Pictured in Courier file photo is Chief Judge Gary Lancaster who died suddenly April 24, 2013 at his home in Stanton Heights. He was 63. As part of its continuing efforts to promote diversity, the Black Political Empowerment Project has initiated a campaign to have an African-American appointed to the US District Court for Western Pennsylvania. The court has been without a Black judge since Chief Judge Gary Lancaster suffered a fatal heart attack in April. When he was appointed to the court in 2009, Lancaster was the only African-American serving on any U.S. District Court. In a letter dated Oct. 14, Tim Stevens, B-PEP president, began soliciting support from a variety of sources requesting President Obama make a new appointment, among those contacted are U.S. Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey–who will ultimately make recommendations to the president, US Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa.; Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl; Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Peduto; and both Allegheny Democratic Party Chair Nancy Mills and Republican Party Chair Jim Roddey.