The Coalition Against Violence and the Black Political Empowerment Project held a press conference at the Freedom Unlimited Headquarters, in the Hill District, to address the rash of recent shootings in the Black communities throughout Pittsburgh.

B-PEP and CAV, along with other community partners, came together to cry out about the violence African-Americans continue to perpetuate upon each other in the greater Pittsburgh area.

KILLINGS MUST STOP—Tim Stevens, center, makes a point at a “Stop the Violence” rally, as other community activists look on. (Photo by Rossano P. Stewart)

“We, as a people, are killing ourselves. We are killing our families. We are indeed killing our future,” said Tim Stevens, chairman and CEO of B-PEP.

He, and many others of the Black communities, were enraged over the recent Sunday night shootings of two people at Mellon Park, in the midst of hundreds of young people, and the Sunday night shootings of two 16-year-olds and one 18-year-old youth in Homestead, near the entrance of the Charlie Batch Playground.

They also discussed the shooting, last Sunday night, of two young adults in the Traveler’s Club on Hamilton Avenue resulting in the death of 20-year-old Donte Hawkins and the critical shooting of 22-year-old Asa Thompkins, the shootings this week in Beltzoover and the shooting in Spring Hill. All of it is unacceptable behavior which we as African-Americans must end, Stevens said. We, as adults, must look at the lessons we teach our children by the words we say and the acts we do. Our children and our young adults must take the responsibility of finding ways of solving and resolving conflicts in a non-confrontational and a non-physical manner. We must create a culture of mutual respect and a culture of peace.”

Several of the community leaders were present at press conference that included Valerie Dixon, Head of Coalition Against Violence and Reggie Roberts of Big Dog Care.

B-PEP and the Coalition Against Violence will soon unveil a second edition of the “Strategies for Change” document, which contains some 34 areas in which the community at large can make a commitment for implementation. As these documents are being prepared, the Coalition Aganist Violence, urges all interested citizens who are willing to help to call 412-758-7898 or to email them at or at The first edition of the CAV document can be currently accessed at Great and comprehensive strategies will mean little without implementation. The support and partnership of the entire community is crucial! they agreed.

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