Daily Archive: June 6, 2012


Howsie shakes up public defender’s office

At “A Community Conversation,” hosted by the Black Political Empowerment Project on June 4, members of the community met with Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and the newly appointed Public Defender Elliot Howsie. At St. James AME Church, the two officials shared how their administrations were making changes in the Allegheny County Office of the Public Defender and throughout the county. MAKING WAVES—Elliot Howsie breaks down changes he is making in the public defender’s office. (Photo by J.L. Martello) “We’ve all heard the stories,” Howsie said, referring to the dysfunctional public defender’s office. “In some incidents people have pled guilty to things they didn’t do. Their attorney was unprepared. We all know someone who’s been through this.”



29 of 37 homicides Black lives…Total triples from last month

The month of April added only four homicides to the growing list, but May has tripled that number with 12, forecasting the possibility of a deadly summer. The total for the year is 37. This time last year we were at 34. The most gut wrenching part of this month’s killings is that it included young men 35 and under, with all except for one being Black men. William Harrington, 33, a man described as being friendly in other news reports, was killed while visiting his sister at her home in Rankin’s Hawkins Village housing complex. Calvonne Rollins, just shy of his 21st birthday, was giving someone a ride, when one of his passengers pulled out a gun and shot him. And Elden Harper, 35, was standing on the corner when his killer came up behind him and shot him in the head. These stories and the others on the list all have one thing in common-they did not have to happen.


Tuskegee Airmen celebrate 70 years

In an effort to bring awareness to their contributions, the Daniel B. Historical Society and the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Institute celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen with a weekend chocked full of free and family-friendly activities geared toward educating and empowering those in attendance. THE RED TAILED P-51C MUSTANG (Photo by J.L. Martello) “This is something that isn’t in our history books. The majority of the airmen came from Pittsburgh and over 100 from western Pa,” said Terry Bradford, president of the Sewickley-based Daniel B. Historical Society, an organization that strives to promote and preserve the educational history of African-Americans in the Sewickley Valley, and trustee of the Tuskegee Memorial Committee.



Bryant Courier Legacy Honoree

On June 28, the New Pittsburgh Courier will hold its annual luncheon to recognize the newspaper’s 50 Women of Excellence. Held at the Westin Convention Center, Downtown, the luncheon will also pay special tribute to this year’s Legacy Honoree Jean Bryant, retired journalist and founder of the Miss Black Teenage Pageant. “I’m so humbled by this award,” Bryant said. “I’ve had a wonderful career. I just can’t tell you how much joy I’ve got out of it.” JEAN BRYANT Through her work as a journalist, Bryant has been a lifelong advocate for the Black community. After spending several years with the New Jersey Afro-American, Bryant moved to Pittsburgh in 1972 and began working for the now dissolved Pittsburgh Press.


Wilkinsburg native carries Olympic torch

Though he was always athletic, playing football and baseball while growing up in Wilkinsburg in the 1970s and 1980s, Frank Collins never thought he’d see, let alone, touch an Olympic Torch. Now, he is having a special stand made to keep one in his Elkridge, Md., home. The same one he carried through the English countryside, May 24, as an official torchbearer for the 2012 Summer Olympics, which takes place in London in August. CARRYING THE TORCH—Frank Collins carries the Olympic Torch through the English countryside, May 24. (Photo by Amy Collins) Collins said he managed to milk an extra minute out of his the 350-yard jog before lighting the next runner’s torch. He wanted it to last as long as possible.


Community Calendar

Anniversary Celebration JUNE 7—The University of Pittsburgh’s Center on Race and Social Problems will host its 10th Anniversary Celebration with NAACP President Benjamin Jealous at 5 p.m. at Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland. Jealous will address racial profiling and the Trayvon Martin case with a lecture titled, “Trayvon Martin: Racial Profiling and the Urgent Need to Heal America.” There will also be a reception to follow. Registration is required. For more information, email crsp@pitt.edu.


New French president names three Black cabinet ministers

(NNPA)—Three Blacks sit atop the new government unveiled this month by newly elected President Francois Hollande, making the French Republic the European leader in political diversity with a government loaded with people of color. EUROPEAN LEADER IN DIVERSITY—French President Francois Hollande addresses reporters during a joint press conference with Benin and African Union President Thomas Boni Yayi, left, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, May 29. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon) All three are from the Caribbean region and one is a veteran Parisian lawmaker. A prominent member of the new cabinet is Christiane Taubira from French Guiana. Taubira was named justice minister—making her the highest ranking woman in the new cabinet. A lawmaker since 1993, she authored a French law in 2001 making slavery a crime against humanity.


Platters founder Herb Reed dies at 83

BOSTON (AP)—Herb Reed, the last surviving original member of 1950s vocal group the Platters, who sang on hits like “Only You” and “The Great Pretender,” has died. He was 83.Reed died on Monday in a Boston area hospice after a period of declining health that included chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, manager Fred Balboni said. HERB REED