With nine homicides in Allegheny County for March, six of them were Blacks. This is the deadliest month thus far in 2013. In January there were five Black homicides and in February there were four. What is even more upsetting is that all six of the Black homicides were Black men and most were under the age of 24. But these numbers only represent the numbers of homicides; it doesn’t even include the numbers of shootings that are occurring throughout the Black communities. Shootings such as the one that took place in broad daylight March 30 in Edgewood Town Centre where three people were injured, or the shootout in Clairton on March 26 that claimed the life of one, and several were injured.
We need to get this issue of Black on Black violence under control. The only word to describe it is sickening. Each month we at the New Pittsburgh Courier present a challenge to the community. Challenges such as for residents to ask for tougher gun legislation or for authorities to step up their presence in our communities. Well this month the challenge is to start at home. We need to look at what our children are being taught and whom they are being taught by. Not necessarily the teachers in our schools, but those “teachers” we surround them with in the community. For instance, the rappers we let them listen to day in and day out who rap about money, drugs and guns, or those people we keep around who we know aren’t doing right, but who we allow around because we need a babysitter or we don’t want to be alone. If we are not giving our children the right foundation, whom will they get it from? How can we ask for others to come in and help, if we, as a community, are not willing to do the work?
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 affect the mental health, economic well-being and self-images of the region’s Black neighborhoods.