February ended with a total of five homicides in Allegheny County, bringing this year’s total to 11. That is less than the total at this time last year. But while there were only five, four of them were in the Black community, and what’s more devastating is that all four were under the age of 33. Our young people are now part of a dying generation.
Each month we see the names and how they died, but we often fail to think about those who have been left behind. These are names of someone’s son, daughter, mother, father even sister or brother, all taken away too soon.
For instance, Maurice Bruce, a 32-year-old shot in Homewood, was killed after leaving a local bar and then a few weeks later his brother, Brian Wright Jr., 26, was found shot to death in East Liberty. While their mother not only has to deal with the grief of losing one of her children, she now has to mourn two.
Tiona Jackson, 28, was fatally shot in Beltzhoover after leaving a local establishment. Jackson was the mother of six children. That is six kids who will now have to grow up without their mother. They will never get to share their birthdays or graduation days with her. We, as a community have got to do something. This epidemic of senseless Black-on-Black violence needs to be address and we need to find the cure.
We are now entering campaign season. Over the next few months we will hear several politicians give us reasons as to why they should be chosen to lead us in their various seats of government, especially as mayor of Pittsburgh. They will discuss taxes, jobs, and even education, but we must make them address the violence. In order to find a cure, we, as a community, need to address this on all levels. How can they lead us if they cannot address the issues that are affecting us the most?
As part of an ongoing effort to heighten awareness about the effects of murder in Black communities, the New Pittsburgh Courier will compile a list of homicides in the County each month. It is our hope that as the list of victims grows, so will a true understanding of how these lost lives effect the mental health, economic well-being and self-images of the region’s Black neighborhoods.
Out of the 11 murders, thus far, in 2013—nine were Black and seven were Black men.