Daily Archive: August 29, 2012


ACLU charges bias in police hiring

Two days after the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police introduced their most diverse recruit class in more than a decade, the Pittsburgh ACLU announced plans to file a class action lawsuit against the Bureau for discriminatory hiring practices. According to the lawsuit, since 2001 only 3.8 percent of the Bureau’s new hires have been African-American. “In a city with an African-American population of 26 percent, it’s unconscionable for a police force to be hiring African-Americans at a rate of three to four percent,” said Witold Walczak, ACLU of Pennsylvania legal director. ACLU LAWSUIT—From left: Eric Mcintosh, a representative from the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network; Witold Walczak, ACLU-PA legal director; James Foster, plaintiff; and Tim Stevens, Black Political Empowerment Project chairman. (Photo by J.L. Martello) According to a Right to Know Law request filed by the ACLU, of the 368 officers hired by the Bureau since 2001, only 14 were Black. The lawsuit alleges a longstanding pattern and practice of racial discrimination in the screening and hiring for entry-level police officer positions.


Larimer Plan factions split… Development may be delayed

It was supposed to be a done deal. The Larimer Consensus Group, the city and its relevant authorities had agreed on a first phase of housing partially along East Liberty Boulevard built by a Black contractor would jumpstart the multi-year housing and business redevelopment of the neighborhood. RICKY BURGESS Now, however, there is anything but consensus in Larimer as community members have said they do not like selected developer KBK’s designs, calling them horizontal projects. KBK, owned by Keith B. Keys, redeveloped the former Garfield Heights public housing community. The disagreement could delay development.


Alliance to stem tide of blight in Sheraden

During the past 10 years Mocha Gary has lived on Glen Mawr Street in the West End neighborhood of Sheraden, she’s seen the house next to her and the house across from her go into foreclosure and several other houses on her street torn down. According to the city’s listing of vacant lots for sale, there are more than 10 vacant lots on her street and a walk down Gary’s block reveals even more vacant homes. NO TRESPASSING—Mocha Gary points out a broken window on the vacant house next door. (Photos by Rebecca Nuttall) The house behind hers was condemned and vacant for four years before it was torn down. Now Gary says large rodents have taken up residence in the vacant lot’s overgrown grasses. She also believes people have been trespassing in the vacant house next door.


Black marrow donors needed for blood cancer

Marlene Shealey was always a healthy woman. She was in the navy for four years and in the marines for more than 11 years. At 46, she was running miles daily and even doing push ups. But her life changed in 2010. After exiting the Marine Corps and taking a physical to enter into the army for a program, she was told she had enlarged lymphnoids and needed further testing. While waiting for further results she got sick and it was confirmed in December 2010 that Shealey had the blood cancer Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. And in January of 2011 she began her first treatment of chemotherapy. LIFE SAVING PLEA—Hill District Consensus Group listens to Marlene Shealey’s plea about the need to find a bone marrow donor to save her life in July. Shealey is undergoing treatment for Lymphoma. (Photo by J.L. Martello)


Male presence, social media prominent at PBMF Workshop

The 29th run of the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation’s Frank Bolden Urban Journalism Workshop was full of firsts. There was a large representation of males, for one. “I was really pleased with the amount of male participation that we had in the workshop this year,” workshop co-director Olga George said. “I know Mr. (Chris) Moore was extremely happy with it. In past years, we’ve always had a lot more females than guys. Definitely not the case, here.” PBMF ANCHORS 2012—From left: Robert Martin and Tyrell Greenwood became the first male anchor team of the Frank Bolden Urban Journalism Workshop In its 29th year. Its 30-minute long newscast on the set of KDKA-TV displayed a duo of young men, which was a first.


Community Calendar

Public Meeting AUG. 29—The Community Empowerment Association will host a Public Meeting on Job Opportunities for the Homewood Station Senior Housing construction project from 6-8 p.m. at the CEA Arts, Cultural and Training Institute, 710 Kelly St., Homewood. This meeting is geared toward the Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Entrepreneurs. There will be a discussion of developing a clearinghouse system that can provide job-training, employment and contracting opportunities. For more information, call T. Rashad Byrdsong at 412-371-3689.


Albright to receive ‘Monk’ award for her ‘jazz diplomacy’

by Charles Gans NEW YORK (AP)—Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is ready, if invited, to sit down at the drums next month when she will be honored for her “jazz diplomacy” at a gala concert at the Kennedy Center. Last year, she met trumpeter Chris Botti at a White House dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao. A few weeks later, Botti invited her on stage at the end of his Valentine’s Day concert at the Kennedy Center to play the drums during his rendition of Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma,” and cellphone videos popped up on YouTube. BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER—Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, center, poses for a photo with Herbie Hancock, far left, and New World School of the Arts students at Miami Dade College in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/The Monk Institute, Phil Roche) “I had a fabulous time and it was so much fun,” said Albright, who had never had any drum lessons. “They gave me the drumsticks and the nickname ‘Sticks.’


AP Exclusive: Unheard King audio found in attic

by Lucas L. Johnson II NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—Stephon Tull was looking through dusty old boxes in his father’s attic in Chattanooga a few months ago when he stumbled onto something startling: an audio reel labeled, “Dr. King interview, Dec. 21, 1960.” AT THE PULPIT—In this 1960 photo, Martin Luther King Jr. speaks in Atlanta. A 1960 recording of an interview with King never before heard in public is up for sale. The tape was recorded by a Chattanooga man hoping to write a book and captures King talking about his trip to Africa, and his certainty that the child he and Coretta Scott King were expecting would be a boy. (AP File Photo) He wasn’t sure what he had until he borrowed a friend’s reel-to-reel player and listened to the recording of his father interviewing Martin Luther King Jr. for a book project that never came to fruition. In clear audio, King discusses the importance of the civil rights movement, his definition of nonviolence and how a recent trip of his to Africa informed his views. Tull said the recording had been in the attic for years, and he wasn’t sure who other than his father may have heard it.



Blacks and diversity not one and the same

Recently the police department graduated its new 41-member recruit class. The Mayor’s office proudly announced that this was the most diverse class in years, and I for one was really happy and waiting to see just how many. I had heard through the grapevine that seven to nine would be minorities, which would have made it close to the 26 to 30 percent Black population in the city. When I found out that there were only five minorities and only two of them were Black I was shocked, hurt, and mad. Then it dawned on me. Something that Alma Fox had warned us about, and something I had questioned. What is diversity? Is it the same as Affirmative Action?