Dear Editor:

I am disappointed that the apparent paranoid opinions of a pair of interlopers have touched off a divisive controversy that, quite frankly, takes the focus away from life and death issues that impact the day-to-day quality of life from one of the most disproportionately under-served, unemployed and at-risk Pittsburghers—the Black community. Self-help and community building have been the mantra of this new century, so when Blacks turn introspective and attempt self-empowerment, why do outsiders feel a need to insert themselves in a conversation when their input is not solicited?

To criticize the invitation list of a party you’re not invited to is beyond hubris, it is as insulting as whining about not being included to participate in Yom Kippur because I’m not Jewish or in Ramadan because I’m not Muslim. Further, I would hope that the community and Black leadership of Pittsburgh will stand united in solidarity behind Bev Smith, the American Urban Radio Network, Cong. James Clyburn, D-S.C., and the board of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture for not caving in to outside forces and standing by the Constitutional Rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly.

C. Denise Johnson

Hill District

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