Daily Archive: August 22, 2012


High diversity? Only 2 Blacks in new police recruit class

While African-Americans make up 26 percent of Pittsburgh’s population, they make up only 16 percent of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. According to data from the Bureau’s annual report, the number of African-Americans on the police force dropped from 17 percent to 16 percent between 2010 and 2011. And, if the demographic breakdown of the newest police recruit class is any indication, the number of Black police officers in Pittsburgh will continue to drop. The newest class, who entered the academy on Aug. 20, has only two African-Americans out of 41 total recruits. DYING BREED—African-American police officers like the three shown here are a dwindling demographic in the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. (Photo by J.L.Martello) With nearly 5 percent African-American participation, the newest recruit class is slightly more diverse than past classes where there has been only one Black recruit or none at all. There are more minorities in the latest class with nine women, one Asian, one Hispanic and one Indian (Native-American).


Pitt takes lead in increasing Black doctors

On Aug. 5, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine welcomed 148 first-year students into the medical profession at their annual White Coat Ceremony. The future Class of 2017 is 54 percent male, 46 percent female and less than 10 percent African-American. While Pitt’s Black representation isn’t reflective of the racial makeup in the general population, their African-American enrollment is higher than national averages. In 2005 African-Americans made up only 8 percent of all first-year medical students throughout the country, an increase of only 1 percent since 1975. ALL SMILES—Amari Howard of Queens, N.Y., receives her white coat during the University of Pittsburgh ceremony. (Photo by J.L. Martello) “If you look at the history, it’s been a predominantly White male profession. It’s only been recently that recognizing diversity is important,” said Michael Daley, 27, one of the incoming students. “Patients need to see faces they can relate to.”


Voter ID law upheld: New focus on outreach

While many who protested Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law since its enactment in March continued to vent outrage following Commonwealth Judge Robert Simpson’s ruling denying an injunction to stop what they say is a voter suppression law, others redoubled their efforts to make sure as many voters as possible can comply. “Outreach is more important than ever now,” said Celeste Taylor just hours after the Aug. 15 ruling. “I have to stay focused on getting people in the community whatever they need to be able to exercise their rights.” VOTE WATCH—As partners including B-PEP President Tim Stevens, Pittsburgh Councilman Bill Peduto and Alleghenians President Rev. Maureen Cross Bolden look on, Judge of Elections E. Richard Phipps explains the small details that can make an ID invalid and cost someone their vote. (Photo by Gail Manker.) State Democratic Party Chair Jim Burn agreed, saying in a released statement that the party is committed to protecting the right to vote:



No PAT cuts, new contract saves Transit

By a decisive 10-1 margin, members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85 approved a concession-laden new contract in an effort to stave off the elimination of more than 500 jobs and 35 percent of Port Authority of Allegheny County bus and trolley service. RICH FITZGERALD That vote, saving an estimated $60 million over the four-year contract, led to a cascade of events culminating in an Aug. 21 Press conference where PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch announced the state would provide Between $30-35 million per year over the life of the contract.


Mentoring the ‘100’ way

The Info-Link-100 2012 Summer Computer Camp, a mentoring program instituted by 100 Black Men of Western PA Inc., graduated a class of 17 bright students. The organization is dedicated to improving the quality of life and educational opportunities for at-risk African-American youth in the Greater Pittsburgh area. The specific focus is mentoring and in this capacity they have served the Greater Pittsburgh area for more than 20 years. The “100” is an integral part of 100 Black Men Of America Inc., which is a broader based international organization with more than 110 chapters in 30 States. PROUD GRADUATES—Graduates of Info Link-100 2012 Summer Computer Camp with Ron Lawrence and Michael Carlisle, not in order: Javier Sostre, Kevin Spells, Savon Webb, Keenan Brown, Paris Cole, Perri Porter, Jon’e Walker-Overton, Joshua Gray, Keyshawn Shaahid, Jhordan Stoutmire, Suhas Hoysala, Ryan Nowacki, Maia Scott, Robert Jackson, Jerome Williams, Shawon Marshman and Teylor Bristo. (Photo by Rossano P. Stewart)


Community Calendar

Voter ID Forum AUG. 23—Pittsburgh Jewish Social Justice Roundtable will host a Voter ID Forum for Senior Citizens at 1:15 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, Katz Auditorium, 5738 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill. The program will discuss the implications of Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law and educate seniors so they will be able to vote on Nov. 6. Speakers will include Rep. Dan Frankel and Barb Feige of the ACLU of Greater Pittsburgh. This is free and open to the public. For more information, call 412-605-0816 or visit http://www.pajc.net.


B-PEP calls for voter volunteers

Joined by partners from the NAACP, the Alleghenians, the Black and White Reunion, The Western PA Black Political Assembly and others, members of the Black Political Empowerment Project denounced the state’s new voter ID law and asked for help in making sure everyone who needs a valid ID has one. At an Aug. 20 press conference at St. James AME Church in Larimer, B-PEP Founder Tim Stevens announced a series of cooperative efforts to educate voters and make sure they are in compliance with the law’s “onerous requirements.”


Audit questions city MWDBE commitment

When the New Pittsburgh Courier broke the story about the inaccuracies contained in the Pittsburgh Equal Opportunity Review Commission’s 2011 Annual Report, city Controller Michael Lamb said he was disturbed by revelations of non-existent six-figure minority contracts, but as he had just begun a performance audit of the commission, he’d find out what happened. On Aug. 16, he released his findings, saying the city is not committed to the commission and its mission and has failed “miserably” in ensuring minority participation in contracting.


Kenyan justice slapped down after gun threat

by Tom Odula VINDICATED—Rebecca Kerubo, mother of three children, sits with her son at her house in Nairobi, Kenya on Aug. 9. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi) NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Rebecca Kerubo, a $6-a-day security guard at a Nairobi mall, is one of the city’s countless low-wage slum residents. So when she made a formal complaint that Kenya’s second most powerful judge threatened her with a gun at a security checkpoint, few thought the struggling mother of three stood a chance. Now it appears, though, that the justice will lose her seat on the bench.


This Week in Black History

For the Week of August 22-28 August 22 TOUSSAINT L’OUVERTURE 1791—The Haitian Revolution begins. It was the most successful Black slave revolt in world history. Led by Toussaint L’Ouverture, a trusted house slave who initially opposed the rebellion, the slaves defeated the mighty French army led by Napoleon. They also defeated a contingent of British troops. However, L’Ouverture was tricked into attending a “peace” conference where he was captured and would later die in prison. It fell to one of his lieutenants, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, to complete the struggle and declare the island nation an independent republic on Jan. 1, 1804.