Daily Archive: May 9, 2012



Robinson challenges DA… Proposes County Police Review Board

Spurred by Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala’s lack of action in charging the three Pittsburgh officers accused of beating CAPA student Jordan Miles more than a year ago, District 10 County Councilman William Robinson has proposed legislating the creation of a countywide civilian review board. But before he does that, he will introduce legislation May 15 to form a committee that will investigate the operation of the district attorney’s office, and look into a number of anonymous charges made against the office. BILL ROBINSON “I don’t usually deal with anonymous accusations, but my colleagues on council and I all received this information back in October when we were looking at bias in the Public Defender’s Office, and I have shared some of it with Mr. Zappala,” he said. “These accusations, and there are multiple charges, are very detailed.”


NAACP salutes judges

For many African-Americans living in the south in the years after slavery, inequality meant sometimes not having access to something as basic as a birth certificate. Today, many of those same Black citizens, who have since migrated to Pennsylvania, will not be able to vote in the 2012 presidential election thanks to the recently passed voter identification law requiring voters to present photo ID at the polls. JUDGE GLENDA HATCHETT (Photo by J.L. Martello) “I’m here this evening because of this ridiculous bill that’s been passed in Pennsylvania. They call it the voter ID bill; we call it the voter suppression bill,” said John Jordan, civic engagement director of the Pennsylvania NAACP, at a Pittsburgh branch dinner on May 3. “We’re going to show them the astronomical impact this will have.”


Big three call for help … Philly mayor joins Ravenstahl, Fitzgerald on cuts

With the June 30 deadline for the new state budget approaching, and state revenues running ahead of expectations, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter joined Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in calling for proposed cuts to transit and human services funding to be rescinded. BIG THREE—Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, center, gives his support to Rich Fitzgerald, left, and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, right. (Photo by J.L. Martello) “The good news is that Allegheny County is the only region outside Texas seeing job growth,” said Fitzgerald. “The Shell plant in Monaca, the movie industry, high tech and medical—we’re doing well. But if the Port Authority cuts service by 35 percent, as they voted to do the other day. All of that is in jeopardy. Companies will leave if their employees can’t get to work.”


Police: Organized gun trafficking not the issue

(Gun violence Part 1) Every year, the NorthShore Community Alliance serves nearly 200 families who have been impacted by gun violence. This number paints a much greater picture of the devastation caused by gun violence and its ripple effect than the lesser number of the 53 African-Americans who were shot and killed last year. CAROL WASHINGTON “Gun violence is probably the number one issue for the families we serve. It’s hush-hush until it happens to your family,” said NCA Executive Director Carol Washington. “We deal with the shooter’s family and the victim’s family. It destroys the very fabric of a family.”


Community Calendar

Man-Up! MAY 10—The Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, Neighborhood Learning Alliance and the Hill House Association will host Man-Up! A 3 Part Series on: Manhood Development /Culturally Responsive Trainings from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. This is the last part of the series. Topics include African-American centered and Rites of Passage programming and more. For more information, call 412-573-9852.


First “Miss Black France” crowning ignites controversy

(NNPA)—Mbathio Beye was crowned the first “Miss Black France” April 28 under a heavy cloud of controversy in the still racially-charged city of Paris. The exclusive contest was created to celebrate Black beauty in a way traditional beauty contests failed to do, one organizer said. FRENCH BEAUTY—Mbathio Beye, a 21-year-old Parisian student originally from Senegal, was elected “Miss Black France.” (Courtesy Photo). The last time a woman of color took home the “Miss France” title was only three years ago in 2009 when Chloé Mortaud won—a biracial woman of African-American and French descent.


6 Jamaicans arrested in U.S. lottery scam

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP)—Police in Jamaica have arrested six people accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from U.S. citizens through a lottery scam. Saturday’s statement from police says that one of the men had more than $60,000 in an account believed to belong to the victims. Police also seized computers, information on the lottery scam and lists of U.S. victims, with their addresses and other personal information. MAIL FRAUD—In this April 12, photo, mail sent in an effort to scam an 88-year-old retired Coast Guard officer.


This Week in Black History

Week of May 9-15 May 9 1952—The boxer-turned-actor Canada Lee dies in New York City at the age of 45. Second only to the legendary Paul Robeson, Lee was the leading serious (non-comedic) Black actor of the 1940s. He gave impressive performances in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller “Lifeboat” (1944), the boxing classic “Body and Soul” (1947) and “Cry, The Beloved Country” (1951). However, like Robeson, Lee’s film career came to an end during the McCarthy Era when a host of Black and White stars, who were also social activists, were labeled communists and denied jobs.


The Al Sharpton-Alexis Herman combo at Bennett College

(NNPA)—One hundred and nine Bennett College students shook my hand and received their diplomas last Saturday. With big smiles and a little swagger, they went through the time-honored ceremonies of baccalaureate and commencement. And, we were blessed to have phenomenal friends join us. Reverend Al Sharpton was our baccalaureate speaker, and former Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman was our graduation speaker. Between the two of them they offered lessons for graduates all over the world.