racism still facing American society.

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Metro

18 of 25 homicides Black lives…April sees decline

This time last year, the month of April was one of the most deadly months of the year for the number of homicides, with six—five being Black men. But this year, the month of April was one of the least deadly months with only four—three of them being Black men. While the overall number of homicides thus far is 25, only one less than 2011, the number of Black homicides has decreased as well; showing a glimpse of hope that the anti-violence message is being heard and sinking in. As the temperatures rise, the shootings tend to also. There have been many structural developments that have taken or are expected to take place in the Black communities, such as the Thelma Lovette YMCA, playgrounds, retail space, etc., but all of these will be in vain if we continue to let violence overrun our streets.

Metro

Pgh diversity increase recognized

Over a five-year span from 2006 to 2011, the City of Pittsburgh saw an increase in the hiring of minority and female applicants as a result of their DiverseCity 365 program. Since the program was launched in 2007, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has created the Living Legend Honors Luncheon, to recognize the city’s work toward diversity. ALEX JOHNSON “When I became mayor, a top priority of mine was to increase diversity among city employees. In 2007, I launched the successful DiverseCity 365 program—a proactive approach to promoting the cultural core values that nurture diversity, eliminate barriers, increase awareness, provide opportunity and ensure inclusion as a deliberate part of daily operations,” Ravenstahl said in a welcoming address. “Since its launching, the program’s tangible and intangible results have disrupted traditional and historical trends of inequity and exclusion.”

Metro

Helping hand given to single moms

According to the 2001 Census, the homeownership rate for single mothers was 49 percent. For minority women overall, that rate was only 35.5 percent. The Bartko Foundation, a private non-profit organization, is working to change these statistics one woman at a time. With their mission of helping minority mothers obtain self-sufficiency, Bartko awards grants totaling nearly $150,000 every year. BARTKO FOUNDATION—From left: Honorees Theresa Council, Jackie Dixon and Robin Ballard. (Photo by Erin Perry) “Our desire was not to duplicate what was already being done,” said Melanie Gefert-Azur, president of Bartko’s board of directors. “Our foundation’s goal is to provide support for these women who fall through the cracks.”

Metro

Community Calendar

Seminar Series MAY 3—The Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, the Alzheimer’s Outreach Center and the University of Pittsburgh will host the Walter Allen Memorial Seminar Series at 2 p.m. at the Hill House Kaufmann Center, 1835 Centre Ave., Hill District. The topic will be “A Look into the Future of Dealing with Dementia: The Role of Technology.” Judith Tabott Matthews, PhD, MPH and RN, will facilitate this seminar and discuss her research on emerging technologies aimed at enhancing independent living and quality of life among adults and persons with disabilities. Registration is required by April 27. For more information, call Maurita Garrett at 412-692-2722.

National

This Week in Black History

Week of May 2-8 May 2 1844—Master inventor Elijah McCoy is born in Colchester, Ontario, Canada. He would become the holder of over 50 patents—most were mechanical devices, which greatly improved engines, locomotives and steamships. The superiority of his inventions led to the phrase “the real McCoy” coming to mean the mark of excellent and authenticity. McCoy was born to slaves who escaped America for a free life in Canada. ELIJAH McCOY His parents became successful and sent him to study engineering in Scotland when he was only 16. After the end of U.S. slavery, he settled in Ypsilanti, Mich., and began his remarkable career.

National

Romney, Secret Service, GOP: Obama mocks them all

by Michele Salcedo WASHINGTON (AP)—President Barack Obama scattered the barbs during the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner as he poked fun at White House races past and present, the Secret Service and Donald Trump. Even the entrance to his speech Saturday night was part of his schtick. The president walked off stage just before he took the podium with an alleged “hot mic,’ making fun of getting caught last month on an open microphone with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. HIGH FIVES—President Barack Obama high-fives late-night comic Jimmy Kimmel as Caren Bohan, a Reuters journalist and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, looks on during the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, April 28, in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

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Opinion

Hill Y: No small accomplishment

The Thelma Lovette YMCA on Centre Ave­nue in the Hill District is complete. And it’s not a half-way, makeshift project, it is one of the most beautiful and complete Ys in the city, or the country for that matter. It’s something to be proud of, and the key person to be commended is a Black executive. Eric Mann served as president and CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh YMCAs of which the Centre Avenue Y was one of his responsibilities. When the idea came up to renovate or expand the Centre Avenue Y he could have just went along with the program and renovated the old building which is land locked and really can’t be expanded. But instead he worked closely with the community which led to the idea of building a separate building and naming it after a prominent Pittsburgher… Thelma Lovette.

Opinion

ALEC should support repeal of ‘kill at will’

(NNPA)—“We call on your companies to stop supporting ALEC’s reckless agenda, which harms the communities in which you do business.”—March 26 letter to ALEC’s corporate sponsors from United Republic, Rebuild the Dream, Color of Change and the Center for Media and Democracy Last week, the civil rights community and Americans of conscience won a major victory against the corporately-funded conservative policy group that supported the “Stand Your Ground” law responsible for delaying the arrest of Trayvon Martin’s killer. This same group is behind dozens of voter ID laws that are jeopardizing the voting rights of millions of Americans.